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Battlefield 3 – E3 Preview

June 13, 2011 Written by Ray Conley

By now, I’m sure that we’ve all seen EA’s explosive trailer on one of the most anticipated shooters getting stamped out by devs at DICE. However, if you’re still skeptical whether this third iteration of the Battlefield franchise is a rehash of the Bad Company series, I’m more than confident to help put those fears aside. The geniuses at DICE haven’t reinvented the wheel on this title. Instead, they’ve said hell with the wheel and on slapped missiles to this FPS.

Let’s get right down to it, shall we? In our hands-on preview of Battlefield 3, we were very fortunate to lock-and-load in a closed multiplayer session networked together on some high-end PCs. To start off, we had to choose from four different classes: Medic, Engineer, Assault, and Recon. For this go around of Battlefield, DICE listened to the fan base and implemented improvements to give each class more appeal so that players would be encouraged to try out other professions and execute different strategies. For example, Engineers can now equip a tac-light to the rail of their assault rifle that will mildly blind their targets if the weapon is trained on them. The Assault class will also have the option to deploy their light machine guns on the pavement while in prone, or on fixed standing objects to increase their range of accuracy. And for those of you who hate camping snipers, the Recon’s sniper rifle will receive added recoil after each shot and will also have light “glint” off the weapon when sniping from a distance to even the playing field. And for good measure, most weapons will have three slots available to add customizations for personalized gameplay.

After choosing our preferred class, we were dropped into “Operation Metro,” a location in the streets of Paris for a familiar mode of Rush, where the attackers attempt to push the defenders back from multiple objectives to win. Right from the start, the Frostbite 2 engine had no problem flexing its new rendering engine. Animations were the most lifelike ever seen in any FPS, and the light processing was simply stunning. For this particular level, it felt like the level of the land had been designed to keep the heat of battle closer together for faster pace of action. Weapon handling was solid, and each pull of the trigger resulted in some of the most satisfying gun popping and visual effects.

One of the most notable and much-needed additions to shooters is the use of effective suppression fire. Just like in the released gameplay footage, bullets whizzing overhead will cause a noticeable vignette blurring effect with your vision, mildly impairing your ability to see and focus. As a result, firing suppression fire on anyone will likely encourage your targets (or yourself if you are the target) to hide behind cover. This feature can be used strategically for moving your teammates safely. Many times, I found myself hesitant to come out of cover when the suppression kicked in. It’s very unsettling to be on the receiving end.

Just like in the Bad Company titles, you can steal the dog tags off your opponent if you can manage to hone your ninja skills. A new and cool feature for BF3 is the option to customize your very own personal dog tag with art icons and even have game statistics stamped on it. It’s a pretty nifty feature for those of you looking to stand out. But let’s be honest, would you really want someone to see your dog tag? Stay frosty.

There will also be a familiar element used in the first Frostbite engine – destructible environments, or as DICE would like to call it, facade destruction. However, in the Frostbite 2 engine, the destruction boasts more carnage and debris effects than its predecessor, and it looks absolutely fantastic. Bringing down the side of a building will also injure or even kill your opponent, so use that to your strategic advantage.

Battlefield 3 is already shaping up to be the newest standard for all first-person shooters and is probably the closest thing to realistic warfare. With the multiplayer alone, it packs so much heat and adrenaline induced action that any gamer would kill to get their hands on a copy to experience it.

If you want to get sneak peek of “Operation Metro,” check out the clip below recently released by EA. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s one hell of a ride.