Having completed Battlefield 3 last Monday, and having had to stop reading the Andy McNab book because I had reached a place of story cross over, I have now finished that off as well.
And it brings me back to comment on the adding to and variance of canon in such tie-ins.
For the most part the story is a useful supplement to the recent EA success story that is Battlefield 3. It helps to weave a narrative as to how the games main protagonist gets onto US soil in custody of Homeland Security, provides back story to the character of Dima, and helps to characterise some side lining characters in both story lines.
However in some key areas of the games narrative the book deviates and writes its own set of occurrences or settings. One reason I didn't stop reading sooner was that the Villa described in the book that is the level "Kaffarov" is hugely different to that in the game both in appearance (style of the house) and the events that play out in this setting.
Whilst McNab has clearly written from a more plausible and realistic point of view (as is his trademark) and the games set pieces are more in the vain of action movies and Hollywood, the glaring disparity causes a blip in continuity within the same overall story. Without giving too much away the ending is also wildly different from the events of the level "Comrades" which sets about locating and disarming a nuclear weapon in Paris.
I enjoyed both versions equally, and would like to see the Dima story as DLC perhaps as there is such a blank slate within the game in relation to this character. There were times where I would have preferred McNabs version and times I preferred the EA version.
Battlefield 3: The Russian provides a useful filler to Battlefield 3's campaign story. I would definitely play the game first before tackling the book as it is easy to run over the lines that separate where story lines merge.
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47 minutes ago