PAX 2011: Battlefield 3 Preview

In: Articles by Chris "FighterAce100" Salazar

26 Aug 2011

For those of us who have played the Battlefield franchise over the years, we have certain expectations of each new game that is released. Ever since Battlefield 1941 I’ve craved to play online with friends and huge groups of people. I even went so far as to create a LAN party with ethernet cables running outside barracks rooms and under doors so everyone in my dorm could play, even without a “real” internet connection. Coming to PAX this year, my expectations were exceptionally high for Battlefield 3. Little did I know of the experience I was about to have.

I’m standing outside a convoy of Humvees, with a silenced pistol out and a M4 assault rifle slung on my back. I soon realize that this is not the big multiplayer battle I was hoping for but the new co-op missions DICE has added to the game. I find my squadmate, and we marvel at the level of detail; you can see an individual go through all the fluid motions of reloading, switching weapons, looking around while aiming from the hip or through a sight, and knifing. After the initial “oohs” and “ahhs,” we  start the mission. I end up being team lead while my squad mate plays the “support” role. He’s carrying a M247 machine gun and a silenced pistol. We have to infiltrate a building, find a person of interest, and extract him to the convoy outside. Opening doors is something new to Battlefield, and it’s very stressful because you don’t know who or what may be waiting on the other side. The door-opening animations are very realistic; my character moves to the right, raising his weapon as the door swings open, and my squad mate moves in to the left. Your weapon is lowered initially, so you can’t just open a door and start shooting everything right away.

Enemy soldiers are inside, unaware of our presence. This is where you decide as a team what happens next. You can kill them stealthily or go in unsuppressed and guns blazing. In Battlefield Bad Company 2, enemies could be targeted by using the back button to “highlight” targets. This system has now been improved by putting target numbers above enemies so you can coordinate who shoots which specific soldier — “I take target one, you take target two,” and so on — which is critical in our current situation. Unfortunately my squadmate missed his target, sounding an alarm and forcing us to do things the hard way.

Looking down the scope of my M4 I turned on the IR vision, which is a cross between night vision and heat sensing, allowing for easy red-dot headshots and kills. We quickly worked our way up a staircase, eliminating threats as we climbed. Then the opportunity arrived for the extremely satisfying knife kill: Sneaking up from behind, I grabbed an enemy, covered his mouth, and in a swift motion cut my combat blade through his throat and slowly lowered him to the ground. The animation is brutal and fluid. We reach the person we’re supposed to extract and continue the mission on street level.

Again, the level of detail in the environment in awe-inspiring. Pieces of paper float through the air, a random trash can tips over, people yell somewhere a few blocks away, towels flap in the wind on balconies as they dry. I knew instantly this was not a good place to be; too many open windows, balconies and rubble. Ambush! The sound of “poof, thump” and an RPG comes whooshing through the air toward me.

I instantly go prone — a new addition to the game — as it blows up the wall in front of me sending rubble everywhere. I look around, trying to find the shooter, only to be suppressed by intense gunfire. My squadmate opens up, and expended bullet cases litter the ground near my face. DICE has added a new suppressing fire feature; if you’re under constant gunfire you can’t aim or move as quickly as usual. I go through all of my 125 bullets in a minute and switch to my handgun, and toss a grenade up onto a balcony. Instantly the balcony plaster shatters, dust and debris fly everywhere, and a soldier is blown off the third floor into the street, his gun flailing away from his lifeless body. The convoy of humvees then opens up with their 50 cal. turrets and in a matter of seconds, anyone who was left is dead. Mission complete.

After looking at the stats and talking to the guy next to me (who played damn well with only a machine gun to work with) I found myself in shock at how real the experience seemed. No more are games held back by political rhetoric for naming real-world places and enemies. I was in Iraq, and you will be too, soon.

Welcome to the battlefield.

Battlefield 3
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: DICE
Release: October 25, 2011

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1 Response to PAX 2011: Battlefield 3 Preview

Avatar

Troy McMurphy

August 26th, 2011 at 12:20 pm

That sounds awesome! Super excited for it

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