The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
From the second I heard of Battlefield 3's existence from the GI cover story (which, now that I think about it, wasn't very long ago,) I very much wanted to experience the game myself. Keep in mind, I'm no Battlefield veteran in any way... I've only played the campaign and a little Bad Company 1 online (before my Xbox360 broke, wahh) and about ten or so hours of Battlefield 1943. In fact, my enthusiasm about the game was that it was a type of online shooter which I hadn't experienced before, only really playing Halo and Call of Duty Modern Warfare. It was a game with huge, open battlefields and co-operative online multiplayer that was practically a breeding ground for awesome online moments.
From a purely conceptual idea, Battlefield 3 blew my mind apart, and then blasted the pieces of my mind with a grotesquely, yet-pleasantly overpowed shotgun.
So for the last couple of months I've slowly stared at all the gorgeous screenshots of BF3 (all of them obtained from a PC monitor built by an ethereal entity) and waited patiently for a chance to experience the game in all of it's glory. That chance came just recently with the Battlefield 3 open beta.
I downloaded the beta off PSN, and over the last few days have played around 10-15 matches and gotten a good feel for what to expect from BF3.
So, like basically anything else in a beta- I'm perfectly aware that the graphics in the finished product will be better in the final product than in the beta as little bugs are ironed out. I remember playing the BFBC2 beta where the graphics were disgusting, and then seeing how pretty the final game was and being stunned that it was the same basic game. I'm not worried at all. However, just taking the general graphics I saw in the betas- the game is looking pretty good. I mean, you have to discount things like character models and some textures (like the ugly leaves which exist yet kind of don't) and just assume that there's a little upping that will be done soon. The lighting is really well done, and there are a lot of well-placed light flashes and whatnot to often times fool you into opening fire on what is really nothing but some jagged assets that may be rocks. Also, I'm just going to come out and officially state I hate the flashlights in this game already. Laser sights are at least a warning that you are about to get your face rocked by a bullet, so I begrudgingly accept them. But flashlights- nuh-uh, don't like them one bit.
From what I saw in the beta, the game will look pretty good. Nowhere near the level of, say, the game on the god-PC, but such is to be expected from our old, dinosaur-like consoles.
The gameplay in the beta is very polished. The guns feel good and easily controllable, the stealth knife kills deliver a visceral thrill which I want to continually replicate, and I enjoyed every kill I got (which isn't a whole lot, I'm not very good yet. ;). The controls are a little different than I'm used to in a console FPS, but that's to be expected because there's a standard FPS weapon or two omitted from your arsenal in this game, which is fine for me. Overall, any real problems I detected in gameplay are hopefully going to be ironed out as they were tied to glitches which I'm going to go over in the next section. Overall, it played nicely and didn't feel broken.... I wouldn't expect it to, anyway. DICE are masters of their craft.
The reason that beta's exist with online games is to test for bugs. Small-scale testing at developer offices or even industry events is not comparable to the amount of absolute BS that occurs when you release a game to millions of game-breaking people. So, I write this column just in case some random EA community person reads it. There were a few bugs I noticed *** near consistently throughout my ten to-twelve 30 or so minute matches. One of the most prominent glitches I noticed was literally falling through the environment underneath your feet.
Every once and a while, as your running along (and doing an awesome kick-jump over rocks that get in your way) you start to slowly sink further into the ground. At first, it's hardly noticeable... You account for it just being a little technical slip-up, nothing else. So, you do what any gamer would do when confronted with a little glitch like this- you carry on. But it begins to happen more and more frequently, and within 30 or so seconds you begin to lose a few inches off your height. In horror, you realize whats happening- a remnant of a glitch found prominently in PS2 games which decided to come to visit in your BF3 beta.
You are sinking into the ground, underneath the map into a strange blue emptiness with random assets from the map above your head, and your falling... falling.... Rationally, you just go to the menu and go suicide, or be silly and frag myself because I didn't notice the suicide command. You don't like to turn THAT fail-safe key, but you really have no choice. Maybe the glitch goes away, or maybe it continually plagues you throughout the match until you are forced to rage-quit with tears swelling in your eyes.
This map is a good- nay, great map. I love it. There are no vehicles present, sadly, but it is made up for with having levels upon levels of complexity. The battlefield is so constantly evolving in different rooms and areas that you never know where the next choke point or butt-kicking is liable to occur. Everywhere you go you proceed with caution. Never in an online game have I been so constantly crouching to the side of a door to make sure I'm alone... Some people on Twitter were complaining about the map being boring. To them I say, nah-nah-nah, in a voice more irritating than my own natural voice (oh, SNAP!) Everything in the subway and past it is absolutely golden.
Like I said before, I'm not well-versed in the Battlefield series. I'm not a virgin to the games in any way, but I have only really played one of the games for any extended period of time... And even that was only ten or twelve hours. However, from what I've seen- this series separates itself from the pack by providing the tools for watercooler online moments, utilizing huge maps, clear objectives, and vehicles (which I sadly saw none of, sad-face). Battlefield 3's open beta has shown us that they are delivering on this premise. The thrill I got from rushing up the escalator steps into a heated combat scenario with three of my anonymous brothers in arms tailing me is unlike anything else. Clearing a multi-storied building with a knife, and then happily sniping enemies off from the top floor is equally thrilling. If the rest of the game is even better than what I saw in just the beta, I know which FPS I'm going to sink my time into these next few months.
Ladies and gentlemen, game on.