Battlefield 3 screenshot
Battlefield 3 screenshot

The Frostbite 2.0 engine is the feather in DICE's cap, and the Swedish developer tends to wheel out some videos of its raw potential before allowing journalists a chance to see Battlefield 3 in action. It really is a sight to behold: when running on a PC, that's admittedly more expensive than my house, Battlefield 3's take on contemporary warfare is simply unmatched.

As for the Xbox 360 and PS3 version, well, we're only allowed to see that via the YouTube footage of a US talk show.

After numerous presentations of the single-player campaign, clearly going for a considered Generation Kill vibe rather than the bombast of a Michael Bay movie, DICE has finally allowed the world at large to sample the multiplayer offering, albeit with 24 players as opposed to the PC's maximum of 64.

The map - Operation Metro - takes place in downtown Paris. In the single-player campaign this is relevant because the city has been invaded by Russia, but in multiplayer you don't need to worry yourself with messy contemporary politics - all that matters is that there are loads of M-COM stations scattered around each map, and you alternate between really wanting to blow them up and really not wanting them to get blown up.

It's a return of the popular Rush gametype, a mode originally birthed in Battlefield's offshoot Bad Company series. After playing Battlefield 3 it's clear that, while this is definitely not a sequel to Bad Company 2, DICE has rolled many of Bad Company's better features back into the main series.

The other two modes confirmed to be included are Conquest and Team Deathmatch - the latter added in because DICE is well aware it's the most popular multiplayer mode on the planet, and also because it gives you a stomping ground where you can temporarily forget about objectives.

Battlefield 3 screenshot

Operation Metro unfolds over four key areas in Rush, opening in a sun-kissed park before progressing into the darkness of the underground, before pushing back outdoors for one final, frantic confrontation. The series' focus on destructible environments is back and more noticeable than ever, and in one instance an explosive dislodged enough scenery to kill a pair of teammates in the wrong place at the wrong time.

DICE's map designers really are some of the best in the business, and twenty minutes with Operation Metro funnels you seamlessly through every design staple of modern map design. The pace is pitch-perfect, and the repeated push for M-Com stations is fraught and tense when playing with equally matched teams.

Engineers get their own flashlight, which is powerful enough to blind other players when close, and Medics - who, in the world of Battlefield, are basically superhuman killing machines - have now been combined with the Assault class to ensure everyone on the frontline has more than a fighting chance.

Scouts, on the other hand, now have the extra burden of having to breathe in before squeezing off deadly accurate rounds. It's a change for the better, encouraging the use of the entire range of classes while still rewarding those who invest due diligence in perfecting the art of faraway attacks.

Finally there's the returning Support class, absent from the Bad Company games, which come with their own stability-enhancing bipod attachments that can be deployed on any surface. Battlefield 3 also includes the ability to suppress enemies, so now peppering bullets around enemies might be almost as important as actually hitting them.

But where are the vehicles? An armoured APC is the only toy available on Operation Metro, and while it comes with its own customisable loadouts and a machine gun powerful enough to turn most enemies into a red spray, it would have been great to see a tank, helicopter or jet. This isn't really a cause for concern, however, as there are plenty of maps still to be announced and it's entirely likely Operation Metro is skewed towards frantic infantry engagements.

You can't get very far into a conversation about Battlefield 3 without somebody mentioning the rivalry with fellow shooter heavyweight Modern Warfare 3, and I'm certainly not helping by bringing it up here. But they're very different games, and Battlefield itself looks set to be very different from its own iconic ancestry. DICE's third effort, at least from a 24-player session on Operation Metro, looks like it's attempting to straddle the middle-ground between Call of Duty's frenzied chaos and Battlefield 2's focus on wide-reaching teamwork.

Battlefield 3 will be released for PC, Xbox 360, and PC on October 28.

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11 Comments

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clangod's Avatar

clangod

Still the most anticipated release on my radar.

Settling for console isn't that much of an issue for me. It'll at least be better than BC2 and that's still a great looking game.

Maybe a new DS3 and head set as well...
Posted 12:11 on 24 June 2011
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker

Great preview Martin! Looking forward to this quite a bit :)
Posted 21:56 on 23 June 2011
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

360 for me as my gaming rig has bee packed away for over a year, and it was out of date then too. I know it's not going to look the same but battlefield is about the the play more than the look.

I'd buy any new BF game regardless of looks
Posted 17:23 on 23 June 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

360 for me. It's my only console ;) I agree with the fact it looks fantastic on PC... but that doesn't mean its going to look fantastic on YOUR PC. The machines they are using to show it on must be so high end.
Posted 17:01 on 23 June 2011
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio

Which format are people gonna get this on? I totally appreciate people's high expectations as it does look wonderful everywhere I've seen it - and I mean the game itself not just the graphics. However, I'm still going to hang on until I see more console action before I decide to make a purchase. As mentioned below, I too hope it'll really be a break from the CoD mould.
Posted 17:00 on 23 June 2011
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

just sounds and looks absolutely amazing. been playing bfbd2 every day nearly so i cant wait to sink my teeth into the multiplayer on this
Posted 12:05 on 23 June 2011
draytone's Avatar

draytone

Can't wait. This looks amazing.
Posted 11:57 on 23 June 2011
Chaza_snake's Avatar

Chaza_snake

Destruction is amazing in battlefield and can not wait to get back into an fps that can create a more realistic feel of an accurly battlefield
Posted 10:28 on 23 June 2011
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga

I just had a little accident in my underpants.

I am still playing BC2, and will only really stop playing it when Bf3 comes out.
Posted 10:22 on 23 June 2011
EverTheOptimist's Avatar

EverTheOptimist

I really hope BF3 is as much as a refreshing break from COD as it sounds. This is the only day one purchase I've got on my horizon at the moment.
Posted 10:03 on 23 June 2011
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

I say it over and over again, so I'll say it now this the game I am most looking forward to and the one pre-order I wont cancel.
I hope the new destruction leads to more "Battlefield Moments", that's what makes BF to me them moments when you just look at the screen going "what just happened", or "***** me that was awesome!"
Posted 09:35 on 23 June 2011

Game Stats

Release Date: 28/10/2011
Developer: D.I.C.E
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 817 19
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