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Posted on Oct 25, 2011 in Electronic Games

Battlefield 3: Xbox 360 Impressions

By Alex Last

Battlefield 3. Xbox 360 Game Preview. Publisher: Electronic Arts. Developer: DICE. $59.95

(Editor’s Note: Battlefield 3’s North American release date is the date of the publication of this article, however, the European release date is this coming Friday, making this article both an Impressions and preview piece, depending on the geography of the reader.)

The scene is one of devastation – derailed tube trains, rubble strewn across the platforms, and the once bustling entrance to the station now houses empty boxes and shops with bare shelves. Running down amongst the train tracks underneath the sun-kissed park, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Blinded, one could be mistaken for thinking that there is a divine ending to this scene. You’d be sadly mistaken – dazzled by this light, its none other than a flash light strapped to a rifle and with the flash of a muzzle, marking the end of your short time on this war torn map.


This in short, is the future of modern warfare on the multiplayer scale – grab your ammo pack and your customised rifle – DICE has returned and will be challenging Call of Duty for the King of Multiplayer crown!

Battlefield 3 opened its doors in the form of a multiplayer-only beta and has brought thousands upon thousands to the Operation Metro map, sporting a vast outdoor park environment with a nearby station and tunnel network running underneath. Immediately what is clear from the outset, is that this map is a similar size if not larger than some of the Conquest maps seen on the previous Bad Company 2. Comprised of essentially two different maps, the park features the outside elements of modern warfare – going prone in bushes and running across open fields – to the close quarters combat in the station’s tunnels and service corridors.

So what’s different from the recent games and how does this impact this year’s offering? A simple addition to multiplayer is that of the movement animations – whilst not essential in the main – when approaching a low lying wall would pose an issue in navigation in previous Battlefield iterations, pressing the assigned jump button will see you vaulting over objects when these are not offering protection from incoming fire. On this subject, going prone is a welcome edition and a return for the franchise – for the opportune shooter, sliding along some rubble among the train tracks, or taking to the ground when a firefight is kicking off, all adds a new dynamic to the shooter experience. For those who are tactically minded, setting up at the top of some escalators for a nearby spawn point will see unknowing enemies run past, oblivious to your ambush. A squeeze of the trigger and a few rounds of fire squarely in the back – and this makes for a nice set of easy kills.

Onto the stars of the game – guns: these appear to be weighted differently from DICE’s previous Battlefield Bad Company 2 and in my opinion, it’s easier to kill – with a few rounds landing on the enemy, they are downed and out. Whether this will be tweaked as an outcome of the beta or whether this is the preferred game mechanic – only time will tell. This does however, make it easier for that stray bullet to land on a distant target, bagging you another easy kill.

Mobile spawn points can be dropped by the scout class in the form of radio support, in addition to spawning off your teammates – this allows you to jump into the action strategically – either on an MCOM Station or perhaps in an ambush situation. Whilst not a game changer by any aspect, it does allow your teammates to choose how close they wish to enter into the battle – adding another option to what will see players almost spoilt for choice in every other aspect of this experience.

The ability to revive a fallen teammate appeared to be the cornerstone of teamwork in the last Battlefield outing and it’s no different for this title. However, it wasn’t without its problems. An issue experienced in Bad Company 2, was that you would be perforated by the opposition, then a keen team member would revive you, only for you to be brought back into the fray without any ammo and ill equipped for another round of bullet tag. This time however, you can opt out for the revival process and choose to respawn at the spawn points. Again, not a game changer by any stretch, but a welcome addition to the game.

Class specific equipment and customised loadouts return to Battlefield 3 – whilst playing through the beta, I quickly ranked up after a handful of kills. This unlocked not only new weapons, but scopes and tripods for the gun which handled the most damage. What is immediately clear from Battlefield 3, is that the loadout screen is clearer and easily identified than its predecessor. It should be noted that for those who played the beta, any unlockables were beta specific, with all players starting afresh come release day.

What’s all this about flashlights I hear you say? Showing off the dynamics of the new Frostbite Engine, flashlights attached to gun barrels will blind oncoming enemies and nearby blasted rubble will shake your controller and blur your vision.

How does the game look, then? Square environments and un-rendered surroundings (notably in the park with the boulders and bushes lining the brick walls) were visible in the Beta on the odd occasion, with block-locking character skins for your team mates and enemies in your kill screen. In comparison, the PC version sports some fantastic graphics. Graffiti covered walls and damage effects with rubble and grenade shrapnel are also impressive – but as a beta (and to be expected, I would add), the game lacked the final polish which we should see the full release version.

In closing, Battlefield 3 appears to have all the traits of the previous game and has received some polish with refining the player interaction in the battlefield. With the Battlelog adding another element to the game experience (an online version of Facebook and statistical tracking) and some insightful elements into what will be in the final cut in a few weeks’ time, this is a real contender in the first person shoot out this winter and will only add to the growing hype surrounding this title.


About the Author

Alex Last is a post-graduate in War, Culture and Society and is an avid console gamer. Combining his interest in social history and popular gaming culture, he also manages his own blog on Console Curious.

1 Comment

  1. nice review. if i need a dose of beautiful graphics and atmosphere BUT arcadey hit detection i play this game.

    if i want to actually drop my online opponents from a good position with aimed fire i play red orchestra