VG247 reader Colin Gallacher played the Battlefield 3 beta on PC, wrapped up his thoughts and recording HD video of the beautiful shooter in action. He's potentially a little better at it than Pat.
Firstly, I love the way this game feels. I haven’t been involved in a single game that hasn’t been fun, be it offense or defense, assault, engineer, support or sniper. And this from someone who has played over 500 hours of Call Of Duty in the past two years.
The graphics are incredible. When I’m not sprinting into danger I often find myself doing a little sightseeing. Frostbite 2 is breathtaking; the way light glistens through the leaves on the trees, the way the colours from the command point drop on the wall behind, the way the gunfire ricochets through the hollowed out Metro station are all spectacular. It really adds to an intense atmosphere that can change from level to level.
If the allure of Battlefield 3’s stunning graphics is enough to draw you in, then beware, as it really does come at a price. I have an Nvidia GTX 560 Ti, which runs the game silky smooth at High settings. I rarely drop below 55fps running at 1080p with all the DirectX11 bells and whistles on.
So how does it play? Battlefield 3’s multiplayer gameplay is quite the eccentric mix, and it really depends on the type of map or game type you're playing. Conquest is a whole different kettle of fish to Rush, for example. Operation Métro, now the only level available in the open beta, can only be played as a Rush level, which is an intense attack versus defense on a large map cut up in to different segments.
Both attacking and defending are quite different styles, as Pat touched upon in his videos. Attacking is an adrenaline-fueled charge, in which your team is rewarded for teamwork, perseverance and, at times, luck. Defense is a much more nervy battle in which you and your team must dig in and really work to hold the line. It should be said that DICE has done an excellent job on balancing each game-type.
The destructive capabilities of Frostbite 2 have been greatly improved over the first incarnation; most of the objects you come across have some sort of deformation. There are whole rooms inside the underground Métro station that can be blown apart with a well-placed RPG or some sticky C4 explosives. This means that the battlefield can change in seconds. Suddenly the cover you fought valiantly for is blown to smithereens, changing your entire game plan.
It really makes you think about alternative routes and new tactics. I’ve even encountered people who decided to create their own cover by planting some C4 on the ground and then hiding in the newly-created crater.
The controls are considerably sharper and more responsive than previous Battlefield games; it’s almost Call of Duty-esque compared to the downright clunky Bad Company 2. It all makes for a more free-flowing experience. Small obstacles are easily mounted as your soldier volts over it with the precision and elegance of a free runner.
The beta isn’t without it’s bugs, though, which is only to be expected in such a release. One such prominent glitch involves falling through the ground during the opening section of Op Métro. While annoying, it’s one of the more amusing problems, as you can be sure that it’s happened to others too. One time this happened to me there was quite a little intense battle happening under the map as people were still fighting above. Since I started writing these impressions, it appears that DICE has fully fixed this issue.
It also seems that Battlefield 3 has a problem with limbs and character models at times, as there has been a handful of moments where a fellow soldier running with me would appear to have broken ankles and have their arms twisted behind their necks shooting wildly into the sky; I’m quite sure DICE added that as a new feature just yet. Wildly flailing limbs DLC confirmed?
I was lucky enough to play Caspian Border on a 64-player Conquest server; unfortunately the map has since been removed from play in the beta. Conquest, for those who don’t know, is where a number points are positioned across the map and the team that wins had the longest share of controlling the points when the time runs out. Not all points are needed to win, just the majority.
As soon as you jump into the map you can tell that it’s something special. The scale of the starting base alone is impressively large. A selection of vehicles is littered around the military base, ranging from Humvee’s to FA-18 jets. Naturally the queue for said aircraft is filled with greedy gamers who will do their best to bring your joyous jetting experience to a halt with a nicely placed jeep on the runway. It’s not until you finally get yourself into the air that the sheer size of the battlefield hits you. It really is bloody massive, bigger than my local town I’d say. Gone are the linear choke points of Operation Métro: on Caspian Border there could be any number of miniature battles scattered across the map, and suddenly the lowly foot solider can feel surprisingly small, with all the jets, helicopters and tanks steamrolling towards the points.
I’ve put together a video showing off each section of Operation Métro from an attacker point of view: see above. Subtitles are available on request due to the nature of my Scottish accent. I recorded all the footage myself from the PC beta, and it's running at a nice 720p 30fps for the video.
With the release of Battlefield 3 fast approaching, it will be very interesting to see how DICE use the data tracked from the beta. Though one thing is for sure: Battlefield 3’s multiplayer is shaping up to be an excellent, long lasting experience.
Colin won a competition to visit DICE in Sweden through VG247.