E3 Quick Play: Battlefield 3

Battlefield is back and ready for you to play the third instalment of the multiplayer game, but can it compare to the second outing, will it beat Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, and has it got enough to take out Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Future Solider?

We went behind closed doors without our camera to play one of the new multiplayer maps - Operation Metro - and find out whether you should be excited or get yourself ready to be disappointed. Read on to find out.

Name

Battlefield 3

What platform is it on?

PC, PS3, Xbox 360

When's it due out?

25 October 2011

What other game is it like?

Battlefield 2, Call of Duty series

Does it use any new tech like 3D, PlayStation Move, or Kinect for Xbox 360?

No

The pitch

After 3 years of development, the spectacular new game leaps ahead of the competition thanks to the unique power of the Frostbite 2 game engine. The technology advances the state of the art, and serves as the power centre that allows Battlefield 3 to deliver superior performance in character animation, visual rendering, audio/sound and physical destruction.

Battlefield 3 is the only FPS in the marketplace using Frostbite 2, and the only shooter capable of making the gameplay experience feel alive with all the sights, sounds, movements and action of real-world incursions. Fans eager to jump into battle can join the multi-platform beta in September 2011.

The storyline

Battlefield 3 captures the intense reality of modern warfare across the globe. DICE is working closely with highly decorated ex-SAS operator and acclaimed author, Andy McNab, to ensure the authenticity and grittiness of today’s war is captured in both the single player and multiplayer campaigns. In the single player chapters being highlighted at E3, two new playable characters are introduced. Dmitri “Dima” Mayakovsky, a Russian undercover agent, must fight his way from the Paris Stock Exchange through the crowded city streets in a desperate attempt to stop PLR operatives from detonating a dirty bomb in the heart of Paris. Jonathan “Jono” Miller, a Marine Corporal from America’s heartland, is deployed to the barren dustbowl of the Tehran desert to engage PLR forces. This chapter showcases a classic Battlefield vehicle warfare experience as players embark on a large scale tank attack to neutralize the PLR base. 

Trailers, demoes, and video

Our first impressions

Part of the agreement of being able to play Battlefield 3 behind closed doors at E3 in Los Angeles was that we left our camera behind. That’s no biggie to be honest as EA has released enough trailers and videos of the action for you to see, but also because to be frank we wouldn’t have had the time to snap away anyway - Battlefield 3, as you probably guessed, is pretty intense.

We were treated to two levels of the game. The first, a tank mission that we were walked through at the EA press conference by developers DICE, and then Operation Metro, which we had the chance to play ourselves on a PC with a Razer mouse and keyboard.

The tank level is Battlefield 3 at its finest: lots of vehicles, big landscapes, and plenty going on. If you’re a fan you’re going to lap this stuff up. It really shows the full scope of what is possible thanks to the new Frostbite 2 engine.

Operation Metro is a close quarters experience on foot, but still large enough to impress with multiple options rather than forever tunnelling you into the action.

Set in Paris we were tasked with taking on the bad guys. The maps are big, the audio intense, and the 32-player multiplayer hectic. There are four types of character classes: assault, engineer, support, and recon, and each is set up with different strengths and skills. We played assault class opting to get in on the action rather than sit at the back with a big sniper rifle. Of course all are heavily customisable and grow as the game progresses.

In the thick of the action, and it sounds silly to say this, but you really are in the thick of the action. Suppressive fire blurs the opponents view for example, while there is always so much going on that it’s sometimes hard to keep up.

Thanks again to the Frostbite 2 engine, the entire environment is ready to be damaged. A well placed bullet will cause a balcony to collapse on your enemy and our demo dudes were keen to tell us how, just before our play, one player had managed to bring down an entire building by getting “lucky” with an RPG.

As we’ve alluded to, there are vehicles - tanks, boats, helicopters, and jeeps - while those who like to collect dog tags will be happy to know that’s still here too - although it’s now harder to earn them - you need to perform a stealth kill from behind.

Back in our Operation Metro mission and things get serious with the action going from the parks of Paris down into the Metro and the close confines of the underground.

Death (plenty of them to be honest) resulted in a respawn and a chance to gather our thoughts before being hurled back into the action.

15 minutes later and our team wins. It’s a small victory, but one that is likely to be enjoyed by all Battlefield gamers. If you’re a fan of the series, this is going to be a must.

Please note

The E3 games convention is a fantastic chance to see the latest games due out over the coming year, as well as letting us get a glimpse into what are going to be the big titles and the ones to avoid like the plague.

The big problem, however, is that for most of the titles that glimpse is, well, just that. At the show you'll get to play a level here or a multiplayer map there or even have a product manager walk you through a specific level.

So with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review or even a review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming on just 15 minutes of play? However, it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion, of what to expect come launch day.



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