Everyone that likes these games has been waiting on the new Battlefield 3 to come out. There is an open beta that launched today, you can check it out by going to www.origin.com and clicking on the big promo for the Battlefield 3 beta. Installing and setting everything up is not as straight forward as I would like it to be. Perhaps it is because I don’t use a lot of digitally delivered content and I’m not used to the way that model works. So I’m going to leave that alone until I have enough experience to speak with authority on the matter. I did get it installed, there is a plug-in you have to download and enable in your browser that lets you setup the server browser and off you go. You search for the server you want to play on, or friend your buddies and join off them. The website launches the game engine and off you go into the world of war that is Battlefield 3.
My first impression was pretty good. Afterall, this is a beta and it is _not_ ready for prime time. There is still debug code (or should be in a beta) in the game so it seems to be a little laggy, and I’m sure they are ironing out the network dynamics for 64 players per server as well. Fine tuning is a process that takes place even after games are released, so for the game to behave as well as it did is pretty impressive.
To the changes… Jumping over things now makes your character kind of vault (showing his legs) it takes some getting used to but lends some realism to the whole thing and I think I like it. The graphics are very cool, although not as good as I expected (because of the game trailers). I’ll qualify that; buildings where not swaying back and forth and the ground wasn’t crumbling. I don’t know if we will be seeing that in the game release or not; I hope so. I didn’t feel like I was in a movie and that is what the screen shots and the trailer made me feel that I was going to see. I know it’s not my computer, I’m running on a $9,200 Origin Big-O with a double SLI configuration and have everything cranked up to the ultra setting. That said, I’m really proud of EA here… not only did everything work in the beta (which is impressive) graphically speaking, there was no black splotching, and the game seemed to handle my two Nvidia 590 cards very well (4 GPUs).
Jets… wow really? YES! Amazing and fun, couldn’t believe they added these bad babies but they did. There is really something in here for everyone. There seems to be a lot more weapons, you have more configuration options with your gear which is very cool, and the game seems to really be bordering on a Battle Simulation rather than a full on game (which is what we really all want). I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Department of Defense start using this game as a training tool.
The tanks and various other vehicles have gotten make overs but operate more or less the same. I really like the second gear some of the vehicles have (just hit the run button to engage it). I haven’t been able to roadkill anyone yet, but I’m sure that is a lot of fun.
One of the best changes to the game by far is being able to hunker down on the ground. Going into a full prone position was something missing in Battlefield 2 and it was great to see it put in there. Snipers and everyone else are already using it more often than they should
I’ve played for about 3 hours and I can tell you that the 3.9 gigabyte download is well worth it. EA has pulled all the stops out on the bandwidth as the download came down at 3.9 megabytes per second on my comcast connection and the game installed pretty fast as well (minutes).