Battlefield 3 Preview

THE TIME HAS COME! As gamers and developers worldwide continue to debate which is going to be the best first person shooter of 2011, we here at Ready Up have gotten our first hands-on preview of one of the competitors for the title. In order for a fair fight two of us were deployed to the event: myself, the cynic who stands by the Call of Duty series, and Michael ‘Chucklebuck’ Slevin, who shall be representing the Battlefield loyal. We got our hands on some full-on multiplayer, the campaign AND a single co-op mission to boot. Let’s get on with it and delve into my immediate thoughts, shall we?

As already mentioned, I was going into this as the person who needed to be swayed. I like Battlefield, I think it’s a thoroughly well built franchise, but I would never choose it over my beloved Call of Duty. So DICE had a task ahead of them as I strolled through the door with a Red Bull in hand. They had done an excellent job with the ‘Caspian Border‘ trailer, because I was hankering for a chance in a jet. That moment where the pilot screams: “ENEMY LOCK! ENEMY LOCK!” gives me goosebumps every time and I wanted to experience that moment for myself. As I was so excited for this moment I’ll skip the first 15 minutes I spent in regular multiplayer games doing regular multiplayer kills using regular multiplayer weapons. If you download the free BETA you can experience that yourselves, you don’t need me here for that. The jets, though, I wanted in one of those jets! Sadly I did not experience that moment of letting a missile tear across the sky in a beautiful stream of death and glory because after finally getting my hands on a jet I realised it was impossible to hit anything, anywhere, that wasn’t a huge, expansive patch of foliage on the ground below me.

This static image is more of a tutorial than I got!

I was heartbroken. The biggest draw I had to Battlefield 3, and its multiplayer in particular, was the blend of different battles it offered within its multiplayer modes. Sure, Call of Duty has had vehicles before but even I confess they’ve never really been implemented well in the series. This lead me to believe, what with all the trailers, that the vehicles in Battlefield 3 would totally revitalise the idea and show the kind of manic, insane, brilliant multiplayer games which could be accomplished with them. I swear, I spent over 25 minutes trying to pilot this jet. I didn’t shoot anyone, I didn’t achieve anything, I only just barely was able to stay over or around the battlefield because the controls drove me crazy. The same goes for any machine available in the game that wasn’t a bog standard Jeep or tank. Maybe I’m a ‘n00b’, I’ll throw my hands up if this is so, but I play first person shooters and I play flight combat games and these vehicles were the worst I’ve ever attempted to control. I wasn’t alone either. I would say at least three other members of my team were using the jets as a fast travel system and simply bailed out of their out of control jet whenever they were lucky enough to navigate their crash over a capture point.

The rest of the multiplayer, while admittedly the most amazing first person shooter graphically I’ve ever seen, didn’t feel special to me. The maps were huge, and I mean HUGE, but the terrain was always the same dull destroyed buildings or big open fields. This just meant that after the first 30 or so minutes of gasping in awe at the tremendous expanse of field sprinkled with burning jet remains that I just had to run further after I got sniped for the 1,805,915th time by the same sniper who I can’t locate because showing me him lying down on a green patch of grass after he’s shot me IS NOT THE SAME AS A KILLCAM!

That looks a tad precarious…

Ahem. Anyway, enough multiplayer rage, let’s drill down to the campaign. It was painfully mundane. I don’t mean to be too blunt, but Battlefield should do better than this. It’s long, linear paths with far distant checkpoints and respawning enemies. I can never, and will never, forgive respawning enemies in current generation AAA first person shooters. Modern Warfare 3 I swear I will call you out on this bullshit as well! Stop it. At one point I was defending a bridge shooting the same white t-shirted, black trousered, blue sunglasses wearing guy over and over and over (etc…) as he died and walked back around the corner immediately. Not even a loading delay, and I did this for about 40 seconds straight before I was told to move on. I even reloaded a checkpoint and took cover behind a wall and waited. 40 seconds later I got told my objective was completed. SUPER! I all but expected an achievement.

The issue with the campaign (or at least the first chapters which I played) was that it felt as if they were trying to get too much of a Call of Duty theme. There was little tension, just grand explosions hoping to shock and awe more than anything. Call of Duty can only just barely get away with it, but at one point a skyscraper building was falling on my character (!) and he raised his hand up to try and stop it. I know, I know, it’s what you’d do in real life but it just felt so forced in hopes of drawing excitement, terror or emotion that it just seemed like the fat kid at the back of the class eating worms hoping to garner some form of attention. Maybe the campaign got better and the first few levels were just a setup to what was to be an epic tale that would span generations for centuries to come. A harrowing plot which would twist and turn like a rollercoaster in Hell made of knifes which stabbed and cut at the very fabric of your mental being until you were left crying in the fetal position weeping for mummy while praying to God all at the same time… frankly, though, I don’t know. The game crashed on me and I had to start again and I never made it past the skyscraper pancaking me due to time restraints. The graphics were stunning, though, truly incredible to behold.

I’m pretty sure this is how Scientology started.

Okay, let’s super quickly cover the co-op mission (just the one) we were allowed to play. My first impression? DEATH. Death everywhere. The average survival time of the mission on our first 10 attempts couldn’t have been longer than 30 seconds. This was on normal as well! The difficulty curve was more broken than Duke Nukem Forever’s loading times. Eventually, though, we memorised the entry pattern of the enemies and made it through a decent chunk of the mission. A good 15-20 minutes in we could sense we were at the end, but no! Chuckles was down. I valiantly dashed to revive him but there was a cheap cowardly AI with a shotgun who tore me apart. Menu screen. Wait, MENU SCREEN?! No checkpoints? No save points? NOTHING?! It didn’t even dump us back into the mission’s menu, we had to go all the way back in from the Main Menu. The entire mission objective was just to survive until the end. At least, I think that was the objective. At one point we made it to a door which the game told us to hit B to open and it didn’t open. We shot every bullet at it until we were told by one of the developers that they couldn’t tell if the game had glitched or if that was the end. As we were 30 minutes into the mission and we couldn’t reload a checkpoint that didn’t exist we called it there.

Now, I may have seemed like a rather rant filled Call of Duty fanboy (come at me, bro) but I went in hoping to be turned to the Battlefield side and felt burned that it didn’t happen. Luckily, I had Michael alongside me the whole time who can now give you his experience in 700 words or less and is required by law to refer to me as ‘Dunk’ because that used to be my name on our (absolutely-excellent-which-you-should-totally-join) forum before I had to be all professional and stuff:

Michael ‘Chuckles’ Slevin.

“So I sat down in front of one of the 360s set up for multiplayer and jumped into my first match. I didn’t start well. I couldn’t hit shit due to the recoil. Every time I fired, my gun would go flying wildly around the screen. I know Battlefield is meant to be more realistic, but this was silly. In fact, I was having major problems hitting targets. Precision aiming was impossible as the right-stick was so sensitive. As a result, I watched my K/D ratio decrease ever more and a wave of disappointment overcame me: I just wasn’t finding Battlefield 3’s multiplayer fun.

I was determined to give it another chance, though, so I steeled myself as the next map loaded. It was then a brainwave hit me: I should be able to change the sensitivity, shouldn’t I? After lowering it (quite a degree), I became much more adept and back to my usual Battlefield ways. I was mowing down other players left right and centre. Since this was a more compact urban environment compared to the previous map, I opted for a sweet-looking shotgun to cut off any enemies patrolling the cramped alleyways.

I ambushed unsuspecting enemies, blinding them with my laser sights before taking them out with a shot to the head or two to the torso and snuck up behind cowardly snipers. There’s nothing more satisfying than knifing an unsuspecting player in the neck. With the ensuing victory came a much greater sense of glee and a greater appreciation of how fun Battlefield 3 could actually be. For our final multiplayer game, we hopped into a huge open field, where Dunk and I got our mitts on the most intriguing new features: jets.

We took off, flew about the level a bit, tried to shoot each other down… and almost instantly crashed into some trees. This went on for a little bit longer. I’m sure with time, we’ll become much more competent pilots. For now, though, all we could do was admire DICE’s colourful foliage.

Next up, we hurtled ourselves into the single player campaign. The story starts off with a rather interesting QTE-laced action sequence involving running from undefined enemies on a speeding subway car. Following this, we’re then shown Staff Sergeant Blackburn being interrogated by a superior over the events that have taken place over the last few days. So far, so very Call of Duty. In fact, at one moment that’s so very obviously designed to make you gasp, I asked Dunk to confirm that we weren’t actually playing Activision’s flagship title. That was all that we played, though, since he crashed the console at that point.

After a quick reset, we then teamed up to tackle the co-op missions. Starting off in a room on the verge of being breached by enemy troops, we laid down mines and covered doorways and waited for the enemy to burst in. When they did, we died. So we tried again and died once more. Then again. And again. And again. We sucked so much, we were more or less being instantly fucked the second the first enemy smashed open the door.


With the aid of some tactics and common sense, however, we survived the initial onslaught and quickly breezed through the rest of the level. We covered each others’ backs, rushing to revive each other when we were down and kicking some serious ass. Our time with the preview once again ended prematurely, though: we broke the game once again when a door we were meant to open simply wouldn’t, no matter how many bullets we pumped into it.

All in all, our preview of Battlefield was an eye-opener. It’s refreshing and admirable to see DICE mixing things up to keep things fresh, unlike other, more turgid sequels out there. While it’s initially worrying to see just how much the gameplay’s changed, we’re sure with time we’ll become more familiar – and thus more deadly – with Battlefield’s enhancements.

P.S. Sorry if this seems concise and shit, Dunk made me stick to a 700-word limit on penalty of a boot in the bawz.”

It’s true, I did make him keep it to 700 to stop this feature being a full on 3,000 epic journey from start to finish. So, there you have it. Pick a side, people, it’s what all the cool kid gamers are doing these days! (Or buy them both. New. Not used. That kills the industry apparently.)







9 responses to “Battlefield 3 Preview”

  1. Mark P avatar

    I should really point out that Call of Duty-style killcams don’t give away peoples’ positions either.

  2. TheBro avatar

    Lots of good info. I just wanted to point out that – when it comes to flying, you are just a BF noob. No big, nothing that about 10 hours of private server time won’t fix. Welcome to BF =)

  3. Rodpunisher avatar

    lol at the COD noobs trying to play BF. Sorry, but you should stick with COD.

  4. pissoutmyass avatar

    yes idd dont go moaning that the vehicles are uncontrolable u just suck ass go play shitty cod u nerd and flying the jets is not hard at all so u must really suck

  5. chris avatar

    u r clearly a troll my friend the fact that u cant distinguish the diff between these two games is absurd. I love both BF and COD and they r both great in there own ways but all u do is trash bf and for no reason , u say the jets r hard r u kidding me ?? unless u have palsy u should have no problem with any vehicle so yes u r more than a noob ur a joke. Now lets move on to ur cod fanboyism its pathetic instead of just bashing this game why dont u take a look at ur beloved cod which hasnt made a single change to their core gameplay or story mode layouts in ten years yes ten years at least dice pushes the envelope all cod does is steal successful things from other games and make it their own now having said that i still love cod but u cant just sit here and bash a game for not being cod … thats the whole point nobody wants 5 diff cod style games we want diff game play diff tactics not just run and blindfire cod style thjis game actuallly requires team work and strategy ur average 12 year old cod of duty jerk off kid can not play and be good at bf and its a nice break from the mundane cod frantic shooter pace i like being able to stalk an enemy in a “huge” map rather than die two seconds into my spawn like in cod. And u say u got sniped 1 million times u clearly r an idiot who takes the same path and same tactic over an dover again and u just keep letting the same guy kill u thats pathetic this isnt cod buddy u actually have to think before u more unlike cod so shut up u fan boy im sick of u “reviewers” who clearly r bias and have an agenda so stop sucking cod’s dick and open ur eyes to new game experiences or just keep playing cod’s yearly map pack which they call a new game

  6. ballsonyourchin avatar

    BF isn’t a run and gun game.. You said you got picked off 1,805,915 times and you still didn’t figure out where you were getting sniped from? Did you take the same fucken way everytime? or were you running through the desert like a noob? I think that’s what you are.. Your a noob dude lol.. I played the beta and kicked ass and the vehicles were easy to use as well.. I do think that they should use the same controls for the jets and helicopters like they had in BFBC2..

  7. SoldierAmerican avatar

    “Dunk”, you have been drinking the “Col-aiD”!! Opinion & Rant is all I read, too bad. It’s obvious that Michael was permitted to voice his Full Opinion, because it would have been more conflicting with yours? Anyways, thank you both for your recommendations, and maybe you will buy the game “Dunk”? My first jet kill awaits! XBOX Gamertag SoldierAmerican

  8. Sandwichbull avatar

    What a garbage preview. I like both COD and BF series, but seriously? You call yourselves gamers but you can’t beat the AI? The guns recoil is too much? You cant pilot the jets? You can’t control the vehicles? Maybe you should quit gaming in general, stop writing stupid previews like this and get into sweeping floors for a living. I can’t believe I wasted the last couple minutes reading this garbage. Maybe EA should extend media invites to gamers that know how to operate a controller or keyboard, instead of wasting it on crybaby losers like you two.

  9. Cloe Wycoff avatar
    Cloe Wycoff

    BmxFit actually, there are way more than 3 battlefield games. There’s an all your history thing about them, if you’ve ever heard of that series.

Leave a Reply