Early impressions Battlefield 3 multiplayer

first_imgBattlefield 3 is out today, and it’s a pretty big deal. The squad-based first person shooter is the prime competition for the juggernaut that is Call of Duty and, while always an excellent PC game, is a shining example of just want can be done with today’s consoles. And while the new FrostBite 2 engine is stunning, that’s not just on the technical front — in the past Battlefield has managed to coax actual teamwork out of consoles gamers and BF3 will do that once again.Battlefield 3 is a direct sequel to 2005’s Battlefield 2, but when playing it the game feels most like the successor to Battlefield: Bad Company 2. That’s because Bad Company 2 was released in 2010 and it, and its Vietnam expansion pack, are where we last experienced the sort of action that only BF can bring. And that, in case you are curious, is a non-stop, large scale fray that combines both teamwork and tactics into a fun playing experience, complete with powerful (but hard to use) vehicles, impressively destructible environments, and counter-measures for every successful strategy your opponents might employ.The biggest change with Battlefield 3 is the new engine. The role of this can’t be overemphasized — it’s the framework that the entire game is built around. The main ways players will feel this update are better animations/graphics, much higher sound quality, and destructible environments. It’ll affect all levels of gameplay, but these three are in your face the entire time you play. There is also the comeback of prone shooting/movement, improved loadout customization, jets are back, and you can now deny resuscitation. Those aren’t huge, but they add up to some nice fan service and a big change for dedicated players.Other changes include the standard stuff — like better menus and new maps — but there is also the Battlelog social network. You’ll need an EA Origin account to use it, but once you are on you’ll have access to stats, messaging, VoIP, and more (so long as you are on Windows). It’s free and works across the game’s three platforms. Ultimately this probably won’t be a big deal for most gamers, but the hope is that it will tie people into the game and keep them playing over time.I got the chance to play BF3 for a couple of hours last night (on the Xbox 360), before today’s official release. It wasn’t much time and it was only multiplayer (though multiplayer is all that matters with Battlefield), so I haven’t come to any major conclusions yet, but I did have some takeaways. First off, this is Battlefield. It might sound obvious, but it’s very much the same game that players have come to know and love. The classes, menus, controls, and other critical details are all what players will be expecting. Some of the menus were tweaked and other changes were made, but everything will be recognizable to BFBC2 players.The graphics (and the new engine for that matter) look great. The environments look fantastic, the destructibility is superb (definitely a step up from BFBC2) and I saw no issues with slowdowns or pop-in. The online play, in my short time playing the game, was rock solid, with no stuttering or weird game drops. I did notice that some of the menus are a bit hard to grasp — lots of buttons are used as opposed to menu layers, but these shouldn’t be a problem.The game, so far, seems almost free of structural annoyances, though I was bothered by a sort of artful screen jitter that happens when you move from one menu item to the next. It was cool once or twice, but bothersome after that. The engine has some minor issues with hit detection and clipping, but I didn’t hit anything major and I never got stuck in a wall or anything like that, so I don’t have any major complaints yet. I would have liked the environments to be even more destructible (building collapses, craters in the ground, etc.) but there has to be some limits if the map is to stay intact.It’s way too early to comment on the player interaction in the game, but I have every reason to believe it’ll be as good as in previous Battlefield games. Last night things were extremely messy — players were learning the maps, there were a lot of noobs sprinting around as if they were playing CoD, and everyone was generally getting adjusted to the new game. Average lifespans seemed very short (at least mine did) and teamwork had yet to develop, but I have every confidence that things will go smoothly on this front.I don’t love the new maps yet, but I’m keeping an open mind. They are complex, large, and have no lack of obstacles or hiding places. They do seem better designed to limit vehicle experts controlling the game, but we’ll see how that goes. Some matches I was in were balanced and others were far from it, with one team completely destroying the other one, but this should get better as there are more players and a larger pool of people in each server category (for example, I filtered down to just Rush games on East Coast servers).Many of the same BF issues exist, and some are even exacerbated by the games improvements. For example, the game has huge maps, which means sometimes you spawn a good 500 yards (say 2 minutes run) away from where you need to be. So you sprint there wildly and in your rush almost always get killed because you aren’t being careful. Or you can wait for a vehicle to spawn, which can be downright boring. Also the combination of big maps with long sight lines means that snipers, tanks, and even some assault rifles can pick you off from huge distances. The worst parts of Battlefield, at least for me, has always been dying without knowing why and then insta-deaths (such as when you spawn and your squad immediately gets hit with a tank shell). Both of these are still present, so, as always, it’s about learning to avoid them.This isn’t a review, so I don’t want to leave off with any conclusions or anything too final, but so far is seems like Battlefield 3 will be just what BF fans are looking for. It’s an extremely well done squad-based first-person shooter with industry leading graphics and and excellent multiplayer experience.I’ve yet to get into the single player campaign, but that’s not something I’m overly interested in — there are already a ton of great FPS games in my to-play stack and this isn’t necessarily an itch that I need BF3 to scratch. It’s still very early in the game, and I have a lot of leveling up to do, but so far it’s looking like Battlefield 3 will be one of my top games of 2011.Battlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_TehranHighwayBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_TehranHighwayBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_SeineCrossingBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_OperationMetroBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_OperationFirestormBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_Noshahr CanalBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_KhargBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_Damavand PeakBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_Caspian BorderBattlefield 3 MP Maps _Vista_BazaarBattlefield 3 – MP screens – 10.24 – Valley05Battlefield 3 – MP screens – 10.24 – Valley04Battlefield 3 – MP screens – 10.24 – Valley03Battlefield 3 – MP screens – 10.24 – Valley02Battlefield 3 – MP screens – 10.24 – Valley01Battlefield 3 – MP screens – 10.24 – Jet01Battlefield 3 – MP screens – 10.24 – Bank01last_img

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