Battlefield 3 Beta Review: Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

There is a flash of flight as fire reflects off a sniper scope. I see it out of the corner of my eye and jump to the ground—but, too late. The bullet zips right through my head and Battlefield 3 cheerily sends me to the all-too-familiar YOU ARE DEAD screen. Fortunately, respawn times are so short that I can hop right back into the foray in the metro, but there’s a second of hesitation before I click that deploy button.

It’s not that I think Battlefield 3 isn’t a worthy successor to my favorite multiplayer shooter Battlefield Bad Company 2. It’s not that I think Battlefield 3 isn’t as deadly gorgeous as I thought it would be, even if my taxed out rig can only handle high graphics settings. I’m just… concerned. Paranoid, even.

Battlefield 3

The general consensus among my friends after playing about a dozen rounds of Battlefield 3 is that the game seems more like in an alpha state than beta. With the official release just 25 days away, I’m scared that the game I’m looking forward to fixing my testosterone-driven, Keanu Reeves-dramatic bro-fest military shooter itch might be suffering from a large list of problems.

It seems that DICE is on it, and I should have faith. But, like those seemingly out-of-nowhere snipers lurking behind rubble (gorgeously detailed rubble, mind you), there is a danger that things might not be so shiny in Battlefield 3 land.

Let’s compare. I’ve now logged some solid time on both the Xbox 360 and PC version of Battlefield 3. (Pro-tip for PC gamers: be sure to update those graphic cards—not that many of you don’t. The patch for my AMD Radeon HD 6650 card really helped improve my stability). Although I had some difficulty getting connected on the Xbox 360 version, surprisingly the console version seems to be running a bit more stable than the PC version. DICE has rolled out a number of server improvements for PC, and I can confirm that the PC build does seem to be running better now. I still see the occasional bug, but I’m pretty impressed with how fast DICE and EA have put out fixes.

The PC version, even only on high settings, does look substantially better than the Xbox version. And there are more players (64 max compared to 24 max on console). Not trying to start a flame war—ask anyone and they’ll tell you I like my controller much more than WASD. On Operation Metro, dust falls from the ceiling as battles wage on the floor above. Outdoors environments feel vibrant and bustling: particularly on the last stage of Operation Metro, every inch seems filled with incredible detail.

But does this detail come at a cost? Maybe I’m just not as good at first person shooters as I thought I was, but I have a hard time picking out enemies hiding in all the gorgeously rendered environments. With the addition of prone to Battlefield, it seems harder than ever to figure out if that bump is a helmet or a pile of rocks. There is also still the issue of lag, which seems to account for a lot of dramatically sudden kills.

A lot of people are also complaining about Battlelog, which is far more vital on PC than the Xbox 360 version. A lot of my friends have issues with Battlelog not working properly—games not loading, getting stuck in loops, etc. I personally haven’t had any issues, and with a built in social community just a click away from the Join Server button, getting into clans and friending people feels fast.  I’m not sure if Battlelog is going to be the dedicated multiplayer suite for the final build, but as it stands now, I’ve had far worse multiplayer experiences.

So am I worried about Battlefield 3? No, not really. Am I a little paranoid that it won’t live up to The Perfect Game I thought it would be? Yes, but that’s to be expected. We hype up every game and make it something in our minds that could never be in real life. It’s amazing what DICE and EA have done, and the gameplay seems exciting, even without Battlefield’s signature vehicles. (Operation Metro has no vehicles, sadly, and I wasn’t able to log sufficient time on a Caspian Border server to make a solid judgment).


One Response

  1. […] tighter quarters and less frantic action—and does not feature vehicles. Thankfully, unlike the Battlefield 3 beta, DICE and EA have decided to include a mode that does feature vehicles, and they feel […]

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