Private Foyle’s Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Impressions…..concluded!

BLA-BOOM!

So, enough with the stories, hopefully they’ve given you a little taste of what Battlefield 3 multiplayer plays like.  If it’s seemed disjointed, manic and difficult to comprehend what I was actually doing most of the time then I’ve successfully described the Battlefield 3 experience.

What do I think of it at this early stage?  I am absolutley loving it.  Compared to Battlefield:Bad Company 2’s (BF:BC2)  brand of anarchic team-based multiplayer, of which I was a big fan anyway, this is a real step up in realism, depth and, through the bigger focus on vehicles, fun.  It’s not a return to Battlefield 2 (B2), and some may be disappointed by that, it’s more of a balance struck between the faster paced BF:BC2 and the more tactical B2.  I for one think it strikes that balance well, capturing the chaotic playground fun of mass brawls where everyone has ridiculously overpowered weapons and the more tactical, careful approach that’s required to really do well and achieve a scoreboard leading points haul.  You can achieve very little on your own in this game, when you do well it is when you’re working with or for your team.

Cool vaulting animation in action

The improvements over the previous games come in the details, and I’m not just talking about the obvious improvement in graphics and sound.  For one, the points system is really well refined.  It’s more forgiving for newbie players as it gives points away like confetti for every little bit of service you give towards your team, so that even on a bad game where nothing goes right for you you will still end up with hundreds of points towards your next unlock or rank up.  Plus the points are even more focused on rewarding team contribution over being the player with the highest kills.

I’m also a big fan of the changed class roles, although it’s not immediately apparent from their basic set ups.  The new assault class seems like an overpowered super class to begin with, with their machinegun rifles, health kits and quickly unlocked defribillator and grenade launcher.  It’s in the unlocks that the balancing begins: If you want to equip that grenade launcher you need to sacrifice your medkits.  And if you want extra ammo for that grenade launcher you’ll have to sacrifice your defribillator, and before you know it you have a classic Assault class player.  Switch that the other way round and you’ll be a Medic.  And either way you’ll have an excellent mid-range machine gun.

This must be one of the peaceful seconds between someone having a lock on me and somebody else having a lock on me

The same becomes apparent for the other classes.  The Engineer has obvious advantages from the off (vehicle repair and rocket launchers) plus a more mid-range rifle aswell, but the seemingly less useful Support class can unlock mortars, C4 explosives, and claymore mines on top of his usual mountable heavy machinegun and ammo refills to become THE defence class, and the only one well equipped to tackle both infantry and land vehicles on their own.

The Recon class is the one that has suffered the biggest cutbacks from BF:BC2 now that they’ve lost their ability to call in mortar strikes and the fact that sniper scopes now give off a glint that makes it a lot easier for your distant targets to spot you when you’re trying to line up a headshot.  Personally, though, I think it’s a fair reduction.  Anyone who spent a frustrated game of BF:BC2 being picked off by invisible snipers on the other side of the map who were earning hundreds of points per kill for the over-generous headshot bonus will probably share my feelings.  It’s still a viable, and occassionally very useful class, but now it’s stripped down to it’s core focus of sniping a spotting I think it’s going to be a lot less popular, so no more teams of snipers to have to hide from.

Ker-SMASH-CRACK!

What it lacks is anything particularly new.  Battlefield 3 has carefully refined and improved the Battlefield experience that already existed, but it hasn’t really added anything.  The game modes are identical to BF:BC2, and although all the maps are cleverly set up to support both Rush and Conquest mode well I can’t help thinking there could have been more.  Inspiration could have been gained from the singleplayer where whole levels are played out in a single vehicle, why not introduce Jet-only modes or Tank-only modes into the multiplayer?  That would be a lot of fun.  Or how about combining Conquest and Rush modes to form something more epic where an area is fought over in a typical conquest style, but when one team wins that section the fighting moves to an adjoining area where more flags must be caotured and held.  That way whole cities could be fought for in a single multiplayer game.

Perhaps future updates will be more adventurous in this way rather than just adding to the already strong line-up of maps.  We’ll see.  For now though, I’m heading back to the battlefield.  Hopefully see you there.

Swwwwwwwsssssssssh-BLAM-BLAAAASTKERSPLODE

 

P.S. By the way, if anyone reading is one of those 3 guys who were in the back of that jeep I drove straight at an enemy tank on Caspian Border, I need to explain:  I’m not a COMPLETE moron, I just figured the last thing he’d expect me to do was drive straight at him and that would give us all the element of surprise when we all leapt out and surrounded him with our RPGs.  In the end it only gave us the element of explosions, death and respawn and for that I am very sorry.

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