From sun flares to smoke bursting from a collapsing building, Battlefield 3's Frostbite 2 engine provides marvelous visuals. It performs admirably on lowered settings, but for anyone who's doubled up on their NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580s, Battlefield 3 provides a gorgeous spectrum of environments speckled with detail to brag about. Nighttime elements present a stark intensity, with glowing fluorescent signs dotting the cityscape and street lights blinding you from seeing enemies. The waves crashing on a beach below a late-game villa are mesmerizing -- as is the simple scrub brush dotting maps like Operation Firestorm. At maximum settings, Battlefield 3 looks stunning.
The engine isn't perfect by any means. I encountered prone legs jutting through walls, saw snipers half-buried in mountainsides, watched my dead body stick through the hood of a jeep, and even noticed a story character float in a straight line from point A to point B, walls be damned. I've seen flower pots float in midair, noticed AI soldiers in their shooting position long after death, and I somehow committed suicide by running over the lip of a crater. These glitches are annoying, but they don't break the game. But they do break the immersion of the story and in the case of an undeserved multiplayer suicide, cause unneeded frustration.