(Please note, these impressions are specifically for the PC version of the Battlefield 3 Beta)
Now that the beta is finally open to everyone, Battlefield 3 is among the most discussed video games. We’ve seen new features such as the Battlelog, and experienced the refined gameplay. However, some newer features are better than others in the grand scheme of things, so let’s take a look.
The game is satisfyingly fun
Perhaps the most important aspect of Battlefield 3 is the amount of fun it has to offer. If you’re lucky enough to join one of the smarter teams, you’ll enjoy some of the most dynamic combat a videogame can provide. Each class fulfills a specific role and when properly played, they all compliment each other vastly. Support gunners can lay down ammo for team-mates while suppressing the enemy (causing their vision to completely blur), Assault’s can quickly take out targets with their rifles as well as reviving their own men, whilst Engineers and Recon’s can take care of vehicles and pop heads respectively. Minor changes like the ability to go prone, or suppress enemies really change up the game, especially when compared to the Bad Company series. It adds a new depth to the combat, and makes formation and positioning especially important. So long as you and your team are doing their respective jobs and attacking (or defending) the MCOM stations, Battlefield 3 is an absolute blast.
Battlefield 3 is simply beautiful (at least on the PC)
If you have a capable rig, Battlefield 3 is one of the most beautiful and visceral games on the market to date. The destruction (while not as outrageous as Bad Company 2’s) is realistic, scary and mind-blowing to see in motion. The environments look convincing and react to the battle in lifelike ways – Tree’s will shake from the impact of nearby explosions, concrete will chip from random flak and dark hallways will be blown out by the shine of a flash-light. It’s poetry in motion provided you’re up to spec, and even running on a mid-class GPU like the GTX460, playing on “High” settings at 50-60 FPS isn’t as far-fetched as you’d think.
The Battlelog is the be-all, end-all for Battlefield statistic tracking
Bad Company 2’s stat menu was boring, bland and not very helpful or informative. The Battlelog however, serves as your Battlefield Facebook (quite literally). Your news feed will encompass all of your recent endeavors, as well as your friends, and you can “Hooah” each status, which serves the same purpose as a Facebook “like”.
Not only does it display recent events, but you can also click on the “stats” tab to bring up a fully featured recollection of everything you’ve done. From score-per-minute, to your most used weapon, this really has it all. Gone are the days of 3rd party tracking sites, Battlelog is absolutely the pinnacle of this stuff – it’s comparable to that of bungie.net’s services for Halo games. The community is also a central part of the battlelog, forums are at your fingertips as well as the ability to create and join platoons. The platoon section will also display your best members for each class, and various little statistics that really make Battlefield feel like an always connected experience. However, the battlelog also leads us to our next point..
The Battlelog is absolutely atrocious if you like playing with friends
Yes, it’s a beta. However, if you’re going to launch a game out of an internet browser, you should probably make sure it works. For the most part, applying server filters and finding a game whether it be Caspian Border or Operation Metro, then joining a game by yourself works just fine. This is Battlefield however, and with the rampant amount of little shits running around with Sniper rifles not helping at all, you want some knowledgeable friends by your side to even the score. Having played about 12 hours now with various friends around the world, it’s nothing short of an absolute pain in the ass to join a game with them. The party system always leaves someone out of the server, or other times, people won’t get the invite at all. If you do manage to get into a game, joining the same squad as your buddies is as likely as winning the lotto. You literally have to sit at a menu clicking “leave squad/join squad” until the fateful day when you actually join the desired squad. Compared to that of Bad Company 2’s squad system, it’s a huge step back.
Not enough incentives presented for people to play properly
I can count the times I’ve been revived in game on one hand. I’m not kidding.
Whether it be brain-dead players, or the game is not presenting enough information, most of the classes in Battlefield 3 aren’t played to their full extent.
Assault’s won’t heal themselves (or anyone else for that matter), Recon’s won’t place mobile respawn points and even some support players will shoot until their empty, and opt for their handgun instead of you know – dropping an ammo box and continuing to suppress enemy troops.
I’m not going to sit here and call everyone shit (even though I’d like to), but instead I put the Onus on Dice. Present players with tool tips depending on the situation. If an Assault player is standing near a dead body, tell the player “REVIVE YOUR HOMIE”, or if a Support is near players with low ammo, they could be told “RESTOCK YOUR G”. Simple tool-tips like this would be a great reminder, and teacher of how to play the damn game correctly. (In the mean time, educate yourself here)
These are the five most outstanding features about Battlefield 3 so far, for better or worse. No doubt DICE will address some of the listed issues here, as it’s only a Beta, but as it stands Battlefield 3 is an intense combat game (perhaps one of the best), only held back by uneducated players, several technical bugs and a less than ideal social experience on PC.
Bad Company fans will feel right at home in Rush mode, whilst the people who preferred the original Battlefield series will revel in the conquest game type. It’s a new beast, taking the best features from both series and combining them into something truly worthy of you time.
For more on the BF3 beta, be sure to check out this video from DICE and stay tuned to RipTen for our continued coverage of Battlefield 3.