The Battlefield 3 Beta has been out since the 26th of September now and I started playing it yesterday. Why so late? I wasn’t one of the special people who either pre-purchased BF3 via Origin (because I won’t be playing it on PC, although I have it pre-ordered elsewhere), nor did I buy the truly awful Medal of Honor. This meant that the Beta was not available to me, and everyone else until the 29th. Sure, I downloaded it on all three platforms (PC, PS3, XBOX) on the 29th, but it was a nice day so I opted to go outside (BLASPHEMY!) rather than play video games.
There was another reason why I wasn’t in a rush to play the Beta. I’d already played it. Not the Beta itself, but the Alpha a couple of months earlier. The Alpha was Operation Metro, the Beta is Operation Metro. Some players on PC were invited in to Conquest on Caspian Border to load test the servers, but that map/game mode apparently will not be available to console players. Ironically, despite all the big talk about dealing with those who broke the NDA on the alpha, at least one of the players who broke the NDA was on the Caspian Border map…. using the same gamertag as in the Alpha. That is a total pisstake by that player, and also EA/DICE for allowing it to happen (unless of course they were allowing him to “leak” the footage to begin with).
So at this point I’m a bit fed up of the same map all the time. The good news is that there have been a number of changes between the Alpha and the Beta. For example, the LAV. This was an attacker armoured vehicle but is now absent from the Beta. When I first spawned I went looking for it, but it wasn’t on the map. It took me a while to realise it wasn’t there.
The positions of the MComs on the first base (in the park) have also changed for the better. The locations are more accessible for both sides without having direct lines of sight from spawn.
You no longer vault over everything, it’s possible to leap small obstacles without doing an impersonation of Daley Thompson’s Decathalon. The vaulting is still there, and it is a cool animation, so it’s good that it’s limited mainly to objects you would normally vault.
Flashlights are in. These were mentioned in pre-Alpha posts but weren’t in the Alpha. They are a gift and a curse. The flashlight, which I’m going to call a torch from now, since I’m not American, and it takes less to type are a gift when you see the beam coming and you fire at the source to get the kill, but a curse when you’re totally blinded (especially by a team mate) and get killed. In the Alpha there was only the RDS or laser sight which caused a red blinding effect, this is also in the Beta.
The biggest hinderance I’ve had so far has been a single team mate with the damned torch. Trying to hold down an MCom is not easy when some window licker keeps running past, blinding you. It’s a bit like the team mates who blow up your mines in BC2…. “thanks dude, that was really helpful”.
What about the weapons? Well the MLG Pro are using the PP2000 and UMP45 this season as those laser death cannon kill you before you know it. The M70 shotgun is an adequate counter – but requires you to be up close and is mostly a two hit kill unless you get a head shot.
It’ll be interesting to see what others make of the different weapons and unlocks as you have to unlock each attachment for each weapon. For some I can see them getting to the level where they unlock the UMP45 and not using any other weapon unless DICE “balances” the damage characteristics.
Lastly on this let’s talk about graphics. PC understandably has the best graphics out of the three available platforms (mainly as it’s outputting on current hardware rather than components that are over half a decade old). From there it’s pretty subjective, platform of choice. Both the PS3 and Xbox360 have positives and negatives against them in the graphical department, but nothing that really puts one much much much above the other. Here’s a visual comparison between the platforms:
But don’t forget: IT’S A BETA
Which means that DICE are looking for areas that they can improve on.
That’s it. Stop reading now.