Here’s what I’ve learnt over the past week from playing Battlefield 3 beta on the PC:
Sniping is much more difficult in BF3 than in Bad Company 2. The bright glint from the scope is a huge deterrent that will force you to take your shots as quickly as possible. I see this as a positive change, as I’ve always felt the Recon Class in BC2 was too
cheap powerful on most maps.
I didn’t spend much time with the Engineer Class, but I noticed that firing rockets at people seemed to be less effective than it is in BC2. Perhaps DICE would rather you target vehicles (I’m OK with that). Also, the submachine guns were as badass as ever!
Assault Medic Class
The Assault Class rifles pack a lot of firepower, but are hopeless at hitting targets at far distances. Often, I’d have the jump on a distant sniper, but would ultimately lose the exchange due to erratic aiming. At closer distances, this class is deadly, and being able to self-heal with medic packs can make you particularly robust.
The Support Class kind of puzzles me. The best use of this class seems to be covering choke points while in crouch or prone position with the bipod out. Unfortunately, this makes you an easy target for grenades, rockets or anyone who can out flank you. Often, I just used this class with a shared weapon, like the ump-45 or shotgun, and racked up extra points with the ammo packs. Perhaps the support role is better suited for tight squad play.
The blurred vision from incoming rounds is a cool feature, but I don’t know how much it will affect the outcome of fight fires. If your opponent is close, chances are either or both of you will be dead before blurred vision becomes a factor. At greater distances, it is easy to retreat and allow your vision to return. I suppose this is the exact purpose of using suppression fire, and anything more debilitating would wreck the game play.
The speed of BF3 is a lot faster than BC2. In particular, reloading is much quicker. This leads to more gunshots, more kills and a greater feeling of chaos in the gun fights. The speed definitely changed my playing style, and I really enjoyed the fierce CQC moments in the subway. Also, switching to a side arm to finish off an opponent seemed swift and effortless — I got a lot more multi-kills in BF3 than I would normally get in BC2.
Soon after the beta finished, I got word that its COD-like speed would be toned down for the final game. I really hope they choose a speed that is good for everyone.
Flashlight and Laser
The flashlight and laser attachments are awesome for CQC, so long as you remember to turn them off when you’re creepin’ on the come up! I’d really like to map the flashlight/laser key to a dedicated mouse button — it’s an awesome feeling to slaughter a room full of dumbfounded opponents who can’t even tell what team you’re on. This should work even better in hardcore mode.
Mobile spawn points
I love the idea of using mobile spawn points. It’s especially fun if you can drop one behind enemy lines and massacre everyone from behind. It’s also great to camp out near an enemy spawn point and make a few cheap kills before they catch on. You’ll want to be wearing good headphones to locate the enemy spawn points. And when you do, it is fantastically rewarding!
I’ve been missing the option to plank ever since I stopped playing Battlefield 2. Leaping into prone from a sprint is a great feeling and very effective when under fire. At first, I was over using prone, as I felt it was the only way to advance through the park without getting shot. True, it provides increased stealth and safety, but at some point, as you get closer to the enemy, its disadvantages will work against you. Not being able to see what’s around you (or directly above you) can make you extremely vulnerable. It’s another well-balanced feature in this game.
Listing servers and launching games from my regular web browser seemed a bit odd at first, but it’s actually a great idea. If I can enter the game world directly from my Windows desktop, I’m pretty sure there’s no faster or more convenient way to start a game. And I’m much happier working in Chrome to set things up than I’d ever be in some in-game server browser.
So those are some of my thoughts concerning Battlefield 3 after a few days spent with the beta. I’m very curious to see how larger maps and a full range of vehicles will alter the game play. It seems like a monstrous task to keep everything balanced, but DICE has not let me down in the past (1942, BF2, and BFBC2). Let’s hope it all comes together smoothly on launch day!