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Battlefield 3 E3 2011 Multiplayer Hands-On Preview

Battlefield 3

It's clear from the outset that Battlefield 3 is very similar in a number of ways to it's predecessor, Battlefield Bad Company 2. The HUD icons are familar and so are the squad mechanics. The focus is very much on environment destruction and immersive urban fighting, both of which Battlefield 3 appears to do very well. The visuals and audio enjoy slight but effective improvements but this all neatly combines with the actual gameplay to create one of the most immersive battle sequences we have experienced to date.

Battlefield 3

Our multiplayer co-op mission using the 'Rush' mode was to arm and destroy a number of M-COM stations over several advancing areas. We got to team up with about a dozen journalists (attackers) to battle it out against the QA testers (defenders). Initially taking the new Support class we started in an open city park area. It wasn't long before gunfire began to unravel and it become apparent that this was going to be an assault on an impressive scale. We moved forward towards the first objective, taking cover behind whatever we could, be it stone walls, fences or indeed bushes, laying down suppressing fire along the way so our team-mates could move up the line. This type of progress, combined with the crackle of gunfire and bullets whizzing overhead, ignited the visual and aural senses to create an authentic and gritty gunfight.

Battlefield 3

A LAV25, an armed APC and one of the many customisable vehicles in the game, then rushed towards the front line. We took this chance to hop in and spray machine gun fire from the flanks of the vehicle. This action, coupled with the large pounding the main gun-turret was dishing out, rewarded us with an enemy RPG round which left the APC crippled. We were forced to quickly evacuate and hide (read: cower) behind a fallen tree. We soon built up the courage to poke our heads above the cover and start laying down fire on the enemy again using our bi-pod mounted heavy machine gun. Once the first charges were set we moved forward to help prevent them from being disarmed. This effectively reverses the role of the teams and gave us the chance to defend. We lobbed some grenades towards the enemy with unsettling effect but in doing so we got caught in a hail of fire in both the chest and face.

Battlefield 3

We respawned as the Assault class which now utilises close range and precision weapons but with the added benefits of having the old healing and reviving medic class rolled into one. We rejoined the action just in time to move from the open setting into an underground close-quarters subway which showed off the improved interiors. Suddenly the gameplay felt more like a S.W.A.T. game, especially with the addition of gun mountable flashlights. We carefully navigated the narrow corridors and as a team we pushed the enemy back and destroyed the second M-COM station.

Battlefield 3

Now moving out of the dark confines of the subway and out onto the urban streets our team immediately started taking positions in the surrounding area and buildings. The Recon class can now hold their breath to aid accuracy and reduce the unrealistic tactic of 'quick scoping'. These snipers took the upper floors of the buildings, but in doing so would become vulnerable to RPG fire from the Engineer class. The new Frostbite 2 engine promises improved destructibility of walls, cover and even whole buildings, although sadly we did not get to witness this in our playthrough.

Battlefield 3

Back to the action and we decided it was time to shock the enemy by running ahead and then behind their front line. We took them by surprise and managed to melee kill one and shoot another in the back before sensibly making a tactical withdraw to the relative safety of our own front line. Our team managed to set the remaining charges and to destroy the remaining objectives, thus winning the mission.

Battlefield 3

Our overall experience was an engaging and immersive one. Despite the fact that our team was a group of strangers with no easy way to communicate, the four-man squad system aids teamwork and the potential is there for well conceived team moves. One worry is that most of the team went for the Assault class since this boasts good weapons and the medic abilities which could prove too powerful a combination. The game is currently shaping up to be similar in gameplay and style to Bad Company 2, however the refinements and new locations will no doubt add to what is proving to be an exciting proposition. Expect to join the battle on PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 on October 25th.

POBmaestro | 8th June, 2011
Wedgeh's picture
Awesome preview Pob, this sounds like it will be ******* awesome
Angelfromabove's picture
Epic preview Pob
I bet theres a lot of jealous people around right now that youve gotten to have a go at this!

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