The beta for Battlefield 3 was released on Thursday on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC and I got a few hour of playing time with it so I figured I’d give my brief impressions of it. To start off, I am aware that this is a beta and not a demo. I’ve been a part of many beta tests in the past so I’m aware of the difference and I’m aware of the purpose behind a beta and quirks that will most likely be fixed in the final version, so I won’t spend a lot of time on this.
As far as Battlefield games go, I loved Battlefield 2 on the 360 and actually played it for a long time before I got into Call of Duty 2’s multiplayer. I enjoyed it a lot and even continued to go back to it after Call of Duty, but I got bored, which is my whole gripe with the Battlefield series, in terms of multiplayer. I have purchased all of the Battlefield games since Battlefield 2, but I’ve really only played through the single player campaign and that’s about it. I maybe logged a few hours on the previous Battlefield (Bad Company 2?) multiplayer, but I can’t say that I got way into it. And this is kind of how I feel coming off of the Battlefield 3 beta.
The Metro map is a decent mix of spacious outdoor and closer quarters indoors, but as a lot of people have been saying, it doesn’t give you the “Battlefield feel” that the huge maps with vehicles, planes, etc, gives you. Again, it’s not a demo, so they really aren’t trying to sell people on the game based on this, but if you release a public beta before the game launches you have to expect that people are going to judge your game based on what they see and play, whether it’s a beta or not. There were some connection glitches the first night on the 360, but those will absolutely be cleared up before the launch of the game since that’s one of the things that this beta is testing, the game servers. There were also some disappearing textures when not aimed down sight and things like that, but again, I expect those to be fixed and they didn’t really affect the overall gameplay.
Graphical glitches aside, I want to talk about the actual gameplay for a second… Honestly I don’t like it. I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying I’m not a fan, but this isn’t anything new. I’ve obviously been a fan of Call of Duty and it’s essentially all I play these days, so I’m obviously going to be more comfortable with that style of gameplay. And no, it’s not cause I was necessarily bad at Battlefield, I went positive in each round I played, I just know what I like and Battlefield isn’t it. I really thought that I would like this one, but I think the fact that the maps are much larger and the action is more spread apart and focused on snipers/vehicles is why I don’t like it. I’m more of a close combat, want the guy I’m shooting at to see me and put up a fight kind of person, where it seems like everyone in Battlefield is laying in a bush sniping. Maybe it was just this map, but there were a lot of bushes and a lot of people laying in them, and yes I was one of them at one point. I just didn’t really find it that fun. Don’t get me wrong, the game looks amazing and I will still buy it for the single player campaign as I’m sure it’s amazing, but I don’t think I’ll be putting down Call of Duty to pick up the multiplayer in Battlefield 3. I think fans of Battlefield will definitely be happy though and I think everything is well put together, I liked the leveling system and classes, etc, it really is just the fact that I’ve been with Call of Duty for so long now that I’ve grown accustom to that style of gameplay. And I’m sure the Battlefield fans will argue that CoD is just a bunch of whiney little kids that like to corner camp and dropshot, which can be true, but I personally have more fun with those assholes than a guy that snipes from halfway across the map in a bush the entire game…
So take this how you will and if you have the means, definitely give the beta a shot. Just remember that it is a beta and not a demo and don’t just the game on graphical quirks or server errors, hell don’t even judge it based on the map you’re playing because Battlefield is all about the vehicles and squad based action, which I really didn’t see in the beta too much (vehicles not at all). I know I kind of contradicted myself there because I basically judged the beta, but I tried to base my impressions on the Battlefield gameplay itself and since I haven’t been a fan for a while, there’s no surprise that I’m not really a fan now, but fans of the game shouldn’t be discouraged by the beta.