Short version: Battlefield 3 plays it safe and focuses on maximizing player engagement, but falls prey to a lack of variety, a shabby UI that’s clearly a holdover from consoles, plus of course the inevitable bugs, lag, and rocket spam. There’s a good game in here, but only if you’re willing to overlook some real flaws. But as it has been for years with big multiplayer games like this, the bugs tend to disappear and the players find themselves powering through bad matches for that one incredibly good one. I just wish the good ones came a little more often.Pros:
- Graphics, sound, and physics are fantastic
- Tons of unlocks (though many repeat)
- Multiplayer has potential for excellence
- Establishing your own play style is fun and rewarding
- Single player is more or less Whac-A-Mole on rails, occasionally frustrating
- Multiplayer plagued by lag, RPG spam
- Maps lack real diversity
- In-game UI is simply awful
Battlefield 3, to me, represents a missed opportunity in several ways. Guaranteed to be one of the best-selling games of the year (and it is already breaking records, with five million sold before I even started this review), it had the chance to also be adventurous and push the envelope. In a way, it does that — but I would say the wrong way.
Why is this review so long? Because a gaming event on this scale, destined to be played by millions for years perhaps, deserves more than six paragraphs and a number between 1 and 10. Oh, and I’m aware that other game is launching today. This was supposed to run last week but there was a conflict.
Graphics and Sound
The new engine really is stunning, in the right circumstances — mainly when the screen is crowded with activity. You’ve probably seen enough screenshots and videos (or played enough) that I don’t need to belabor this point. While I would say that the aesthetics and imagination of Rage and Crysis 2 put them ahead of BF3 as far as graphics alone go, BF3 is more convincing that you are part of a real world. This is most evident in moments of chaos where real panic sets in as you see your cover falling to pieces and there are bullets whizzing by, and you feel a real instinct whether to run or stay. Safety is hard to come by and legitimately comforting when you have it.
Player and NPC animations are something to behold as well. It’s easy to forget the wooden animations we endured for years, the simple static meshes and stilted interactions with the environment. While the new system isn’t perfect, it can at times be uncomfortably convincing. I’m glad DICE chose not to include overly graphic injury, because it might be literally traumatic for some considering the fidelity of the game world.
The sound is fantastic as well. I played mostly with a surround-sound headset, and it’s worth getting the setup right and testing a few modes, because it’s a brain-crushing experience. The harsh crack of a passing sniper bullet, the roar of a support gunner unloading next to you, and the crunch of masonry falling come through loud and clear. As usual, I could wish for a few more sound bites for my teammates to say (you start recognizing the ten different “grenaaade!” clips), to mix things up, though you won’t hear the exact same clips playing back to back.
Let’s address the single player really quick: there have been some harsh words, but I would call it perfectly competent and occasionally exciting, but fundamentally unimaginative. The plot takes a few turns, but for the most part you are simply dropping terrorists (or cops, or soldiers), moving forward to the next piece of cover, and repeating. Sometimes it happens fast enough that it’s a fun ride, like the first Russian mission, where you’re racing through a office complex and city streets with a small team. But at other times, it feels like a slog, as when you first encounter Russian paratroopers and must fight through wave after wave, hiding behind generic walls and stacks of supplies. And the final mission is a major letdown.
You’ll be doing all the work yourself, as your mates in the game mostly fire for effect. I saw one of my guys and an enemy empty entire clips into each other from ten feet away, each perhaps trying to comprehend why the other was immortal. But it’s a fun little ride that shows off the engine and makes you familiar with a few of the weapons. Of course, you’ll have to play for 15 hours in multiplayer before you unlock many of those weapons, but that’s another story.
The point of the game, as has always been the case, is the multiplayer. And DICE has delivered a deep experience — in the sense that there’s a lot to wade through, and you can’t go very fast.
Of the various modes available, Conquest and Rush are the most Battlefield-like. There are 8 maps to choose from, and here we run into the first problem. There’s just not enough variation.
Battlefield has always been ostensibly a tactical game, and most maps are very limiting in tactical terms. Sight lines are all medium-length (with a few long-range spots for snipers, though they know they’re sitting ducks there if spotting is on), and the action is concentrated at bottlenecks. In the French levels, Seine Crossing and Operation Metro, there are ways of going between the bottlenecks, but no way of circumventing them. Tactical maneuvers are more or less impossible, and it’s just a war of attrition, especially on 64-player servers.
Where is the wide-open field of Battlefield’s past? Where is the no-holds-barred warfare I had so often in Atacama Desert and Heavy Metal? Now to be fair there are larger, more open maps. Caspian Border is by far the best, followed closely by Kharg Island, both with meaningful geography (i.e. hills and roads) and a lot of potential for unpredictability. Operation Firestorm, on the other hand, presents almost no strategic element, and just turns into a churn as the control points roughly in a square get captured and recaptured. Damavand Peak can be good if you manage to get behind the enemy, but it’s largely just an endless firefight in the dark between the tunnel spawn point and whoever’s spawning outside. And don’t get me started on Operation Metro.
The problem is that, with the notable exception of Caspian and Kharg all these maps are sort of, well… medium-sized. The active part, I mean. There’s lots of set dressing but I almost never see it in play. Real elevation differences are few, and firefights always seem to play out on the same medium-sized scale. There’s little of the room-to-room, face-to-face warfare of Bad Company 2, and little of the truly large scale stuff either. So despite their different locations, cover materials, and color schemes, the maps end up feeling same-y. On a scale of one to ten, they all fall between three and seven. This is the source of my disappointment. Why don’t we have a ten, with a huge mountain fortress, or a one, on a single residential street? No, it’s all semi-industrial areas with big warehouses and a few back streets.
To be clear, it’s not that these maps are bad. I’ve had good games on every map. But it just feels like they pulled back when they should have gone all out. You can apply both realism and imagination, and the latter is lacking.
But how does it play?
Other complaints notwithstanding, minute by minute the game is pretty satisfying. Gunplay between pieces of cover gives you the real feeling that you’re actually avoiding bullets rather than the enemy just missing. Tanks and LAVs feel as overpowered as they should, and are equally powerless against a smart engineer or two in cover. The “suppression” mechanic is kind of hard to get, and sometimes it’s not really clear whether you’re being shot or merely being shot at.
There is an troubling equality in combat effectiveness between the classes. I realize these are all modern soldiers equipped for battle, but everyone seems to be suited to medium-range combat (as the maps require) rather than being truly specialized. Assault isn’t rugged enough to be at the front; Recon isn’t weak enough to stay back; Engineer isn’t specialized enough to require care; Support isn’t ineffective enough while not set up. Everyone can run in guns blazing, and generally does. Why are snipers so accurate while standing (I know they hold their breath, but they’re freehanding a .50-caliber rifle, I mean really now)? Why isn’t support naturally resistant to suppression? Why are engineers given such powerful anti-personnel weapons? Why doesn’t assault really outgun the rest, as they have in the past?
It seems that instead of giving each class truly distinct strengths and balancing them (a difficult job, done well in the likes of Starcraft and Team Fortress 2), they chose to tone down those strengths and make them all good at the basic task of running around and shooting guys — at medium range.
If that’s the kind of gameplay you like, combat amongst equals with slight tendencies toward one thing or another, then you’ll find BF3 very compelling. And to be fair, the more you play a class, the more you can specialize. There’s certainly skill involved, and you’ll be shot by people’s default weapons as much as their final ones.
And for the record, the RPG spam is totally out of control. Go play Quake, guys.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t play air vehicles almost at all. The primary reason being that I didn’t want to screw up matches with my crappy flying, and second, that I don’t trust these things in the laggy, buggy early stages. I’ve seen enough weirdo stationary or floating planes that I didn’t want to take a shot.
I will say that, as a ground combatant, I felt the air battle was more or less separate from the ground one, and a couple guys with SAMs can keep things even if your pilots aren’t the best. I never felt that we were being dominated from the air. Take from that what you like.
There are a lot of unlocks, that much is clear. Dice has said “years” worth but that’s an exaggeration. I saw guys with the final guns for their classes after a week or so of gameplay. Sure, it might take a month or two of hard gaming to get every accessory for every gun, but it’s not that many gamers will go for that. I’ve split my time between support and engineer for the most part and after around 18 hours of play I’m rank ___ and 2/3rds of the way through the unlocks for those classes.
The disappointing bit is that you unlock the same thing multiple times. And I’m talking dozens of times here. Was it really necessary to make me unlock the reflex, then holo, then ballistic, and so on, for practically every single gun I get? Shouldn’t that foregrip I got work on more than that specific M4? There had to be a better way to go about this. The true number of unlocks is reduced substantially when you look at it from this angle, and it feels like busy work to work your way through the sights for a new gun, just to see if it’s even effective at range or what have you. Was it really so hard to make each gun have a couple unique unlocks, and then have the rest be universal?
But it does provide that impulse to keep on playing. The next rank, the next sight, the next weapon, is always just a game or two away, and it dangles this in front of your face after every round. It really is addictive and completists will have their work cut out for them.
Someone should have told DICE that PC gamers don’t just have more powerful video cards and processors. They also have big, high resolution screens, and mice. Then maybe they would have designed an interface that acknowledges this fact. As it is, every menu is a blatant holdover from console development.
In BC2, the loadout, squad selection, and map screens were a joy to work with. They showed a ton of info, were easily switched between, and you could make lots of changes on the fly. Not so here.
Finding combat is a little closer-quarters than you expected? Get ready to drill down through four layers to change your optics. And don’t think you get to select from a menu or grid. No, you have to click an arrow a bunch of times to cycle through the options. And sometimes I would select a new class and find that my settings had been magically changed. Why is this random pistol selected?
Compare to Bad Company 2′s, which not only uses more of the screen, but uses it more efficiently:
Want to join the squad your friends are in? Too bad, it’s automated for the most part. You can leave the squad, and then ask it to find one for you, but you can’t just join one. They say this is to prevent squad jumping to cherry pick a spawn spot. Why not rate-limit squad changes, then?
Head over to the map screen and switch between spawns. The tiny blip that indicates which point you’ve selected is barely noticeable. Sometimes it doesn’t even happen, and since your squadmates aren’t labeled, you can’t be sure which it is you’ll be sprouting from. Oh, and if your spawn point disappears after you select it (it’s captured or your squad leader dies), it doesn’t tell you to pick a new one. You just spawn at your base, which, on maps like Operation Firestorm, is for some ungodly reason about a two minutes’ run from the action if there are no vehicles (but don’t worry, you’ll be sniped before you can get there).
Round over? Seems like a good time to chat, change loadouts, look at other players’ stats and add them as friends (or enemies, which would be an interesting mechanic), that sort of thing, right? Nope, you can look at your round stats and unlock progress, but you can’t look at anyone else’s. There are no awards other than personal ones, either. Why not show who got the longest headshot, who shot the most rockets, who spent the most time alive? You’re stuck looking at this static set of data for 45 seconds, which is an eternity.
Did I mention that all of this takes place in a small window in the center of your screen? It’s about 1100×600, a size that would be right at home on a living room TV, but is incredibly wasteful on a high-resolution display. Nothing is expanded to show more options, nothing is made more suitable for selection by mouse, nothing has been done that acknowledges that PC gamers have a completely different method of navigating these menus.
The bugs and the lag
I don’t want to spend too much on this, but I would be remiss not to mention that many times, servers with ping under 30 have been totally unplayable, primarily on Tehran Highway. The lag produces near-constant rubber-banding (where you go forward and get pulled backwards because the server never acknowledged the movement), warping, and undo-style kills and deaths, where it’s anybody’s guess who shot first.
There is also a fair amount of clipping and weirdo issues with vibrating cameras and display bugs like flashing screens and artifacts. I’ve had dozens of crashes and failed launches, as well. Sometimes the server browser thinks I’m still in a game. “Playing!” No, my friend. Not playing.
I’m going to go ahead and assume these will be fixed, but it’s pretty ugly right now. And while the difficulty of putting out a AAA title like this does not escape me, these are not small isolated bugs but things happening to practically every single player. I have no problem saying this game was rushed to market.
I want to be impartial in my judgment of Battlelog, but the fact is I just don’t like it. The “Facebook for murderers,” as Tycho from Penny Arcade calls it, just isn’t compelling for anyone but stat counters and the most dedicated of the dedicated. The streams of information are largely the same for every player: so-and-so played on this server, so-and-so unlocked this gun. Who cares? Battlelog highlights the parts of the game least likely to be interesting to others.
If anything, BF3 should have included a robust scene-capture system like OnLive’s, where you can share the last 30 seconds of gameplay. People would watch those all day long! I know I would. Instead, you have a generic-looking soldier showing the same stats as everyone else, and a feed that shows the same activity as everyone else. Why can’t my soldier at least be customizable, maybe have him holding the weapons I’ve used the most?
The server browser and friend invite system work well enough, despite a few quirks. The question is why it was done like this at all. The web interface isn’t really necessary, and on my system the various plugins and such end up using about 250MB of RAM. Shouldn’t that be used for, you know, textures and decals and stuff?
And the fact that the game must be essentially alt-tabbed into, and that it shuts down completely when you leave a server? What is this madness? Why are we loading and unloading common assets again and again? Why are we putting graphics drivers to the unnecessary stress of switching fullscreen resolutions constantly?
Battlelog simply seems extraneous, and the web-based game selection seems arbitrary. Friends and servers could very easily have been handled in-game. I really, really can’t see the benefit of a web interface. I’m not going to go as far as some have and say it’s terrible, but it’s just kind of baffling.Conclusion
This review came off as rather negative, which is good, because I meant it to. The expectations were high for Battlefield 3, and I think that DICE advanced the wrong aspects of the game. It’s not a bad game by any means, but Battlefield players will know what I mean when I say it doesn’t live up to the promise of BC2 and indeed the original games. Lacking serious tactical options, most matches devolve into protracted firefights at choke points. The maps are too few in number and not creative enough in design. The unlock system is structured as a carrot to keep players playing as long as possible, not to make them try new things or try new classes. The classes themselves are too unfocused, which permits (and encourages) the generic run-and-gun gameplay that the maps do.
I’m hoping that the game will evolve, more interesting maps will be introduced, and the many bugs will be fixed. But while its predecessors felt fresh every round, BF3 feels rote from the start. Is it worth it for that occasional amazing match? I’m still playing, so it must be. But I still can’t help feeling a little let down.Giveaway!!
Many of you will have skipped directly to this part. I don’t blame you, that’s a long review. So here’s how you win:
Leave a comment below describing what role you like to play in Battlefield and similar games (tank guy, lone wolf, sniper, RPG whore) and why. Specify your platform! You must be in the US and at least 18 years old!
Two winners for each console platform and one PC player will be selected at random in 72 hours.
I’ll be posting an epic Battlefield 3 review tomorrow, and giving away a few copies of the game, but before that I wanted to put up a little Q&A I got to have with DICE, the game’s developer. I tried to focus on issues that a are a little more relevant to the TechCrunch reader instead of just the FPS player.
These questions were posed before the release of the game and before I wrote the review, so unfortunately they can’t address the issues I’ll detail tomorrow, but anyhow, without further ado:
What made you want to up the social component with Battlelog and other updates? Do people really want to share their k/d ratio on Facebook?
Battlelog is all about starting the right game with the right friends at the right time. You don’t have to share everything with all your Facebook friends, but Battlelog makes sure that it’s easier than ever to follow your friends’ progress and join a game where you’ll end up with the right people to maximize the fun factor.
I remember in the old days, where I would boot up Battlefield 2142 and join a server, only to find that none of my friends were actually playing at the moment. Now, I hang around in Battlelog, check my stats, plan my next unlocks, and suddenly I see one of my friends go online and enter a server. Then I just click to join on the same server. It’s social gaming at its best.
The single player game is clearly very scripted, which some like more than others. But the multiplayer is much more sandbox, with open areas, lots of options for advancing, and so on. How do you manage to bridge this gap and still create a cohesive game?
The goal for our different game modes (multiplayer, co-op and single player) is not to give the player the same experience but to give the player a variety of different Battlefield experiences. But with this in mind I think the single player and multiplayer portions of Battlefield 3 are more similar than you would think. The gunplay experience and core gameplay features such as vehicular combat are all present in the single player campaign, even if we tie a strong story to it. We find that a lot of people actually play the single player campaign to acquaint themselves with the controls and the concepts, so they can enter the multiplayer portion and be prepared for the kind of actions they need to perform to survive in Conquest or Team Deathmatch or whatever game mode they want to play.
I always remember Peter Molyneux talking about new behaviors happening in Black and White, but with physics it can be just as unpredictable. Have there been any interesting “unintended consequences” you’ve seen as a result of the sophistication of the engine?
Haha, they happen all the time! It’s part of why we coined the phrase “Battlefield moments”. It’s those moments when weird and wonderful stuff happens online that you couldn’t ever script even if you wanted to. Some of the unintended stuff stays in the game and become classics of their own, like the ability to “wing walk” in Battlefield 1942 (basically standing on the wing of a plane taking off ). We saw similar behaviors in the Battlefield 3 Open Beta, where players would wing walk the MAV recon vehicle, with some interesting results. The point is that with the dynamic rock/paper/scissors gameplay in Battlefield, sometimes you’re just amazed by what happens, and I think that is part of what makes our multiplayer so popular.
But yes, the two differ in that in singleplayer, we make sure that players experience exciting moments by scripting some of them, while in multiplayer they emerge based on the dynamic sandbox style gameplay.
We’re seeing a lot of FPS games, including your biggest competitor based in the present or close to it. How do you differentiate things that are going to be in both games, like a common pistol or rifle?
I think we are doing the right thing by focusing on how we firmly believe that a Battlefield game should look, behave, and feel. We are not really comparing weapons models and going “How can we differentiate?” Rather, we are concerned with how we can make our game feel as physical and immersive as possible.
When it comes to weapons in Battlefield 3, we are putting an increased effort into making every class of weapon, and every weapon within that class, unique. This comes down to a lot of factors, like mobility, rate of fire, muzzle energy, and so on. But on top of that, we have this very deep customization system, where a player can tailor almost any main weapon in the game to fit any role from close quarter combat to medium/long range combat.
Every main weapon has three accessory slots where you can attach any of the huge amounts of upgrades you have unlocked. This can be foregrips, different kinds of optics, heavy barrels, underslung grenade launchers, and so on. By giving this amount of customizability to players, we think that anyone, regarding of play style, will be able to have their personal favorite weapon available for any job.
DICE has said that BF3 is first and foremost a PC game. Of course the consoles must have their version and it won’t be as good – but what obstacles are modern developers running into the most with the 360 and PS3, if you can say so without burning any bridges?
What we have said is that Battlefield 3 is very much the true successor to Battlefield 2, which I think might be misinterpreted as us saying Battlefield 3 is first and foremost a PC game. We do want PC players to know and feel safe in the knowledge that we are 100 percent supporting PC, while at the same time developing fantastic versions of the game for consoles.
We are calling Frostbite 2 a next generation engine for current generation platforms. What we mean by that is that we are pushing what’s possible to do on today’s consoles, so we are definitely pushing the abilities of both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. There hasn’t been anything I would consider “obstacles” during development of Battlefield 3 for consoles. Of course, a brand new $ 2,000 PC has higher specs, but that doesn’t mean getting Battlefield 3 onto consoles has been especially difficult.
Regarding DLC, many gamers feel that developers are shipping half a game and then charging you again for the other half (maps, weapons, etc) – you guys ran into this with the pre-order thing. Can anyone just ship a game any more? And if not, what’s stopping them from doing the Valve thing and pushing out updates for free?
This is interesting. I guess you are referring to the upcoming expansion pack Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand? When we came up with the idea to give an entire expansion pack away at no extra charge to everyone who pre-orders the game, I was thrilled. It’s probably our most generous pre-order offer ever. I think gamers misinterpreted it as us shipping half a game since we announced the first expansion pack before the main game was out. It was bound to have that effect. Rest assured, Back to Karkand is developed by a separate team here at DICE. This will not be available at launch on disc. But all you need to do to get this post-launch, full digital expansion pack is to pre-order the game.
Having said that, I think that games nowadays – especially online games – are much more than hard-coded discs. For Battlefield 3, with the addition of everything that Battlelog brings, it’s more of an ongoing service for years to come.
Keep an eye out for our review tomorrow. It’s really long.
Battlefield 3 is here and in a major way. The latest shooter in the long-running franchise hit the interweb and retailers last week and EA just announced that they moved 5 million units within the first week. For anyone that cares, that makes Battlefield 3 the fastest selling title in EA’s 29 year history. And for good reason. EA and DICE conducted a flawless marketing campaign for Battlefield 3.
The marketing first targeted those that really care — dedicated gamers — as the game was first revealed this year (read: the game came out in the same year it was announced) in GameInformer magazine. Then the videos hit. EA systematically released gameplay footage of the stunning first level Fault Line. These videos, originally just a couple quick minutes, pieced together the entire first level for the view and perfectly showcased not only the game, but the brand new Frostbite 2 game engine.
By the time E3 hit in June, gamers and the press were very familiar with Battlefield 3 where it stole the show partly thanks to playable demos. The marketing ramped up over the summer in preparation for the much-anticipated open beta. Invites first went out to players who bought Medal of Honor: Tier 1 edition and those that pre-ordered Battlefield 3: Limited Edition. But soon, EA opened up two maps for anyone that wanted to try Battlefield 3. And try they did.
More than 8 million players participated in the beta during its 12 days. That resulted in 47 billion shots fired and 1.5 billion kills. But despite the extensive testing, EA’s new servers couldn’t hand the opening rush and faltered the first few days. Still, Battlefield 3 is a hit but will its popularity diminish after Modern Warfare 3 launches in the coming days?
You’ve watched the videos, played the beta, and read the storyline. Battlefield 3 gets real next week and this final trailer shows the insane single player mode. Oh, and enjoy the remake original Battlefield theme music. It gave me chills.
Battlefield 3 launches late next month and DICE/EA have so far strategically released bits of video of what looks to be awesome gameplay. The Frostbite 2 engine looks astounding. Here’s the latest video showing bits of intense firefights and a brutal knife kill. Oh man, my GTX 570 and I can’t wait. It’s crazy to look at the Battlefield 1942 render on the left and then watch the video. The future is here.
Battlefield 3 just got a bit more real. Jets! Robots! 64-player multiplayer! I can’t wait. John Biggs on the other hand is an old man. As seen in the TechCrunch staff chatroom,
John B. i stick by what i said at e3 if we put as much effort into curing anal cancer as we do into Battlefield 3 we’d be a better species
Battlefield 3 is perhaps one of the most anticipated games of 2011. It arrives in October and will likely see hundreds of thousands of sales on day one. As a AAA title, it behooves BF3 to debut on the 360, PS3, and Windows at the same time. But the last several years have seen troubling compromises in PC versions, obviously being made because of console restraints. Just recently I panned Dungeon Siege 3, a major production if I’ve ever seen one, for this exact problem. But it looks like the shoe is on the other foot with BF3: maps are going to be more “compact” and player counts reduced to from 64 on the PC version to 24 on console.
As a PC gamer myself, I believe I have a valid right to be smug here. The shoddy console ports we’ve seen have been so blatant that for years we’ve wondered why they bother at all. And here we have (as they promised) a game actually made for the PC and then scaled down for the consoles.
The consoles are years old and, although developers are managing to squeeze every last drop of performance out of them, it’s not an exaggeration to say they’re totally out of date with current graphics technology. Graphics doesn’t just mean things are shinier – it means making the graphical component of the game easier to implement, the art easier to apply, the levels easier to sculpt. More time can be spent designing the game and less coming up with a way to fit environmental reflection calculations into spare cycles.
And now is the crunch time. If we’re to believe industry sources, new consoles from Microsoft and Sony will likely come in 2013, perhaps with a 2012 announcement, but still some ways out. And until then the discrepancy in power between the consoles and PCs will only grow. If developers are planning a PC release, it makes much more sense at this point to design for the PC and then scale down, rather than vice versa. Because if they try to scale up, the results are so laughable that it should come as no surprise when port sales are low.
With the increase in downloadable and streaming game services, the PC is pulling ahead of the console once more, and it’s going to take time before they can catch up. The golden age of Half-Life and Everquest is over, but PC gaming get a second spring — if developers know what’s good for them.
Last time I posted this deal, BC2 was on Impulse, and my colleagues were earnestly recommending it to me. Now, I’m earnestly recommending it to you. There’s lots of good stuff being sold at the Steam Summer Camp Sale, but this one’s at Amazon and totally worth every penny.
Solid single-player, awesome multiplayer, just a fantastic game. Add to cart.
I was lucky enough to be able to play a partial round of Battlefield 3 yesterday, but unfortunately DICE and EA were very insistent that no cameras would be allowed inside. That rule seems to have been laxified today, as there’s a pair of videos up showing off the very experience I got. Curious? Watch on.
I’d like to register here that I was by far the highest scoring in my group of players, with more than a 2:1 KDR. That said, it was pretty clear that the opposing team was letting us win, and if they were trying even a little bit, I’d probably be 0 and 20.
My impressions? It’s hard to say based on just a few minutes without customizing my guy or learning the map (plus it’s “pre-alpha” code), but it felt good and the map we were on had a nice “real” feel to it, not like a manufactured multiplayer map or anything. I was too busy trying to survive to test the destruction and guns in a clinical manner, but it felt right.
Biggest problem? Knifing somebody now takes forever. DICE is proud of their melee animations, but seriously, I’m liable to get sniped while trying to take a fool down that way.
PC gamers—those who aren’t destroying the universe, at least—have at least one genuine PC game to look forward to this year, and that’s Battlefield 3. All of us here are pretty excited about, and we’re generally tough graders. Anyhow, Dice revealed the game at GDC this week, and they’ve rushed to the defense of PC gamers, saying that the “death of PC gaming” is “bullshit.” Can’t get much more clear than that.
When I saw Battlefield 3 about two weeks ago (EA was in New York for some event), the producer on hand stressed that the game was absolutely built from the ground up for the PC. The game’s engine, Frostbite 3, will take advantage of the raw power flowing through recent Nvidia and AMD GPUs.
It’s not going to be a shoddy port, filled with the low-res textures commonly found in the transition from console to PC. (Have you seen Dragon Age 2 on a PC? Oh, dear…) It’s not going to be like Bullestorm where you can’t so much as edit the .ini files without having to pray to the sun god.
Being able to use a mouse and keyboard or set the FOV should not be considered a “feature” in 2011.
Dice told Techland that the game intends to “[fix] the experience” found in shooters today, that games will be copying it in the future.
Dice also said that controversy “is not a mature way to sell a game. You still want to be proud at the end of the day.”
Remind you of anything?