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.

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78 Comments

  • @aquastorm in what world are you living? the PS3 already outsold the 360 in America (the only country in the world that 360 sells)

  • ADD ME IF YOU ARE GETTING BF3

  • aaaaaaaaaand pre-ordered!

  • Im getting this if the multiplayer is better than Bad Company 2. That games multiplayer was ok but i just suck sooo bad at it!

  • I cant wait to get Battlefield 3!!!

  • i have question about my ps3… when im listening to music on ps3 when i press the ps button it doesnt take to the song line up or xmb i cant listen to music while on the browser ANYMORE????

  • Jus buy both games cant wait until fall!

  • the best game in the world but call of duty nicer than it

  • Wow it looks really good… The sound design is incredible and the weapons look far more detailed this time around.

  • @36, anyone who says classes are fail is clueless. COD is popular because it takes no skill, favours lone wolfing and camping, has massive auto aim, small maps which don’t require any tactics or any learning of the maps. it caters to the 12 year olds. Popularity does not mean much when it comes to quality.

    MCdonalds sells a lot of burgers………………………

    Wal-mart sells a lot of mechandise.

    Justin beiber sells a lot of records.

    Battlefield is betetr in about every way.

    COD has no tactics, no vehicles, smaller maps, less players, more autoaim, no destructibilty, lots of camping….

    battlefield is nothing like COD so how is it a knock off. battlefield series goes back as long as COD does, learn some facts.

  • Only morons buyCOD expansion (Thats all it is) for 70 a year which uses a 5 year old engine, and does nothing new, and then pays for 15 dollar maps. BAAAH, BAAH sheep.

  • a little off topic but when is minecraft coming to ps3?

  • Fre4king_Perf3ct

    i have BF2, its awesomeeee!!!
    but this? theee besttt game i everr seen, SICK game, cant wait for it!!!
    did we have the BF1943, with the BF3 for free ?

  • Actual PS3 footage was shown on the Jimmy Fallon show. Its on youtube if you wanna see it.

  • Whoever said this is graphics from the PC version obviously cannot read. The first sentence clearly states it is the PS3 version.

  • Sicker than your Average…. R.I.P. Call of Duty and Vaya con Dios!

  • woooooow just….wow i dont know what to say..im a huge fan of cod but now its for….wait for it…BATTLEFIELD 3…Hell -Yeahh

  • i can wait

  • I am so happy, just got invited to the Alpha!!!!! I am downloading it now. Got to play on my PC but it’s ok. I am used to BF2.

    Veteran level 6

  • @ 36/ leukoplast I’m sorry, what did you just say? BF3 is a rip off of COD? That’s probably the most untrue statement I’ve read in about a month. You DO know that Battlefield is the original, right? You do know that Battlefield offers customization of the only important parts in a class, right? You CAN change the guns and to an extent the equipment. Again, Call of Duty knock-off? Hardly, as Battlefield actually upgrades the engine from game to game unlike the fellows at Infinity Ward/Treyarch. And to you comment on PC being worse than the PS3 platform: Fanboysaywha? PC is, has been, and always will be, the best platform to game on.

  • Well darn I already have 1943 so that means nothing to me. But on the other hand sounds like this game is going to be just as awesome as I thought it would be. It’s nice to hear from some people playing on PS3 finally. It obviously can’t look as good as it does on PC, but everybody forgets that this fact doesn’t mean it won’t look good. It’s going to look great.

  • I LOVE to hear about the suppressive fire mechanic, that’s fantastic and something no other shooter has actually rewarded you for. I mean laying down suppressive fire works in games like KZ3 as a gameplay tactic, but you don’t get XP for it or anything, it also doesn’t actually affect the other player’s vision or anything like that, like it does in BF3, it just makes it a little more dangerous to come out from behind cover. Adding glint to sniper rifles is a nice touch as well it will force the recon class to change up their position more. I like COD, but I’m really REALLY glad that DICE is stepping into the ring with BF3, it’s going to be absolutely fantastic and it will most definitely force the COD devs to innovate more to keep being relevant and competitive.

  • This will Destroy !!!! MW3….BF3 is in the NEW and MW3 is the same old NooB fest Run-N-Gun boring gameplay and you have to pay to play online or just like the 360 but just for multiplayer stats LoL

  • That part with the trees and a tank nearly blew my mind….it’s so open!!! And the HUD looks crazy!!!!

  • Jeff: “This is a shooter that has learned several important lessons from Call of Duty” you have got to be kidding, right? Battlefield was the first major FPS to include destruction, large maps, and vehicles. In my mind, Call of Duty (as much as i dislike it) has learned important lessons from Battlefield primarily in the realm of accessibility. If you see:
    Battlefield: Large maps, vehicles, destruction (ability to destroy buildings, vehicles, make holes in walls, etc.) , medium action, realistic
    COD: Small maps, no vehicles, minimal destruction (being able to blow up cars), high fast paced action, not realistic

  • YES, YES, YES!! This game will be huge. Well Sony you should invest some money and get some exclusive deal with EA on the Battlefield franchise starting with this one. Microsoft own you on the COD franchise you should own them on the Battlefield ones. Besides Battlefield is way better than COD. It is your time Sony, MAKE A MOVE!!!

  • @56 You cannot use (Photo), (Internet Browser) or other features while playing music or when (Settings) > (Music Settings) > [Output Frequency] is set to [44.1 / 88.2 / 176.4 kHz]. To use these features, select [48 kHz].

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