Battlefield 3 Hands-On Report: Opposing Forces

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Battlefield 3 Hands-On Report: Opposing Forces

War has changed. And fortunately, it’s changed for the better. Not long ago, Jeff and I went hands-on with an early, pre-alpha PS3 build of Battlefield 3’s multiplayer mode. Building on the positive buzz behind the smash hit Battlefield Bad Company 2, developer DICE is crafting a muscular follow-up that leverages new animation and rendering tech, revamped online features, and a rough-and-tumble feel to create a new breed of military shooter.

During the multiplayer battle, Jeff and I found ourselves on opposing sides (my side won, naturally). Following our all-too-brief hands-on session, Jeff and I compared notes on the finer points of Battlefield 3’s multiplayer mode.

Sid Shuman: With Call of Duty’s twitchier play style becoming the industry norm for many multiplayer military shooters, I was most curious to see how Battlefield 3’s multiplayer would stake out its own territory. I was pleased to find a highly accessible game that remains faithful to Battlefield’s realistic roots while evolving the look, feel, and tactics. This is a shooter that has learned several important lessons from Call of Duty — primarily in the realm of accessibility — but stands firmly on its own boot-clad feet.

Jeff Rubenstein: I know you’re more of a fan of team-based multiplayer modes, so you must’ve enjoyed the Rush mode we sampled. A Battlefield staple, teams are divided into offense and defense, with the attackers attempting to take objectives (or blow them up, as it were), pushing the defenders back. I enjoy these matches because it’s not about who gets the most kills, it’s about who achieves the most objectives. The selfish generally lose.

Naturally, we were on opposite teams.

Sid: Indeed. The multiplayer map we played on, Operation Metro, was focused on straightforward infantry play and made an ideal testbed for Rush’s symmetrical combat. Diving into the first match, I was immediately drawn to Battlefield 3’s map design. On the Operation Metro map, rolling hills gave way to clumps of thick vegetation interspersed with armored barricades and rock formations, giving a more organic, liberating feel to movement and fighting. This isn’t a shooter where you’ll sprint down the same dusty hallways and snipe out of the same dusty windows again and again ad nauseum. Battlefield 3’s porous but open map design forces you to constantly scan your surroundings for stealthy approaches. Combined with a devastatingly realistic damage model and a short-but-nerve-wracking respawn timer, I found myself playing far more carefully than I’m accustomed to in multiplayer shooters — I’d pop off a few shots, scramble for safety, lay low, then work to flank any nearby opponents. The experience was more harrowing than some survival-horror games I’ve played, and forced me to lay down suppressive fire and breathlessly belly-crawl to avoid being gunned down. And it worked, for more than 10 straight kills, until somebody tapped me with a high-powered sniper rifle and the lights went out for good.

Battlefield 3 for PS3

Jeff: You know, due to my squad’s inability to dislodge you defenders from your perch in a gazebo, we weren’t able to push you back, and hence we weren’t able to see the full range of the map, which includes an underground subway depot. Interestingly, the Operation Metro map is based on an actual Parisian park – DICE’s Owen Johnson told me that some French fellas that tried out the demo earlier said it was quite accurate, although the actual Metro station is a bit more, shall we say, worn-in in real life.

Sid: You know, they say the Swedes are a very meticulous people. Beyond the map’s sprawling size and alleged geographic accuracy, I was also struck by the new ways you can interact with the environment. Battlefield 3 has an immersive physicality I don’t often see in shooters — it intermittently reminded me of Mirror’s Edge, incidentally also developed by DICE. I liked how, when I mantled over a low barricade, my character scissor-kicked his legs over the obstruction rather than weightlessly hop over it as in many other shooters. It feels jarring and rough-and-tumble, but convincing in a way that connected me with the environment. As an example, I frequently found myself sprinting away from danger and then diving to avoid incoming fire, making my character slide heavily through the grass in a way that made me wince. In fact, I did quite a bit of the latter due to some sharpshooters on your team. Hey, you were playing as a sniper, weren’t you?

Jeff: Ugh, that was *not* on purpose. In my rush to jump into the game as quickly as possible, I started hammering on the X button, and I was dropped into the match in the Recon class, which you might know as a “sniper.” I figured I might not last too long (I didn’t!), so I decided to explore the ways the Recon class has evolved since BF:BC2. In a notable change, every character class can now dip into a full prone stance. To help balance a sniper’s new, lower profile, DICE is adding a bit of weapon glint to help betray a sniper’s position when he zeros in on a target for too long. I picked a safe-looking spot, laid down, and drew a bead on an enemy. What I noticed immediately wasn’t that I missed – I expected that. It was the incredible crack of the rifle’s discharge. The report sounded LOUD and DANGEROUS. In fact, throughout the rest of the session, I noticed that the guns sounded more fearsome and deadly than the arms I’ve used in other games recently. If nothing else, Battlefield 3 brings definite improvements to its treatment of audio. Which class were you using?

Battlefield 3 for PS3

Sid: I mostly stuck with the Assault class, a versatile, combat-ready role that shares abilities of a field medic, including a portable defibrillator that resurrects fallen allies and medkits that you can use to heal wounded teammates. I also tinkered with the Support class that boasts a bodacious light machinegun and a pocketfull of ammo. Interestingly, the Support class can deploy a portable bipod on any solid surface (a barricade or the ground) in order to boost range and accuracy, effectively creating a high-powered turret at will.

On that note, I was impressed to see that, unlike most shooters, Battlefield 3 emphasizes laying down suppressive fire — a key tactic in controlling and winning a real-life firefight. You’ll actually gain XP when you pin enemies behind cover. Better yet, you’ll also blur the vision of any enemies you suppress, putting them at a disadvantage. This is a perfect match for the Support class, with its high-capacity ammo clips.

Jeff: I do like the idea of folding in the typical medic class with the Assault troops – both those types are usually at the front line anyways. I typically lean on the Engineer class, as I enjoy both the destruction and repairing of tanks. Johnson noted that “Engineer has changed the least.” I’m fine with that. Did you happen to land a melee kill? They’ve added an interesting collection aspect via customizable dog tags, allowing you to form a collection of your most intimate finishers. I’m sure we’ll hear and see more of that feature down the line.


Well, that’s all the commentary we could squeeze out of a 10-minute multiplayer match, but the taste was enough to have us salivating for a larger bite of Battlefield 3. You can be sure we’ll keep you updated here on the PlayStation Blog as we get further samplings between now and the game’s October 25th release date. Don’t forget, Battlefield 1943 is included on the Blu-ray disc as a free bonus, only for PS3.

Comments are closed.


  • Good to hear!… No Vita Previews Jeff? Like I asked on the other post, when is the embargo on previews from the NYC event up? Or are you guys going to post the previews on the Blog?

  • How much will the back to karkand expansion pack be if we DON’T preorder it?

  • MW3 FTW!

  • Omg the sound in that trailer… omg omg I cannot wait to get this game

  • 3rd! BF3 is better Than The Most Over Hyped FPS Game Ever COD! The Same Game Every Year Just New Guns huh.. BF3 Looks Like a New Game a New System A New War .. Can not wait to try The BETA!

  • Lol 5th hhh

  • Looks like I might be able to Boycott MW3 this time .. lol thanks for the Update!

  • Can’t Wait!

  • @3, Battlefield is leagues better then COD, which has had the same casual, noob friendly, small maps, no teamwork gameplay since 2002. Popular does not equal better, ask justin beiber.

  • Lookn and sounding great! I have a reserve for the beta, cant wait to try it.

  • Love BF, it is just about the only FPS I play online. It is the best in many aspect that others never have. I love the open battles, yes I can play close quarters if I want, or driva a tank or plane. Also it is very well balanced, if I am on foot and u are in a tank, all it takes is some C4. Not to mention every thing is distructable, so you can’t hide. I can and will blow up your cover.

    Plus their DLC is far better in the past, you don’t just get some new map, you get a new era.

    Already pre-ordered!

  • There squad chat feature is horrible. You can talk to people in your squad but not people on your Team. it was annoying in BF2 and it just stupid they never fixed this. Oh wait its made By EA/DICE so maybe they can charge me $10 to fix it. Another reason we need voice chat.

  • Looks like I might have to reconsider buying Battlefield 3 over MW3
    It looks so much better than any other FPS out there.

  • Anyone not getting this for PC is

    missing out big time, consoles are still cool just.. less content/visuals/support/players online.

  • To whom it may concern @ DICE:

    If you truly want the millions of C.O.D. players (me included) to abandon that franchise and convert over to Battlefield, I strongly recommend you have an “online multiplayer demo”. A single player campaign demo will serve no purpose IMO. Everyone knows mutliplayer is the real meat in this genre of games. Allow partial weapons & class ranking within the demo to give the players a sense of accomplishment. This is when a vested feeling of progress will take over in player’s minds and they’ll want to continue their work once the retail game releases. Just my 2cents…

  • Every time there is a FPS game does everyone have to say how much this will be better than COD or how much COD sucks? Who cares? Buy what you want play what you want. I will be getting this and MW3.

  • Cant wait to play this! Looks amazing
    Already preordered it.

  • very good but nothing like uncharted…and there are a lot of people saying its better on PC…and I say:Say what?sorry say WTF? People must understand and know…everything is better on PS3….Cuz PS3 is the awesome of awesomeness.

  • tbh, if BF3 looks exactly like BC2 with new skins and new weapons and new maps. i would buy it regardless.

    Bad Company 2 looks amazing by itself and BF3 is definitely a step from BC2 and BF2.

    hoping to get a gaming PC, and so i would buy this game on PC and PS3 :D

  • A piece of the building near the end fell on a player and he died. :)

  • Can’t wait to play it.


    BF3 < MW2.5 LMFAO

    i can not wait for this game here. this will make all of us who have been looking for a new awesome FPS get back into hardcore gaming i say. this looks every penny worth it compared to MW2.5 (aka mw3). im not gonna get into the whole mw3 vs MF3, but i will say this…. for those who have been playing cod for a very long time like myself this game here would and will put u back in the gaming mood once more. hands down BF3 < MW2.5.

  • @22 its bf3>mw2.5 the way u typed it means that bf3 is less than mw3, also I CANT WAIT FOR THIS GAME ANYMORE I WANT THAT BETA NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • how do u get the beta when it comes out?

  • Hi psn BF fans just a heads up. I recieved an email from EA/Dice confirming my slot in the beta from MoH purchase and that the beta will start in september. so check your email for the same message.

  • Uncharted much better


    @23 yea thanks dude it was a typo, lol. i ment …………… BF3 > MW2.5 LMFAO !!!!


    ahhhh high on lifeee i am yes i do sayyy… XD

  • is there any way to get the beta if i didnt get MoH?

  • @samslider I am almost certain the beta will be public after going to plus subscribers first.

  • OMG!!!! Help!! I can’t wait for this game any longer!! D:

  • There was no indication that was footage from a PS3… probably because it wasn’t :P.

    I really hope it doesn’t have the same frame-rate issues BC2 had…and will be a lot less boring to play. I gave up around level 26 I think before I traded it in. I’m still excited though, it should be lots of fun. Borderlands should hold me over until then. Good bye COD!

  • I hope to see the Desert Eagle, the P90, and the in BF3… A veterans reward… And a good co-op campaing! I saw at my local Best Buy that they have some pre orders for BF3… Should i? :)

  • *and the USAS-12 in BF3…* That’s what i ment to say.

  • so is that video the PS3 footage?

  • Once again another developer thinks they have that ‘secret ingredient’ in their game which makes COD so popular, but the very mention of class based gameplay says they really have no clue what makes COD the most played online FPS on earth.

    Classes = fail. Why? Because they are limiting and get boring/repetitive very quickly. People want customizations and options when it comes to their loadouts, which is one of the biggest reasons why COD is the king in overall player numbers and popularity.

    Based on that BF3 looks like it might be another COD-knockoff that takes all the wrong aspects from COD instead of the right ones. What a shame. At least the audio is going to be good, I hope they take advantage of blu ray’s disk space and offer PS3 players uncompressed audio instead of the limited PC/X360 compressed audio.

  • mastorofpuppetz if thats your opinion then fine but I prefer the arcadey fast paced playstyle that COD offers with smaller maps.

    COD or BF, none is going to be better than the other, each will be good to the people playing them and all the BF fanboys seem to want COD to be changed to how BF plays but if that ever happened the same people would be saying oh look they copied us.





  • That looks EXTREMELY similar to Medal of Honor. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

  • All right keep those info coming.

  • When are we gonna see some PS3 footage? this is PC

  • Battlefield 3 wins! Best game of 2011, nothing else. Brazil, yes we can! Thanks Sony :D

  • Anyone know for sure if this is PS3 graphics? I wanna see some PS3 BF3 multiplayer gameplay. I am so excited for this game and hope the Beta is good!

  • @ENRICHOVEGA agreed

  • holy crap! this will surely look good on pc maxed out and with a powerful rig you can’t go wrong. will definitely get it but not on ps3 coz the graphics will be waaayy much better on pc and control with the keyboard and mouse is a breeze, way much better than a controller

  • awesome any idea when this game will be out?

  • looks stupid, but my complaining wont do any good, they already made millions from this from sheeple pre-ordering, its hyped too much, just like mw3, its made millions and I already know it will be trash! Dont pre-order people come on, that’s why all these FPS suck today.

  • Engineer is supposed to have a blinding flashlight. You can see a little of that in the trailer, however, it didn’t seem that blinding. It was really bright and huge but it just seemed like a easy target to hit. I think the blinding effect should be more strong and obvious. Unless that trailer doesn’t do it justice and it actually looks and works better than that. Heres hoping. Unless Jeff and Sid, since yah got to do the alpha, can you provide more info?

  • was that ps3 footage????? please reply as we all need/want to know.

  • To all the haters, battlefield has been out doing mutiplayer longer then cod, their frostbite engine is amazing. If anything cod took things from BF not the other way around. Just because you can pick what weapon you want and have unrealistic options don’t make it better. BF is more realistic, when I was deployed I networked all my platoons computers together and we played BF2 when we had spare time. That was epic!!!!’

    I have always been a BF fan, think I am a veteran for every game except that futuristic one. Looks amazing but I am disappointed it is leaning toward PC support. Why we get a lower frame rate is beyond me. Come on and squeeze some mire life out of the system.

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