First off, there is only one map so far, Metro, a 32 player map, (the one that has been in most of the gameplay videos) and it is infantry only. It contains a park segment, a metro segment and a city area at the end. The only mode available is Rush, a mode any Battlefield veteran is familiar with. Basically, it's an attack and defend mode, where one team is attacking by planting explosives on control points. That sounded a bit confusing..good, except it's pretty simple concept and it is one that has been used in many FPS games. The defenders have infinite reinforcements, while the attackers only have a set amount. This mode feels a lot more balanced compared to Battlefield Bad Company 2. In Bad Company 2 you could destroy the control points with explosives, tank shells, c4 or by bringing down the building on top of it. At the very least, in this map, you cannot do anything like that. The only way to destroy a control point is to get there, as infantry, and place the explosives. The mode works well, better than before, but I would love to see how it plays out on a vehicle and infantry map. I should note that they are testing the Caspian Border map, the huge 64 player map with jets, tanks and helicopters, but it's locked off from the general beta. It will probably be the next map in the beta, assuming they do a map rotation.
The gameplay feels good and I love that you can go prone again. There are a few odd things that don't exist, like a way to see your ping or the ability to learn around corners. Weapons are appropriately accurate and deadly, each of the guns are different for each team and require you to use a different strategy to use them effectively. In the beta you can unlock seemingly most of the content in the game, there is no level cap, so there looks to be many gadgets and weapons to experiment with, some of which look very interesting. One big change is that there is no medic class, it's gone, instead the assault class now carries all the medical supplies. In total there is an assault class, recon class, support class and an engineer class. Melee attacks have been improved graphically, they have an animation more similar to the Call of Duty games now, but they still leave me confused. Just like in BFBC2, they are fairly slow, they leave you exposed and it usually feels a lot easier to just shoot the person, but then you wouldn't obtain their dog tags. Explosions are pretty confined, working better in confined spaces than out in the open, like you would expect; it makes rocket launchers and grenades not easy to spam and abuse.
The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, just like they look, and thankfully it is not the hardest thing to run in the world. I ran the game on ultra high settings (almost max), with a GTX 460, Phenom II X6 1090T, 8 Gigs of Ram and Windows 7 Ultra; managing to get 30-45 FPS, which is pretty good in my book. Even when I had fraps on, which normally tanks framerate, it still ran smooth and that is special. Most of the special effects look excellent, whether it's explosions, fires, smoke, or how the air looks down in the metro. Sound is excellent as well, just like all of the Battlefield games, and it's a pleasure to hear firefights happening all around. Also, rockets flying by your head sound fantastic, even though it often means your going to die.
|Yeah this isn't in the beta, sorry.|
The squad system, which may not change, is a step down from all other Battlefield games. You can still spawn on anyone in your squad, as long as they are alive, and you still get points for completing the squad leaders orders or points for placing orders as the squad leader (if your squad carries them out), but no longer do you have the option to invite others to your squad or to pick your squad. You can leave your squad and press join new squad, but it will just randomly put you into a squad with a spot. I really hope they fix that, it would be annoying as hell if you couldn't be on the same squad as friends or a clan.
The beta does have plenty of bugs, thing's that they are already working and they are pretty common bugs that you would see in FPS. No need to into details on those, especially since they have almost a month to fix anything before the game is released. You may have heard about the server system, it is browser based now, as are your stats and everything related to your soldier. While it's odd, it essentially works the same as it always has; it moves pretty seamlessly between browser and the game itself. There are a lot of servers already, so there are a lot of options, but the quick match button isn't very good, it often put's you into servers in which you have terrible ping, but you cannot tell because there is no way to view ping. I don't know if it's just me, but I generally have to try joining servers three times before I can get into one without it timing out. Overall though, the beta is pretty damn fun and it was hard to stop playing it in order to write this. Check out the video of gameplay, hopefully that will collect all this information together into a visual presentation. Thanks for reading!
Battlefield 3 Open Beta Gameplay
-Written by Sean Cargle