by Samuel Curd
previewed on PC
Take to an online Battlefield
Now to the real heart of the matter: what will the online fighting be like? In a word, stunning. Announced so far are maps set in Paris, Tehran and New York; the inclusion of real-world cities will definitely add some real weight to the conflict. It is all well and good fighting over outposts in a fictional desert, but battling in a recognizable place will be much more involving for the player. Not to mention that every gamer worth their salt will want to strap a tonne of C4 to the base of the Eiffel tower and bring that sucker down.
Weapons and locations from Battlefield 2 will make a very welcome reappearance. I am particularly glad about this as ‘Strike at Karkand’ was my favourite map and the British made L85A1 has got to be my all time favourite weapon. The ability to go prone also returns after being excluded from the Bad Company games due to many people abusing their ability to 'disappear' in earlier titles in the series. As I was always one to focus on the objective, I am not sure if I am too keen on this as I am expecting to be driven crazy by those annoying snipers once again! One feature that really caught my eye is the new ability to drag fallen comrades out of harm's way before tending to their wounds. This may suggest that healing a wounded soldier will take longer this time around than in previous titles. There is something very heroic about dragging a comrade across a road with bullets zipping overhead. No doubt this will be a feature that players will get a kick out of when they experience it first-hand.
Completely fresh to this entry in the series is the ability to mount your weapon just about anywhere. Previous games had you lugging around humongous machine guns and .50 calibre rifles that in real life would weigh a tonne. Now players can steady their aim and reduce recoil by resting their weapon on almost any part of the environment. This kind of addition should encourage players to plan ahead and find a good firing position, rather than simply sprinting into enemy territory and forfeiting a stable firing platform.
When it comes to vehicular combat, fans of the series will be most excited to hear the return of the familiar “boom” of fighter jets as they break the sound barrier. Other vehicles haven't been specifically named but it is safe to assume helicopters (both attack and transport), tanks, jeeps and armoured personnel carriers will be part of the convoy. There may even be some light transport in the form of all-terrain vehicles that allow fast insertion of troops via paths less travelled.
Perhaps most importantly, Battlefield 3 looks jaw-droppingly amazing. The graphics are quite literally like nothing you have ever seen before. Who knows how much time will be spent simply sightseeing with such impressive dynamic lighting and realistic animations on display. DICE aims to make the most of current-gen hardware whilst assuring stability and high frame rates. It is a big promise to make, and one that leaves me wondering how much of a gap there will be between the console and PC versions in terms of draw distances and texture quality. After all, DICE have stated that Battlefield 3 will be developed primarily for PCs; a phrase that is rarely heard nowadays.
There does not seem to be a single aspect about Battlefield 3 that is not screaming quality. Gamers worldwide have high hopes for Battlefield 3, especially as the developers are stating that they have made the game of the year. We will have to wait and see when it is released this fall. But with DICE's fantastic track record for consistently creating award-winning titles, paired with their reputation for supporting games post-release with oodles of added content, I don't think anyone is arguing with them too much.