The war of war games has sparked a storm of dispute like no other, and the Battlefield series in particular has drawn a great deal of attention to its most recent offering, Battlefield 3. Thanks to publisher Electronic Arts I recently had the chance to get some hands-on playtime with the game on the PS3.
It was difficult to approach this without exposure to some of the hype for myself. Enthusiastic harbingers claim that the title marks the next milestone for the First Person Shooter genre, something that has undoubtedly drawn fire from fans of another strong contender in the genre that I will steer clear of naming (hint: It rhymes with Ball of Booty).
Hype aside, Battlefield 3 certainly bears the markings of a polished title. My dive into the first mission was straight into the heart of a warzone with all the gunfire and explosions included. The lighting effects and environments really do leave an impression, especially since the mission was taking place under the cover of night. I expect that the PC version would look spectacular with everything cranked up, provided your rig is able to handle it.
The mission was a standard run and gun affair backed by the usual squad of AI-controlled soldiers and punctuated at intervals with the return of the first-person cut scene, a feature in FPS games of late that does not look to be losing its popularity anytime soon. I bemusedly watched on as my character was pushed onto the floor by an enemy who had suddenly burst through the door. Of course, the offending party was dispatched quickly via some skillful shooting from my character, all played in stylish slow-motion as part of the cinematic.
The action was entertaining and fast paced without being over the top. However, there were a lot of moments where I felt that my squad was doing a lot more work in dispatching enemies than I was. I would simply be looting the bodies of fallen enemies and pondering whether to swap out my scoped rifle for another SMG only to find my comrades had already moved ahead and dealt with the next patch of enemies. This, coupled with my awkward affinity for friendly fire (it was dark!), led me to conclude that I would probably make a poor teammate on Battlefield 3.
Based on the sample of content, I was rather impressed with the environment and visuals Battlefield 3 had to offer. I expect that the final game will have a variety of missions to deviate from the usual search and destroy.