Want to know what it’s like playing with 63 other people in Battlefield multiplayer on PC? How about the newly announced co-op mode?

Both of these modes were described and/or shown in trailer form in a story earlier this week, so I’ll focus mostly on the hands-on experience instead of setting up the scenario you’ve already read about.

The co-op nighttime informant rescue mission sets the tone well with very little sound and silenced pistols equipped as the default. When I got to the first two guards that you’re supposed to take down simultaneously with your co-op partner, my fellow journalist dropped the ball, shooting his target too late.

Since the alarm was already going off, I swiped a shotgun off the dead foe and powered down the hall, blasting enemies squarely in the chest. I was reminded once again how well DICE handles sound design while listening to the intense booms emanating from the gun. After winding through hallways and up staircases, we grabbed the VIP and escorted him out to the convoy.

Next we walked alongside our vehicles as enemies shot at us from balconies and back alleys. A new gun with a night vision and heat sensing scope was crucial here. Targets appeared as yellow on a green backdrop so they were easy to pick out in the darkness. As we made our way down the street, more foes kept pouring out of unseen doorways and I got knocked down and pulled my pistol out. I shuffled out of the line of fire and my partner revived me. This back and forth of healing went on as we proceeded further, but eventually we were both killed at the same time and the demo was over.

Fortunately, a 64-player PC multiplayer session is also here at Gamescom in a huge booth on the show floor. I got in line before the show opened to the public and was able to play the first session of the day. I talked to people later who said, by the afternoon, the line was estimated to take 7 HOURS. To say this title is anticipated in Europe may be an understatement.

I played the Caspian Border map on Conquest mode as shown in the recent trailer. Vehicles were a hot commodity so I was forced to hoof it through rolling green plains to the nearest conflict point to help our U.S. forces claim it before the Russians got there. After a ton of running (this map is humongous), I was able to actually shoot some guys and help take the node. Next I went to an unguarded gas station and captured it single-handedly while hiding out in the garage. I headed to the antenna node but was sniped from afar.

Next I spawned inside a tank, but was unfortunately just a passenger and it wasn’t long until we all got blown up by a rival. My computer froze and while it was getting rebooted (it’s alpha software after all) I looked over at my neighbor’s screen and saw some helicopter gameplay. He rained down death and destruction from on high. Vehicles, people, and capture points all looked like ants scurrying across green fields. The sense of scale is truly amazing.

When I got back into the game, I scored one of the few coveted jets. I took off just fine, but had trouble flying it. It certainly didn’t help that all of the control instructions were in German. I was soaring straight into the sun when the match abruptly ended.

A single match is just not enough time to really dig into the features and map layout, but it was a ton of fun not only battling so many people, but also being in the same room with all of them. I’m sure 24 players on the consoles will still be great. It’s just going to be really tough to go back to that after experiencing the full 64-player throwdown on PC.