Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Battlefield 3: Xbox 360 Beta Impression

Every year a military shooter comes out. Every year the market gets more and more over saturated with the samey shooters. Every year people complain about each one, or champion each one as the best of the year (or entire world/time). I only just started playing online shooters last year. Where I introduced myself to Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Halo: Reach, and Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Apparently it was the year of colons....

But seemingly enough, the only title I stayed with was Battlefield.

Now that isn't to any fault of Halo or CoDs. To be quite honest, both are fine games; it just so happens they cater to a different style than I like. Now, I'm not a fanboy by any means. Just because I love a franchise doesn't mean I wont dislike an entry in it (take Resident Evil 5 for example). There are some things about Bad Company 2 which drive me up the wall (getting stuck on small twigs or pebbles, hit registration with the knife, recons, UAVs).

But alas, this isn't Bad Company 2; this is a completely different beast, Battlefield 3.

The first thing I noticed when I booted up the game, was that is was a gorgeous day. The sky was blue, the clouds where puffy like little sky sheep. The trees, swaying in the breeze majestically. The grenade landing at my feet, and blowing me up. This game is gorgeous, which I'm playing console, so PC brethren have more to look forward to. With nary a hitch in frame rate (who cares if it's 30, it's still good looking and fun), this game is gorgeous. Especially given the nature of the game. Most military shooters are very drab, with muted colors and some such. This game seems to embrace the need for color. Sadly the fields of Metro are only the first 3rd of the map. The 2nd part, the subways is dark. Sometimes I felt too dark, but the game does give you flashlights, which I could see being a huge advantage. The catch to those is they give your position away. But you can use them to blind other players, and use that moment to take them by surprise.

The last 3rd, is a more urban area. Sadly thus far, I have rarely seen this part of the map. But what I have seen is rather amazing. It does have a drab look to in terms of being urban. But the bleached brightness gives it a much different mood. Almost starkly in contrast to the metro. and with buildings full of windows, you can be taken out from every where. It also hold the most opportunity for destruction 2.0, which looks amazing. I managed to chuck a grenade up into a snipers window, taking him out. It was satisfying, until I got shot in the head.

But really, looks are all for naught if the game is an unplayable mess. And luckily this game is very playable. In terms of approach it feels a lot like Bad Company 2, but with a ton more depth. With the additions of bipods, prone, some new gadgets and switching around roles; it feels very fleshed out. for instance a squad mate and I were making a move on an m-com station. I being a support class mounted my rifle on a concrete block while he pushed ahead. With my suppressive fire and his push we managed to not only take the m-com station, but hold off a good amount of people before being overtaken. The game never tells you how to use the bipod though. So protip, tap the left trigger.

Prone adds something I much wanted. Too many times did I duck behind cover in Bad Company 2, only to still get shot in the head. Prone gives you that extra cover, and solves a lot of issues. Of course it also adds another issue, bushes. You can go prone in the bushes and be impossible to see. In fact, me and an enemy soldier were prone right next to each other for a good few seconds taking out each others friends. Then when we realized what was up, it was almost like a cartoon, and chased each other around.

A major problem in Bad Company 2 was the recon class. With the kind of players who would hide in a bush, edge of the map, 12x scope. They not only never helped their team, but where a nuisance to everyone in a server. This game kind of rectifies that. With lens flare. If you stay scoped in for too long, your scope will reflect and key people off to your position. This works with all scopes actually, so it's not only snipers. This to me served more as a warning, get behind cover. But it helps, and once they are known, the snipers go down pretty fast. So it's a nice mechanic, and really helps balance out the game.

Another addition worth noting is fire selection. For most automatics, you can choose how you gun fires. Single, burst, full-auto. It's an incredibly nice addition (or re-addition, as I believe it was in BF2). I found it really helped with the long range game. Slap a 4x scope on an M16, turn on single shot, and you can actually suppress a sniper. In fact there is a little island, off in the river in the first set of m-coms, where a bunch of snipers took roost. I managed to pick off 2 with that before a 3rd got me. And the 3 round burst lets you have stability and stopping power, and full auto lets you have your Rambo dreams.

And lastly the knife. You can now swipe your knife twice to kill an enemy, or pull it out and run with it to execute and steal someones dog tags. The executions are extremely nice. However, the game never explains how to select your knife. Turns out you have to hold the knife button. Meaning you have to swipe, and then wait for your character is brandishing it, in order to use is to get dog tags. It was fairly annoying, as the game would think I held it a little to shortly, so my knife simply whiffed. Then I was turned on and killed. A separate button would have been nice, or perhaps double tap "y".

But that's not to say this game lacks problems. It is a beta after all, there will be glitches. The first I noticed was sprinting would suddenly stop, and refused to start up unless I came to a complete stop. It wasn't massive, but it was frequent and annoying. Another issue is going to cost lives I think. Sometimes after switching to a med kit/ammo pack and back to a rifle, the game would refuse to let me go into ADS. This rendered me incapable of even tackling enemies as medium range. The issue of getting stuck on tiny objects in the game world is still there, and is still annoying. Although it does seem to not be as bad. But, it's still there.

 A couple more glitches; sometimes going prone, you will seemingly go below the ground; you kill an enemy, he instantly vanishes. Sometimes a loading screen will never finish loading, yet the game hasn't crashed. These are all problems to expect, it is a beta. But hopefully they can get ironed out. Because as it stands, this is a game shaping up to be well worth your time. And as I play more, and the beta closes, I'll write a follow up to this, just you out there can see how my thoughts have changed after a couple weeks.

Would you like to know what it would be like to fuse a bipod to Humor Tumor? Now you can, for the low price of $29.99

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  1. So left trigger aims, right trigger shoots? Got it.

  2. yes. All the rest is done by hand maidens*

    *hand maidens not included, retail value at 499.99 USD

  3. ugh, what a fanboy! seriously though, very well-written, can't wait to play, myself!

  4. i only got half a round in last night but i can't wait to play more!