The single-player campaign in BF3 has all the entertainment value of a box of dryer lint, the game really needs a flight tutorial, there's no VOIP, and if you're new to the BF series you're going to spend a lot of time wondering who the heck just shot you. Once you've learned the ropes, you'll be having too much fun to care about the rest. BF3's graphics engine is the love letter PC gamers have been waiting for, after years in the frozen purgatory of DX9-era console limitations, while its multiplayer mode is faceted, nuanced, deep and a whole lot of fun.
Lighting and texture detail are used to enhance even relatively mundane urban areas. Grand Bazaar doesn't have the wow factor of some of the other maps, but it's well rendered and far more attractive than dense urban alleys have any right to be.
If you were hoping BF3 would offer a compelling single-player experience, we'd recommend giving this game a pass. Everyone else, dig in.
The author would like to express his deepest condolences to all the co-pilots and teammates who assumed his willingness to take the stick on a jet or helicopter meant he actually knew how to fly one. Special mention goes out to the squad member who valiantly volunteered for gun duty in our shared UH-1Y Venom three times before asking if I had only one eye or was suffering from epileptic fits. Your sacrifice will be remembered.