E3 2011: Battlefield 3 Hands-On, Pants-Wet

E3 2011: Battlefield 3 Hands-On, Pants-Wet

Battlefield 3 is EA and DICE’s newest foray into the Battlefield series, and is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated titles of the fall. Just from watching all the preview footage that’s been uncovered this week, it’s no surprise, as it looks poised to become the best looking game of the year graphically.

Does it succeed on the gameplay side of things though? After getting a chance to play a multplayer map at E3, for the first time in a while I can say I’m looking forward to a military shooter.

Before unleashing us on the glorious downtown Paris map, we were given a short talk on some of the many changes that’d be implemented in Battlefield 3. Beyond the gorgeous new animations and destructive environments, DICE was hard at work making new gameplay changes as well. The two most notable ones look to be the absence of a medic class, and the addition of suppressive fire.

To say there doesn’t exist a medic class is misleading; what DICE has actually done is have the Assault class absorb the abilities of the Medics. This was essentially done to create a fully efficient soldier that was on the front lines to attack his enemies as well as heal his comrades.

So what about the trusty LMG that most Medics learn to trust in? Enter the new Support class. This class is all about laying down fire with the machine guns and also providing ammo to anyone that needs it. With the Support also comes the new suppressive fire feature. Essentially, as a Support soldier lays down fire, the members of the opposition close to the shots will experience some motion blur and some warping of their screen. It’s a simple yet brilliant way to increase teamwork in the multiplayer.

After explaining these new features, we were finally ready to play. The map was downtown Paris; the mode was Rush. if you haven’t played a Battlefield game before, it’s essentially a huge map comprised of multiple control point quadrants. You start off capturing or defending two control points, and if they’re captured, another area of the map opens up and two new points can be accessed.

It’s a signature Battlefield mode, but the map of downtown Paris was more expansive than we’ve ever seen in a Battlefield game before. We started off on the stunning Paris city streets, and ended up finishing the mission in the narrow dimly lit corridors of the Paris subway.

The sprawling map is consistently awe-inspiring, thanks to the amazing lighting, phenomenal sound design, and unrivaled destructability of the map. Those scenes in the trailer footage of launching an RPG at a building and it crumbling realistically? Yep, you can do that, and even though we’ve seen destructible environments before, it’s somehow considerably more improved and polished since Bad Company 2.

At this point, Battlefield 3 really is looking poised to take over Modern Warfare 3 as the shooter to get this fall. Truthfully, it’s still just another military shooter to me, but it takes a lot for me to be excited by FPS’s, and DICE managed to do that in spades. October 25 can’t come soon enough.