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06-08-2011, 06:17 AM

Hands-on with Battlefield 3: new abilities, combat medics, and destruction


By Ben Kuchera | Published about 6 hours ago

There is a soldier in front of me, and he's running away from a volley of gunshots coming from behind a fence. We're fighting through Paris in the Rush game mode in Battlefield 3, and the way he runs is lifelike. For a moment I'm transfixed as I simply watch him try to avoid death. I'm not sure what happened next—it might have been a grenade—but an explosion rocked a window on the building above him, and large pieces of rubble fell down, barely missing him. It's a single moment of Battlefield 3 multiplayer, but it shows off why this game is so anticipated.

There has been many changes to the Battlefield formula, but so far I'm very happy with the results. Let's jump in.

A combat medic?

You can play as one of four classes in the game, although you can customize and change the loadout of each one. The assault class and medic have been melded into the assault medic class, able to throw health packs to wounded allies while fighting on the front lines. The engineer is still a powerful weapon against vehicles, but he can now also equip a flashlight on his gun, temporarily blinding enemy soldiers in dark environments. The sniper has been given the ability to hold his breath for a few moments to steady his aim. The class I played, however, was the light machine gunner.

The light machine gunner has a powerful weapon that lays down an impressive amount of fire in a short time, and with the bipod attachment you can rest the gun on any solid surface to improve your accuracy. This gives you the ability to create a temporary turret wherever there is a solid surface, and this also allows you to use suppressive fire more accurately. When you lay down supressive fire, anyone caught in it will have slightly blurred vision, making it harder to see and move. If one of your team mates kills an enemy that's suppressed, you gain experience points.

While I didn't have time to explore all these new abilities, suppressive fire was a powerful tool used to keep multiple targets in check, and can even control the movement of the enemy in a limited way. Of course, it also makes you a target for nearby snipers, using their new ability to hold their breath before sending your brains flying through the back of your head.

Each weapon will have three slots for you to add unlocked upgrades as you play, and even vehicles will be customized with extra guns or options. We'll likely learn more about these options later, but it's clear you'll have much control over your loadout, allowing you to adjust your equipment to the style of your play.

The flow of battle

It's hard to describe what it's like playing Battlefield 3 with the power the Frostbite 2 engine adds to the game. Structures can be taken down, explosions are more realistic, and the animations of the soldiers on both sides are uncanny. One significant advantage that DICE often talks about is the ability of the engine to render large outdoor battles as well as fighting in tight quarters.

Battlefield 3: Operation Metro

This became apparent as my team fought through its objectives, finding ourselves underground in a small tunnel. The enemy was waiting for us, and a bloody, close-quarters firefight broke out, spilling into a nearby subway. Cover was at a premium, grenades were used extensively, and finally we broke through to another large, outdoor arena. Levels can now have rhythm, with both large areas and tighter sections, and it changes the character of the game for the better. This is the place where the flashlights will be effective, blinding the enemy and keeping them at bay.

The game has exceeded my expectations in terms of presentation and mechanics; the battles are intense and almost scary in how much destruction can take place around you. There is much we don't know about the game, and we still have yet to see it on the consoles—at E3 I played the game on a tricked-out PC—but it feels great to get a taste of the multiplayer game and walk away so satisfied. The game is moving in the right direction, and offers enough updates and change to feel fresh.

This is what a modern war game should be, and this is how it should look. Also, this is where it should live: on the PC.

SOURCE (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2011/06/hands-on-with-battlefield-3-new-abilities-combat-medics-and-destruction.ars)

06-08-2011, 08:03 AM

Hands On: Battlefield 3

By John Walker on June 8th, 2011 at 12:00 pm.


When EA made claims that Battlefield 3 (http://www.battlefield.com/battlefield3/) may topple Modern Warfare 3 this Christmas they were certainly being optimistic. But there’s a fever building around BF3 that makes it seem a very likely contender for second place. And having got my hands on it, it’s not all talk. It’s big, fat war.

By now you’ve probably seen moving pictures of the Frostbyte 2 engine, and realised that this is some impressive stuff. Quite how impressive is hard to see until you’ve sat in front of it when frenetic battle isn’t happening. For me it was the shadows of clouds rolling over the tarmac in front of me. Perfect depictions, uncannily real. But apparently it’s not a game where standing still and staring at the ground is encouraged. In fact, someone was so offended that they even shot me dead!


We were playing Operation Metro, a ‘rush’ multiplayer match set in the heart of Paris, our given goal to make our way to the Eiffel Tower. Rush is one of three multiplayer modes they’ve announced so far, alongside Conquest and Team Deathmatch, about which they were very pleased to say they were including. And it was repeated that this would all be controlled through Battlelog, which will be free.

The Russians have taken control of the stock market exchange in Paris, and we’re tasked with shooting them all in their heads and reclaiming territory. They’ve got some anti-aircraft tech at the other end of the park, too, and we need to do something about that. By blowing it up.


The mission, and it really did feel like a team mission rather than a multiplayer zone, was divided into three sections. But they blend invisibly together. As we succeeded in completing given tasks, spawn points would advance forward, and the locations shifted in tone. From outside in the parks of Paris we were soon fighting in the subway, racing down train tracks and through carriages, before emerging into a tough firefight in the streets. Each of the three zones is big enough to host its own team deathmatch, we’re told, and yet the action is fast enough that the whole game is completed in under half an hour. It’s big, but you’re covering ground fast, whether on foot or in a handy tank, especially if you’re using your skills to the advantage of your four-man squad.

There’s four classes of soldier, with the emphasis always on soldier. The person playing the Assault class is also the medic, and can heal teammates. But they’re an essential weapon on the frontline, not someone mopping up at the back. Engineers can repair a vehicle that others can’t, but their ludicrously powerful rocket launcher is the real reason to play them. Support soldiers have a hefty machine gun, and can help out others by providing ammo. And the Recon, well, he provides intel oddly enough. But also does a lot of shooting.


Those skills can be applied sensibly. Say your tank breaks down, fizzing and popping at the side of the road, while your engineer is fixing it the others can use it as an impromptu gun platform to continue the battle. And DICE say there will be more unlocks and upgrades for the soldiers than in any Battlefield before. They’re calling the classes a “foundation to customise”, with equally customisable weapons.

Maybe a Support soldier will take advantage of the biped attachment for his weapon, letting him improve his accuracy from any stable location. He could provide suppressing fire, which even if it’s not hitting the enemy will still be recognised by the game. It will reduce the combat efficiency of the enemy, and the game will recognise that and reward you with recognition.


I was especially taken with some Brink-style leaping. Hitting the jump button while running toward an obstacle has you bound over it with fluid ease, meaning your fun isn’t interrupted. And it feels awesome-cool to do, too.

There’s lots of destruction, too. And not just where it’s prescribed. As perhaps we’ve come to expect after Bad Company 2, shit blows up wherever you hit it, meaning convenient enemy cover can be efficiently removed with some heavy weapons. And the weapons get heavy. There’s going to be a huge range of boats, tanks, helicopters, and with particular enthusiasm in their announcement from DICE, the return of jets.

The build we played was pre-alpha, yet felt remarkably stable. A lack of a kill cam meant things could often feel frustrating, but presumably that’s something that could be added later in development. They’ve announced the 25th October for the release, which with their MW3-competing plans isn’t a deadline they can miss. I have a sneaky suspicion this one is going to go big.

SOURCE (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/06/08/hands-on-battlefield-3/#more-61633)