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Published on July 21st, 2011 | by Cameron Woolsey

Battlefield 3 Hands-On Multiplayer Impressions

Developer: DICE
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Release: October 25, 2011

Without question, the Battlefield 3 hype machine has been roaring since EA walked into E3 last month and unleashed a gameplay trailer that rocked the faces off everyone in a three-block radius. As a fan of the franchise, you can bet that I was feeling pumped as I sat down to try my hand at the multiplayer demo.

Before I could start, I was introduced to the new classes in the game. Battlefield 3 brings the total number of classes from seven to four. In order to accomplish this, the DICE team mixed certain abilities among the classes.

The new classes (from the BF3 Blog):

Assault

The Assault class carries a primary weapon consisting of an assault rifle — like the M4 and AK-47 — and is now merged with the medic class — the Assault class can now heal and revive teammates. It can also function as a more offensive class with ability to swap out the revive kit for a grenade launcher.

Support

The Support class packs a Light Machine Gun (like an M249 SAW), and has the ability to resupply ammunition to teammates. Furthermore, the Support class can also use lighter weapons, like an M4, with several attachments, including a powerful flashlight which has the ability to blind enemies in dark places.

Engineer

The Engineer’s primary role is to engage tanks and armored vehicles with an array of rocket launchers such as the RPG-7 and the AT4. The primary weapon is a carbine rifle, with a variety of unlocks available, ranging from shotguns to sub machine guns.

Recon

The Recon class carries a sniper rifle for long range engagement, and has the ability to call in artillery strikes (unlock). Furthermore, the Recon can equip unlocks like C4 explosives to blow up enemy vehicles or map objectives.

Now, I can already hear a complaint about the classes. There are undoubtedly some hardcore Medic players out there unwilling to be a general front man and believe me, being a medic player myself, I understand. However, by cleverly putting experience points into certain categories, you can upgrade your medic abilities allowing you to lean more toward that ability, or vice versa if you’re a fan of assault.

Every class now has the ability to go prone to improve accuracy and limit the amount of easily-wounded flesh your enemy sees. No doubt some Sniper players are wringing their hands with joy but hold on now, your instant 50-kill spree won’t come that easy. To counter this, Snipers who go prone will display a flash on their scopes to the opposing players. So skill is still needed in order to pop some domes.

Support players using an LMG can now use a bi-pod for greater accuracy and damage bonus. They can also lay down suppressing fire which will cause the enemy’s screen to get blurry and decrease his/her accuracy. Laying down suppressing fire will also grant an experience bonus for your team.

One last little skill I heard about was the ability to blind opponents using the Engineer’s flashlight. No doubt there are even more abilities that are not completely known yet that are all working to make the BF3 multiplayer the best the series has to offer.

Now onto the demonstration.

The battle plans for Operation Metro.

The game mode I played was called Rush, which was first introduced in the Bad Company series. My goal as the attacker was to neutralize anti-aircraft weapons held by enemy forces. Maps in Rush are far smaller which means players will get into firefights much faster. The rules of the game is pretty simple. The opposing team must reach a target, plant a bomb and defend it while the countdown winds down. There are two targets in each section and three sections total. The map I played on was called Operation Metro. It consists of a park, a damaged subway station and finally onto a street with a building perfect for snipers.

Though the game is still in pre-alpha, I couldn’t help but notice how damn pretty the game looked. Colors are bright and clean, the textures are sharp plus some fine lighting/shadowing. It doesn’t look as good as the jaw-dropping single-player, but I feel that it could easily match or even surpass the already too pretty Crysis 2.

It took some time for me to get used to the controls. But I blame most of that on the fact that I played a build on the PS3, which has controllers that are like kryptonite to first-person shooters. But once I did I was able to storm groups of enemies, squeezing off a few rounds here and there and taking down enemies when I could. The shooting feels good but takes a steady hand which will be earned through practice. My gun also had the option for three-round burst and single shot for the sake of improving accuracy.

A few options make the gameplay of Battlefield 3 feel much smoother and more natural. One of my favorite abilities was sliding into cover after hitting the crouch button while sprinting. Also vaulting over small obstacles while sprinting was easy and barely slowed down my progress across the map.

I was playing the Assault class for the sake of versatility. I wasn’t able to use my medic abilities much since most allies I saw get taken down were under heavy gunfire and I just love myself far too much to risk being shot. I’m a bad medic. There was one point, however, after my team cleared the first area. A large bomb crater at the end of the park dropped down into a subway tunnel below. Before I made my way into the tunnel, one ally decided to show off with a flying pike followed by a swan dive into the craggy rock below. After I snickered at him for a second (I gave him a 6.0 just for the lulz), I brought my clumsy diving friend back to life with the paddles before jumping into the fray.

Final Truth:

Like I told a friend I made during the event, I have yet to be disappointed with a Battlefield game. While my journalist status requires some skepticism, I felt good about what I played. Fans of the series and gamers looking forward to Battlefield 3 shouldn’t be disappointed when the third entry hits. My only thought after leaving my station was that I only wanted to jump in and play again. Rush mode looks to be really fun, and the two other modes, Conquest and Team Deathmatch, will no doubt take up a lot of my precious time when the game ships to retail stores this October.

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About the Author

Video game journalist since 2006, and gaming since he was old enough to use an Atari joystick. Follow me: @Cam_is_16bit



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