I had the pleasure of playing the Battlefield 3 beta on my Playstation 3 for last few days and I have to say it’s pretty impressive. I actually got to play it earlier than most players since I had bought the Medal of Honor Limited Edition last year but, only by one day and after 5 hours of downloading the actual beta. After playing a few matches over the course of the last few days I have to say developer DICE has created a great and fun online experience. The beta sadly only includes one map, Operation Metro, which I believe is set in Paris, France. Even though there is only one map to play on, it’s a very good and diverse one, perfect for a multiplayer experience.
As soon as I had downloaded the beta I was instantly excited to play it, I have to say I have not been this excited for a game since Metal Gear Solid 4 back in 2008. I was quickly thrown into a Rush match, sadly the only mode in the beta. I was instantly impressed with the visuals. I was into middle of a large park, probably in the middle of Paris, with trees, park benches and old European buildings out in the distance, I was immediately sucked into the setting. Within seconds I could here gunshots and explosions in all directions with stunning realism. The sky was blue and cloudy and the sounds of war were around me. Needless to say I was pretty stoked and impressed. The map is not a flat and simple area, there are small hills and boulders and small barricades to jump over, everything most people would expect in a large central park in the middle of a city. In the map there were two areas where players had to reach to set and detonate their explosives, while being attacked by the enemy. After my team and I planted and detonated the bombs we were quickly given two new areas to reach and destroy. Instead of the new areas being in the park they were in a completely new setting, in an underground metro or subway system. To get there I had to reach the a section of the park where it looked like someone blew a gigantic hole in the ground with a shitload C4.
I ran down the hole and into a long hallway along with my teammates. Pretty soon I was running on a subway track with metro cars on the left me some still on the track some not. With a dark look and only the ceiling and metro car fluorescent lights it really created an atmosphere of an underground metro, it reminded me of the film The Taking of Pelham 123. I eventually reached the platform area where people would be getting on the metro if there wasn’t a large firefight with bullets whistling around corners and rockets flying over my head. The closed quarters combat and firefights were amazing, fighting in and out of metro cars while having bullets fly over my head and hit the windows of cars and other teammates was awesome. The newly added prone feature was particular great, crawling up escalators to fight off the enemy and reach the objective was more realistic, strategic and more importantly fun than any other shooter I’ve played in years. The new knife kills are so much more satisfying and cooler than any previous Battlefield game, players physically grab the enemy and stab them. Also vaulting over objects and walls looks better and feels more fluid. After numerous firefights in the higher levels of the metro station my team managed to blow up the objectives.
I was soon outside again, not in the park but, rather in the middle of the streets. With bullets flying around I quickly ran to a nearby building. I was surprised how players could run into the first floors of buildings and provide cover fire. I did not explore much of the streets since most of my matches never made it that far. What I did see though was a lot of variety in places to hide, provide cover and to do some stylish parkour followed by some cool kills. The whole experience was fantastic. There was much detail throughout the map like advertisements in the metro station and even the grass I was proning on in the park. Visually it felt and looked almost like a campaign mission and did not have that look of separate visual detail you would see in most games separating their singleplayer from multiplayer. Sound wise everything seemed pretty great other than the weapons. My gun shots were not very loud, probably due to the silencers but, even then still sounded rather quiet. The sounds of other players shouting for support and other updates was particularly unique and realistic. The fact that my character yelled “pick up some fucking ammo” is spot on and great, real soldiers swear.
The beta contained four classes Assault, Engineer, Medic and Recon and they all served their purpose well. Matches lasted much longer than I expected, some matches lasted over 30 minutes. The whole experience was rather great. My only real complaints are there was no vehicles to maneuver and there was only one map and one mode. I don’t understand why some people are bashing it. Visually its fantastic, gameplay wise even better, yes there are bugs and they need to fix them but, nothing game breaking that I encountered. I am confident this may be the best first person shooter of the year based on it’s multiplayer lets just hope the singleplayer campaign is just as good.