Battlefield 3 And Plants Vs Zombies Free On Origin

Battlefield: Hardline is mere weeks away from being shown off for the first time, and Battlefield 4 just got microtransactions. What’s an already overwhelmed Battlefield neophyte to do? Why, dive into a different Battlefield altogether, of course. I mean, I guess that’s rationale behind EA’s decision to make BF3 100 percent free as part of Origin’s On The House program, and – while things haven’t exactly been sunshine and butterflies on the battle-est of fields lately – I won’t look a gift tank in the turret. I feel like that would be a very, very poor idea under any circumstance, virtual or not.

Battlefield 3 will be free until June 3rd, as will Plants vs Zombies. The latter, however, is a tad less exciting given that it’s appeared for various prices on every platform known to man (and plant and zombie) since the dawn of time. Still though, free game!

As has previously been the case with On The House, these games are legitimately free. You need only download Origin, and then they’re yours to keep. Well, at least until Origin rises back up into the EA Mothership leaving only scorched earth and scarred bank accounts in its wake. I’m not saying Origin is doomed in the near-future, but when servers shut down, EA doesn’t have the best track record of migrating games or reimbursing people for what they’ve lost.

For now, though, this is a pretty cool promotion, even if the games involved are a bit ancient. Do you plan on partaking? Also, are Battlefield 3’s servers particularly populated anymore? I mean, I suppose they’re probably decently well-off given BF4’s prickly state, but you can never be too safe.


  1. NecroKnight says:

    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!! I always wanted to play this game and now I can.
    Thank you EA!

    • The Random One says:

      I always wanted to play this game but never wanted to pay money for it. If it’s good, I get a good game for free! If it’s bad, I get the satisfaction of knowing my decision not to pay for it was correct, and a bad game for free! It’s win-win!

  2. Low Life says:

    For a second there I thought this was the newest Battlefield game and got excited, but then I realized it’s the game I bought at release and played for less than 10 hours. And then I realized that’s probably longer than I’d play BF4, anyway :(

  3. Askis says:

    Let me guess, the map packs/expansions aren’t part of the on the house deal?

    • Gwyddelig says:

      You genuinely wouldn’t miss ’em. Apart from the Aftermath DLC, all the good maps are in the core game anyhow

      • Kinch says:

        Last time I tried playing BF3 (Humble Bundle), I couldn’t because the servers used Premium maps or some other crap I don’t understand/have.

        • Premium User Badge

          FhnuZoag says:

          I feel like you did it wrong then. The server browser interface is pretty obtuse, that’s true. Maybe you set it to filter for DLC-only maps? I played the HIB version perfectly fine, though BF3 does suffer from the issue that people still playing it are all grizzled headshotting veterans now, while you are coming in at level 1.

          • Kinch says:

            Well, if you don’t care what server and who you’re playing with, then sure – you can filter out the maps. But if you want to play with friends, or just on a good/friendly/near server, then you’re pretty much pwned.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            If you want to play with friends – and your friends *insist on playing the DLC maps*, you mean.

          • Kinch says:

            Uhm no. You can’t pick the maps on the server yourself, it’s the server that changes maps. And most if not all servers, serve all maps, not just the non-DLC ones.
            So the only solution when playing in a group is to hop from one server to another in an organized manner.

  4. misterT0AST says:

    Wait, is it “free” like things are free on a trial week-end on Steam or “free” like plants vs zombies = FOREVER once unlocked within June 3rd?

    • MaXimillion says:

      Free forever. Of course, to get the Full Battlefield Experience™, you’ll need to get premium and all the DLC’s, and to catch up with other players you’ll probably want to buy the gear unlocks as well.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Nonsense. This isn’t EVE where I can never catch up to an old player.

        If I had the inclination I could catch up to the old players in BF3 as there’s a hard cap on the unlock. It’s not infinite.

        Granted, they’d likely still be better than me in the skill department but that’s also the case in any game with no unlocks.

        That said, I have no inclination to catch up as I don’t play it anymore.

    • Philomelle says:

      It’s free only if you really hate your wallet in the long term. Buying the Deluxe Edition will actually cost you less because its built-in season pass will give you heavy discounts on the most important DLC, which makes up around 60% of the game.

      Honestly, you’re better off buying the Deluxe Edition during a Christmas sale.

      • misterT0AST says:

        I have a long history of playing free-to-play titles for hundreds of hours without spending a dime. I think I’ll be able to resist the incredible temptation of tons of dlc for a game I’ve never played before and in which I just plan to spend a few evenings with my equally stingy and parasitic friends.

        My wallet doesn’t even know Origin exists at the time, and I plan to keep it that way.

        • Philomelle says:

          If you’re only interested in fooling around with the game for a couple evenings, then yes! It’s 100% free and will stay on your Origin account forever once you redeem it.

          Just figured it’s fair to provide a warning that if you’re interested in eventually getting a complete package, then simply buying a digital deluxe version would cost you much less in the long term.

      • Llewelyn_MT says:

        Actually, that’s not true. Deluxe Edition only includes the first DLC (Back To Karkand) out of a total of five. All in all that would be a third of the experience. To get all the DLCs you would need to buy the Premium Edition, which is totally worth it if discounted and you happen to like your free Battlefield 3.

        • Philomelle says:

          Huh, I didn’t realize Premium and Deluxe are different things. The Deluxe Edition is very badly grayed out (near invisible) in my browser on the store page and as “deluxe” term doesn’t really exist in Russian (which Origin forces itself into every time I enter the page), I assumed what it described as Premium in Russian is in fact Deluxe. My bad.

          Question is, can you actually purchase the Premium edition when you already have the base version on your account? I know Steam cockblocks you from buying deluxe versions of games you already own except in rare cases where the developer/publisher put out the deluxe edition’s content as a separate upgrade DLC; I was pretty sure Origin does things the same way.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      “free” like the first hit is always “free”. They know they can get you on DLC/lock boxes/lock keys…

  5. Philomelle says:

    I was wondering when they’ll start using this system to “give away” games where the majority of content is locked behind the DLC paywall.

    Next in line: promoting Dragon Age: Inquisition by distributing the base version of Dragon Age: Origins, where the (necessary to complete the game’s storyline) DLC actually costs more than the game itself.

    • Wulfram says:

      The DLC isn’t necessary to complete Origins’ storyline.

      • Philomelle says:

        The very base “save the world” storyline, maybe. You need the major plot reveals in Awakening to better understand the overarching plot behind the Blight and you’ll need information from Witch Hunt if you want to keep up with the story behind Inquisition’s most advertised NPC, so saying it’s not necessary in order to understand the series’ story is very silly.

        • jezcentral says:

          No, it’s not silly.

          The DLC is completely optional. Arguing that the 60 minute fluff pice that was Witch Hunt is vital to understand the game is cobblers. You could sum that up in a sentence, especially if it didn’t actually happen in your play-through. Awakenings did not include anything mandatory either.

          Bioware isn’t entirely innocent, Mass Effect 2 had Shepherd kill thousands of Batarians in one DLC, but bar some momentary confusion as to why Sjephard was being court-martialed at the start of ME3, I think people got past that.

          • Philomelle says:

            Have you somehow missed that “But will it finally address the many open plot threads from DA2 and Origins’ DLC?” is one of the most common questions asked about Inquisition? The thing with Origins is that the game itself ties up most of its plot neatly, yet the DLC opens up a bunch of plot threads and Bioware have been touting that they’ll be resolving them in Inquisition for some time now.

            Yes, you can argue that they’re completely optional from the standpoint that not owning them doesn’t cause the game to stop running. But they’re still necessary if you want to understand the game’s complete story, especially parts that are allegedly important in Inquisition.

            Also, you seem to have missed the point of my comment. The point is that EA will most likely put up the very base version of Dragon Age: Origins for free as a promotion because unlocking all extra content through its DLC tab will cost you 50+ dollars, whereas people who simply buy the Ultimate Edition can get the exact same content for 20 bucks (5, given how frequently it goes on sale).

        • Wulfram says:

          Being important to the series’ storyline isn’t the same as being necessary to complete Origins’ storyline.

          Also, Awakening is an expansion, not DLC. Which is slightly more than pedantry, because it means it’s available at more sensible prices.

          • Philomelle says:

            Awakening can be purchased through Origins’ DLC tab, so I would argue that it does count as DLC for the purpose of my argument.

            And given that plenty of new fans would grab Origins in order to understand Inquisition’s story better, it still means that the base game will leave them mostly confused.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            This is really silly. You are speculating about EA’s nefarious motives for a move you are speculating they might do at some point, so as to promote a game that isn’t even out yet? There is criticism, but this is just ludicrous.

          • Philomelle says:

            I made a snarky comment about something most people would agree is within EA’s modus operandi. It’s much more ridiculous, not to mention sad, how hard you’re trying to argue with me about the exact content of my snark.

    • Moraven says:

      To bad the Origins complete has been on sale numerous times for less than $10…

      Now, Mass Effect DLC…only available via Bioware points, never on discount, no complete collection. I got the Trilogy for $10, but only includes a few DLC packs. 2nd copy of 1 and 2.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        This, a thousand times this.
        Even at full price you can spend more on the DLC than the game, and some of it is almost essential from a story point of view (eg without Shadow Broker for ME2 Liara’s plot in ME3 seems to be missing a chunk of backstory).
        That said I gave them all my moneys and I’m not too bitter about it.

  6. grable says:

    hahahaha, no. they claim its “free” but i know better.

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      Ladies & gentlemen, the human race.

      • Philomelle says:

        He isn’t wrong, though. Anyone genuinely interested in Battlefield 3 would need all the DLC because of how much content is locked inside it. Redeeming this version and then purchasing DLC separately would legitimately cost you more than simply buying Battlefield 3 Digital Deluxe.

        • FurryLippedSquid says:

          I’ve had BF3 since launch and have not purchased any of the DLC. It doesn’t detract from the decent multiplayer experience that comes with the standard version.

          • Gwyddelig says:

            Yup. Apart from some of the weapons (that have close analogs in core anyhow), BF3’s DLC is entirely disposable.

            Get the game for free and just play the vanilla game without concerning yourself with DLC

        • Premium User Badge

          FhnuZoag says:

          Don’t be silly, no one ‘genuinely interested’ in BF3 will be looking to pick it up free so many years after release. People might be curious about it, that is all. The intent, as with when this was released in the humble indie bundle, is for the game to be a sort of demo for the later games in the series, and for that, checking out the free game is fine. There aren’t enough players in BF3 to justify buying DLC for it now.

          • Armante says:

            And of course it’s a way for EA to get you to install Origin. Once you’re in (or they’re on your PC) you may start shopping around the site and spend some money.

            Free isn’t bad, but they hope you will spend money anyway.

          • DanMan says:

            You also get the SP campaign, obviously. Even though a lot of people didn’t like it much. So if you’re desperate for some shooter, you could do much worse.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            Yeah, there is a business case for them, obviously. Still, from a consumer viewpoint, this is a decent way to check out how the Battlefield games play while paying £0, so it’s probably a good thing, all things considered.

            PvZ is also a pretty good game.

          • Philomelle says:

            You as a Battlefield player might know that buying DLC isn’t justifiable by now, but plenty of newcomers interested in the series won’t know that. They will grab the game for free and once they decide that they’re enjoying it, they will seek to pad out the experience with extra content without realizing that the same content would have cost them much less if they purchased the Digital Deluxe edition instead.

            Giving out the free game in hopes that the player will spend a lot of money on DLC once they’re invested is a very common business practice. It’s the same reason why both THQ and Deep Silver put out Saints’ Row 3 on Humble Bundle many months after the GOTY edition came out, hoping that people who enjoy it would eventually spend a lot of money on the game’s mountain of DLC.

            In that sense, the original poster is right in that EA’s goal here still is to bait you into giving them as much money as possible via a freebie.

          • Premium User Badge

            FhnuZoag says:

            I figured out the BF3 DLC isn’t worth it at this point *by playing the HIB semi-free version*. Casual players playing the free version of BF3 will quickly realise that while the game isn’t quite dead yet, shelling out for DLC is a metaphorical cul-de-sac.

            Buying the digital deluxe version of BF3 without having played it at all, at this point in the game’s lifecycle, is a very, very, VERY stupid move for a newcomer.

          • Philomelle says:

            You are not every single EA customer ever. Your values don’t reflect those of every single EA customer ever. Just because you decided that DLC isn’t worth it, doesn’t mean every single customer ever will decide the same. Plenty of people who redeemed the free game will eventually grab the DLC without knowing that purchasing the game with a season pass would have been cheaper for them.

            If the “give them something free to make money off DLC” business tactic didn’t exist, the mobile market wouldn’t have flourished as much as it did and KING wouldn’t have made thousands of dollars off Candy Crush Saga every day. Plenty of people are willing to cash in hefty wads of dollars for the sake of something that will only give them ten minutes of satisfaction, even if you aren’t.

            I’m sorry, but claiming your personal decision making as proof that a really old and obvious business strategy isn’t being put to use here is pretty silly.

          • All is Well says:

            While I don’t actually disagree with you about what EA are doing, why do you seem so convinced it is such a bad thing? Giving out a free game, even with the presumption or hope that it will lead to an increase in sales of related products, doesn’t exactly strike me as particularly manipulative or coercive, or at all a hostile business tactic.

            Say you download the base game for free, and after playing decide you want/need more to fully enjoy the game. How is this worse than requiring you to pay for both the base game and the DLC? How are you worse off for having tried the game for free?

          • Shadow says:

            It is bait, however. A free game isn’t bad, there is no denying that, but it left a bad taste in my mouth after playing my HIB base BF3 for a few days. The established playerbase is by now light years ahead of any newbie, meaning the game implicitly nags at you to purchase the unlocks, to give you more versatility, spare you the grinding and at least give you the impression you’re much closer to evening the odds with a veteran. Add to that the taunting that it is to see and assume all the content you’re missing out on for not having the expansions, and it’s further psychological pressure.

            I entertained the notion of getting the Premium upgrade, but eventually decided I wouldn’t be playing much longer anyway, and there was no point in paying to feel my game was complete. The psychological traps are all there, and anyone baited with this could very well end up spending cash. Considering all the monetization, a free base BF3 is pretty much on the same level of freemium as PlanetSide 2. Yeah, you technically can achieve anything without spending a dime, but at the very least you pay in time that’s not necessarily all sunshine and rainbows, given you have to endure a massive grind and advanced, skilled players repeatedly trampling you underfoot.

            It’s not the first time EA does this. Besides having it as a ‘compensation’ option for SimCity’s terrible launch, their Humble Bundle had base BF3, and other traps such as Dead Space 1 and 3 (but not 2), and Sims 3 with a couple of expansions. There were a few standalone games in the bundle like Mirror’s Edge and Crysis 2 Maximum Edition, and while I wouldn’t complain about those (even if they normally sell for cheap), I’d rather they gave away a tighter, less trappy selection than have their ulterior motive so blatantly apparent it makes me question their ‘altruism’.

          • Philomelle says:

            @All is Well:
            To make it clear, I am not particularly outraged by it. I simply find it disappointing when someone argues that this is anything other than an attempt to make money while pretending to give away something for free. All EA does this is subtle psychological manipulation: allow the person to become invested in the game via gameplay before revealing the paid content.

            From the consumer’s standpoint, the issue is that DLC from EA is generally priced much higher when bought separately than when it’s bought in a goatee bundle. So if their marketing plan works, it means the player will have to pay more than if they’d simply bought the game at premium price from the beginning.

          • ncnavguy says:

            I actually like BF3’s SP campaign and the game is still much better looking than COD Ghosts. It also runs insanley well

        • CraftyBanana says:

          Philomelle, I have an image in my head of you walking through a crowded supermarket on a Saturday afternoon. As you near the meat & fish counter, you spot a woman in a white coat, offering a tray of deli meat samples on cocktail sticks to passers-by.

          You push through the crowd, beginning to reach for a sample, before snatching your hand back in horror, aghast at what you nearly did.

          “Away with you temptresses!” You bellow, the righteous indignation in your voice bringing silence to milling shoppers “These morsels will not satisfy my appetite!” You strike the tray from her hand, sending chorizo bites pinwheeling across the floor “People, listen to me!” you say to the crowd “This is a trick! This free food is deception and lies clothed in tangy, salty pork! They give you this free now, but they do so in the hope you will buy more in the future! Do not fall for this base trickery!”

          There is silence for a moment, then a scream of rage from somewhere within the throng. A trolley is tipped on its side, a stand of half price apples is kicked over. Thus the revolution begins.

          • Philomelle says:

            Okay, so I laughed.

            Your analogy doesn’t work at all, though, because deli meat is complete on its own. Battlefield 3 minus the DLC sits somewhere between incomplete and a total pain in the arse to play (Kinch upthread explains exactly why), EA knows that and it also knows that its DLC costs more when bought separately from the game than when it’s bundled with it via the Premium edition. So what they’re doing is giving you an incomplete version in hopes that it will frustrate the player into buying all the DLC for a high price.

            Which is something dickish for a player to realize via playing the game and is worth warning about, especially since it does kill the “free” part of the offer.

          • somnolentsurfer says:

            What are you talking about? I just got back in (after 24 hours of nonsense) and added Battlefield 3 to my account. I can still purchase the premium edition just fine if I decide I want that later.

  7. Armante says:

    Funny; no-one’s mentioning the single-player part at all, which is the only bit I’d be interested in.

    I understand Battlefield “has always been about the multiplayer” but even so anyone looking for a free game to blast a few hours away could do worse.

    Like Battlefield 4..

    • Stellar Duck says:

      The only way you could do worse than playing the single player portion of BF3 would be… hell, I don’t even know! Playing Limbo of the Lost or something. That thing is a dire waste of time and thoroughly terrible.

      I enjoyed Call of Duty 4 marginally more which is saying something.

    • Shooop says:

      That should tell you all you need to know about the single-player portion of BF3.

      It’s rancid.

    • rpsKman says:

      I saw TB play it and it seemed to slow and tedious. 20 gigs for that, no thanks.

    • Synesthesia says:

      To be fair, i really enjoyed the paris bit. Very very fun shooting gallery. The rest is so-so. There are a few office levels where you blast throught the thin walls with semi auto shotguns, it can get fun at moments. Don’t expect mucho though. Still, it’s free! The coop missions aren’t terrible too, as long as you are playing them with a friend.

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      If you were to liken it to a fart, with BF3 single player are we talking:
      a) A sort of cheese and onion crisp general guff
      b) A lactose intolerant eggie nostril invader
      c) A wall-of-smell oh dear god some kind of of severe explosive tropical colon infection?

    • Jad says:

      Its not actually-awful-game bad, like, I dunno, Leisure Suit Larry Box Office Bust or Ashes Cricket 2013, but its not very good.

      Only play it if you’ve already played all of the Call of Duty singleplayer campaigns, as they are all cut from the same cloth, and the COD ones are substantially better. Also play the 2010 Medal of Honor and Bad Company 2’s SP before BF3 as well.

  8. Tom Walker says:

    Yay, I was looking for an excuse to get hold of PvZ again. The web version is very much not the same.

    Also, loading up Origin reminds me that I got Dead Space for free not too long ago. Should really have a go at playing it.

  9. somnolentsurfer says:

    Well, they almost had me. I was nearly ready to put Origin on my PC, something not even Mass Effect 3 had persuaded me to do. But I don’t seem to be able to log in, and the password reset e-mails just aren’t showing up. I guess that means I’ve lost all the premium content for Mass Effect and Dragon Age 1 & 2 as well. Great.

    • Moraven says:

      Always check your spam folder. Never have had a problem with their password reset. Try it later. Else contact their support. You get a reply a lot faster than what little support Steam has.

      • somnolentsurfer says:

        Yes, I’ve checked my spam folder many times. Thanks. And the contact us page just leads back to the login screen. Though hitting the reset link now does generate a message saying they’re having technical problems, so maybe that’s something.

        • rpsKman says:

          Password reset took several hours for me.

          • somnolentsurfer says:

            Just after posting that last message I managed to find my way around all the pointless hurdles and join the queue to chat with someone. It told me it’d be 40-50 minutes till someone was available. Two hours later it says the same thing, and the reset e-mail still hasn’t arrived.

            EDIT: And four hours later still, it never moved, the reset e-mail’s just arrived, and the link in it had ‘expired’ so I need to request a new one. It just gets better.

  10. Shooop says:

    Does anyone play the vanilla release of BF3? There’s more than enough DLC to fragment the community.

  11. Shodex says:

    Leave it to my lovely, cynical darlings of the RPS comments to make a free game out to be a scam.

    • DanMan says:

      Isn’t it nice to have something in the world you can always rely on?

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      Its the next best thing to a scam: Marketing.
      Sort of evil-lite. Just one calorie.
      Evil petting zoo etc

  12. Moraven says:

    I think we own 4-5 copies of PvZ 1.

    We have 1 copy of PvZ 2 and have not played a cent, 2 full playthroughs. I mean, I think you can only pay up to $15 anyway to have access to all the plants. But it just not seems right to pay like that for content. A plant is not worth $2 to me. A full game of content is worth $10-15.

    Why PvZ 2 is not on other platforms is beyond me. Sadly EA seems to be happy with its digital revenue from it.

  13. rcguitarist says:

    Hopefully the flood of new players will bring about new servers that play on more maps than just the 3 maps that are currently always on there. Seriously, for the past 6 months, the only servers for battlefield 3 play only 3 maps.

    • Shodex says:

      I have this curse where every time I got play, it’s either on Davamund Peak or the very end of the round and about to switch to Davamund Peak.

      You have no idea how much I’ve grown to hate Davamund Peak.

      • Synesthesia says:

        At least it isn’t metro, with 64 idiots hurling rpgs at each other in a really tight space. It can get quite retarded.

    • DanMan says:

      I wouldn’t expect much of a flood after the Humble Bundle where you could get it for almost-free.

      Also make sure you do NOT activate any of the “preset” filters (N, HC, IO), as that may hide a lot of servers. Better use the “advanced filters”.

      If you’re not much into vehicle combat, try the Rush and SquadDM modes. I like those best myself. TeamDM is a bit too generic for my taste.

      Oh, and there are still lots of players active, so no problem there.

  14. welverin says:

    I just wish they would throw Mass Effect 3 in there already, I’ve got friends I’d like to coerce into MP.

  15. Zombat says:

    I keep trying to download but the download keeps crapping out every few percent… and Origin doesn’t seem to auto resume errored downloads – what a piece of shit.

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    “I’m not saying Origin is doomed in the near-future”

    But we can hope, right?

    EDIT: Not that there isn’t anything on Origin that I want that I can’t get elsewhere and probably already have, but EA keep threatening to make a good game an Origin exclusive, and I know they’re insane enough to try.