2011-09-30

Battlefield 3 – Impressions From The Multiplayer Beta

by Yo Snyder

Now keep in mind I’ve only had a chance to play one game in the beta for Battlefield 3‘s
multiplayer so far, but despite that short time with it, I do have a
few initial impressions that I thought I’d share (because I know you’re
curious).

First, I love that War Tapes is a sound option in BF3. If you didn’t use it in Bad Company 2,
you were really missing out. This option basically takes the sound and
punches it up from a 9 of 10 to a 17. Everything has a crisp punctuation
to it, with added sharpness and a bit umph for the explosions. War
Tapes is the best way to hear one of the best sounding games; that was
true for Bad Company 2, and if the beta is anything to go by, it’s going to be true for BF3.

The
map for the beta is Operation Metro. No vehicles, unfortunately, but it
does have an interesting flow. It goes from some wide open spaces
outside in a park in Paris to a wrecked underground in subway tunnels
and then back outside onto the streets. The underground portions in
particular are interesting with their feeling of fast-paced, intense,
close-quarters combat. Getting to know this map will take some time, but
the maze like subway tunnels provide some interesting opportunities for
surprising and flanking your enemies.

Things are looking pretty
good so far, but I’ll reserve judgment on the technical aspects of the
graphics for the final product. I did notice that it’s pretty hard to
spot guys running around sometimes when you’re outside. There were a few
times where I just didn’t see the guy who gunned me down because he
pretty much blended-in (unintentionally) with the surroundings. I used
the spot feature a lot not just to get points but to get an idea of
where the bad guys were.

Tossing grenades seems weird in BF3. I
don’t know what it is, but the throw just doesn’t seem natural. There’s
something about it that seems awkward and even a little weak. Even the
explosions from the grenades felt less impactful than they did in Bad Company 2. With the new Frostbite 2 engine, I was hoping to really unleash some havoc with my grenades; not really happening…yet.

Being
able to go prone is a nice addition. Whereas I never really utilized it
in CoD as it seemed fairly pointless in the fast-paced, run-and-gun
mentality of that game, here it came in handy; not only for sneaking up
on guys, but also for ambushing them. I think it’s going to add some
interesting new strategies to my combat in Battlefield.

I like
some of the new ways you can earn experience, such as having guys spawn
on your location. In fact, there wasn’t much that you did in BF3 that
doesn’t get you some sort of experience points, and I like that. The
leveling system is also interesting, as you won’t just level your rank,
but also your weapons and gear as well depending on how much you use
them. I’m looking forward to exploring that in more detail as well.

Just
in case you’re curious, all that stuff you earn in the beta will not
carry over to the full game, so don’t expect to get a jump on the
competition just because you play the beta. 

My initial foray into Battlefield 3
was fun, but I admit I miss vehicles. Plus, despite all the hype about
Frostbite 2, I didn’t seem much impressive destruction (yet). The
lighting, however, is very impressive. Right now this feels like a
really good first-person shooter, similar to Bad Company, but it didn’t
quite have the Battlefield vibe to it; that’s where the vehicles make
the difference.