Past, present and future
The Battlefield series has been going strong since it appeared on our PC’s back in 2002 with the widely popular Battlefield 1942. The franchise has since become respected for boasting humongous maps, multiple soldier classes and exciting vehicular combat. Players have battled across time and space; from the jungles of Vietnam in Battlefield: Vietnam, to the wars of the future in Battlefield 2142.
The most notable entry in the series is Battlefield 2 for the PC that featured 64 player maps located all around the globe. Battlefield 2 introduced online stat tracking and the idea that certain weapons and equipment were only available after earning enough experience. Online matches consisted of two opposing forces fighting to control various strategic positions in the region, ranging from fuel depots and airfields to Chinese temples and shantytowns. The vehicular combat was especially varied and challenging; controlling a Blackhawk helicopter took practise and patience. Likewise, flying a Mach speed bomber was a difficult endeavour, but allowed you to cross the gigantic maps in seconds flat, dropping payloads of explosives onto incoming enemy armour as you did it.
After experimenting with the Bad Company spin-off series that came complete with a storyline and entirely destructible environments, DICE have combined everything they have learned into their latest effort. With such a pedigree of award-winning titles, the bar has been set pretty high for Battlefield 3. But DICE have promised a return to the pure action, no-nonsense gameplay fans know and love. The developers have confidently labelled Battlefield 3 “game of the year” already, and taking into account what they have produced before and what we've seen of the game so far, I’m inclined to agree with them.
Third time’s a charm
Battlefield 3 is being brought to us on the brand new Frostbite 2.0 engine. This innovation from DICE has been tailored with features such as “morphological anti-aliasing” and “tile-based deferred shading acceleration” that will probably go over your head, but rest assured, it is going to be damn impressive. One addition that gets me thinking is the new Destruction 3.0 feature. Bad Company’s Destruction 1.0 allowed players to bring down a wall should it be in their way, Destruction 2.0 in Bad Company 2 enabled players to do the same to an entire building. So how DICE have managed to top that with Destruction 3.0 is certainly going to be something to behold!
Of course the other substantial addition to this iteration of the classic series, is the single player campaign. Whilst specifics have yet to be announced it has been said that much like the Bad Company games, players will experience a campaign to link skirmishes together. Another unconfirmed detail that is more than likely to appear is a cooperative campaign mode; something I felt was missing from Battlefield 2: Modern Combat and the Bad Company games that introduced the formal storyline. The closest we have seen so far is Bad Company 2's Onslaught mode that came close to delivering a substantial cooperative experience, but the fights were repetitive and lacked any background to give them depth.