Thoughts on the Battlefield 3 Beta

I received an email from Electronic Arts this week, letting me know that the Beta for Battlefield 3 was available to play about 48 hours from the main release. Everyone should be able to play it today, and from what I can tell, it’s well worth it for Battlefield Fans. This is just a quick synopsis of playing the game.

I feel like someone out there has been paying attention to the shortcomings of the Bad Company games, and it looks like it’s coming across nicely.

So far, the Beta works off of one huge map. As always, the battle is broken down into three areas within this map. The first of these is a large park. The second moves into a subway system and the third expands out to a city square. It almost feels larger than what was available in Bad Company 2, but is roughly the same size. It seems that a number of changes were implemented, particularly in the explosions in the game. A lot of changes have been implemented, particularly in some of the movements of your character. You now have the ability to go prone and vault over low obstacles. Going Prone has already proven effective in a number of game sessions as fireteams now lie in wait near the foliage close to the demolition targets. It’s become much harder to be able to see anyone when making your way into a situation. That’s a very nice touch, considering that in the past, the most one could do was kneel.

The game still works off of the Class system from previous BF games, but the graphics have been updated considerably. While it may not be very noticeable in the first part of the battle, once you reach the subway, it’s nice to see how large the world you’re in is and what you can do with it. When you throw down a package, it’s a very large box, compared to the small ones in Bad Company Two.

The guns in the game are interesting. The opening gun for the Assault Class remains the M16, but the Specialist class has the M4 as a starting rifle. Additionally, playthroughs on this map will allow you to unlock various attachments such as scopes and new weapons. Though I haven’t seen it first hand, the game explains that laser attachments and flashlights will actually blind a person when shined at them. The guns (the shotgun in particular) appear to be a little overpowered, though that could be my playing a little too much Gears of War before starting BF3. It’s tactical, as always.

One thing I would like to see (unless I missed it) was Night Vision. There is one area of the game, where it’s almost completely dark and is really almost impossible to see anything. You have to pause and look for where the shots are come from and just fire in that general direction. It would be nice to see, if it’s there.

Overall, Battlefield 3 is really shaping up to look like an intense game. I’m eager to see what other maps they’ll have in store later on.

Trailer: Battlefield 3 “Above and Beyond the Call w/ Jay-Z”

(All video footage ACTUAL GAMEPLAY)

The time for the final push to hype up the upcoming first-person shooter from EA and DICE has begun.

Battlefield 3 gets a brand-new TV ad spot which touts the title’s actual gameplay and the strength of it’s new graphics engine with Frostbite 2.0. To better give the ad a particular hook it uses Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” track to some great effect. The video shows the three different gameplay choices a player can have during single-player and multiplayer gaming: foot soldier, helicopter gunship and fighter pilot and tank driver.

As the tv spot has pointed out — plus the video below showing some multiplayer gameplay — Battlefield 3 has been the consensus best shooter to be seen by industry people at all the gaming shows and conventions this year. Whether the title will knock Activision’s Call of Duty franchise off it’s lofty perch still has to be seen, but if there’s a game that could begin the process of doing it then Battlefield 3 may just be it.

Battlefield 3 slated for an October 25, 2011 release date for the Xbox 360, Windows PC and PS3.

Gamescom 2011: Battlefield 3 “Caspian Border” Multiplayer Gameplay

I’ve been hyped and itching to get my hands on Battlefield 3 for months now, but still have a little over 2 months to go before I get that chance. Until then EA and DICE (Digital Illusions CE) have come up with another way to tease it’s fans by using Gamescom 2011 over at Germany a new video footage of actual gameplay (using an earlier alpha build of the game). This time around it’s not in-game footage of the single-player campaign. What we get instead is two whole minutes of wargasmic in-game footage showing the game’s multiplayer mode (64-players playing at once over on the PC while the Xbox 360 and the PS3 get 24-player limit for ground fighting).

The footage is of the mulitplayer map simply called “Caspian Border” and it’s a multiplayer game being fought not just between players as foot-soldiers, but also driving armored vehicles, jeeps, tanks and helicopter gunships. But what got me really going is the fact that air-to-air combat with jets. I don’t mean those white-and-green wearing, following the fat, blowhard who has no rings to kiss Jets, but jet fighters performing deadly aerial ballet with their opposing number.

I think if there is ever one reason to pick up Battlefield 3 over Activision’s upcoming title to their juggernaut of a FPS franchise, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, then this gameplay footage with the jets will be one major reason. I may just practice flying those jets for multiplayer and shout “Tally Ho!” over the mike when ambushing another player in their jet.

Battlefield 3 is still set for an October 25, 2011 release date in North America with Europe and the rest of the world getting it the following days.

E3 2011: Battlefield 3 vs Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3

This year’s E3 sees two well-anticipated titles that look to be on a collision course later this year as EA’s Battlefield 3  looks to try and dethrone the king of the modern war shooters in Activision’s latest in their juggernaut shooter franchise, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Both companies showed gameplay videos of their respective games today and both were impressive.

Activision’s title looks to continue the action-film look and tempo of the series with this third entry. From the look of the gameplay the graphics looks to be just slightly above that of Modern Warfare 2 and equal to that of Call of Duty: Black Ops. From the look of things the three development studios working on this title looked to follow the mantra of “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it”.

EA and DICE showed more gameplay footage of their competing title. One was an extended demo video which looks to be even better than the pre-Alpha stage gameplay footage shown months ago. The look of Battlefield 3 through it’s use of the new Frostbite 2.0 Engine looks to surpass that of the Activision title. The question now is whether the gameplay (boht single-player campaign and on-line multiplayer) will be equal to that of it’s rival. There’s a good chance this time they will as Battlefield 3 looks to go back to it’s early roots by concentrating heavily on the on-line multiplayer.

Battlefield 3 set to be released on October 25, 2011.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 set to be released on November 8, 2011.

Song of the Day: Heart of Courage (by Two Steps From Hell)

I’m feeling a bit under the weather. I swear the crazy raining then sunny then raining split-personality of Bay Area weather will be the death of me. So, instead of a review of an animated film about a toothless dragon or a war zone where someone is punishing criminals I’ve decided on a new “song of the day”. This time the latest song is a short one, but what it lacks in length more than makes up for it’s epicness. It’s the Tyrion Lannister of epic music. The song I chose is from the production music company Two Steps From Hell: “Heart of Courage”.

What is a production music company?

It’s a company who makes nothing but music for trailers and tv spots for shows, film and video games. Yes, Two Steps From Hell makes trailer music. So, if you’ve ever watched a film trailer or even the latest video game trailer then you probably have heard one of their music. The fact that they make trailer music shouldn’t take away from the quality work they’ve produced through the years. The one piece of music they’ve done which have stood out for me is “Heart of Courage”.

This song begins with a bevy of strings creating an ethereal intro which suddenly transitions to the inclusion of the percussion section. The intro of the percussion section would soon be followed by the very strings themselves changing from ethereal to a martial tempo. It’s in the middle of the song where the choir joins in to complete what I consider one of the most epic-sounding pieces of music I’ve ever heard. It’s no wonder that people who make film and video game trailers often pick this song to complement the visuals they’ve spliced together to sell a product.

The song was most recently used in a fan-made trailer for the upcoming EA shooter, Battlefield 3. Watching that fan-made trailer one could see how the music added more drama and gravitas to the scenes being played out. While the trailer’s editing itself didn’t fully match every beat and crossovers in the song there were enough that did match to make the trailer become accepted and approved by the publishers of Battlefield 3. But it’s another video game which used this song that really used it best.

It was a game which came out in early 2010 and the trailer itself even premiered during the Half-Time of the Super Bowl. Some who saw the trailer thought it was a commercial for an upcoming sci-fi blockbuster. To their surprise it wasn’t but for an upcoming game instead. What convinced some that it was a film was the music. Just watch the trailer below and you’ll know why this song makes anything with drama and action very epic.

Battlefield 3: “My Life” Trailer and 12-minute Gameplay Footage

One game which has been on my radar for months now and will be so for the rest of the year until it comes out in November 2, 2011. That’s a long time to wait for a game, but just looking at the footage and the trailer has sold me on this game. As much as I enjoy playing Activision’s Call of Duty series (both it’s Modern Warfare and Black Ops iterations) it will be nice to finally get something new to beat back that juggernaut.

One thing which the Battlefield games have always had above and beyond every other FPS shooters is the ability in multiplayer to not just be a boots-on-the-gorund grunt but also drive tanks and armored vehicles, pilot gunships and fighters. It looks like from this latest trailer (making great use of the song “My Life” from the Swedish band jj.) that driving tanks and piloting jets is still part of the gameplay.

For a game that’s showing gameplay footage at Pre-Alpha Stage of development this game looks beautiful. It’s only a wonder how it will finally end up looking when it’s gone gold and released to the general public. A general public with cash waiting to be spent with me one of said cash spenders.

Battlefield 3: GDC 11 “Fault Line” Gameplay Trailer

This week has been quite the busy couple days over here in San Francisco. The Games Developers Conference (GDC for short) for 2011 is in town and being held over at the Moscone Convention Center. This conference is one of the biggest for industry insiders and games developers. While most of the stuff talked about in the conference are stuff that really only developers and publishers would understand and find interesting, the conference has also become a sort of launching point for announcing future titles for the different gaming platforms.

One such game which just had it’s first gameplay trailer introduced to much acclaim is the first-person shooter title from EA and DICE: Battlefield 3. This series has been one of the more popular games on the PC and has made major in-roads into console gaming. 2010’s Battlefield: Bad Company 2 received universal acclaim and some had even seen it as a title that could possibly dethrone Activision’s juggernaut franchise: Call of Duty. While said dethroning didn’t happen gamers and pundits still saw the Battlefield franchise as the one to finally take on that Activision jugger and actually win. It just may take the next title, Battlefield 3, to do it.

This trailer is all gameplay and has no prerendered scenes. What people see in the trailer is exactly how the game will look (at least for the PC. Whether the 360 or the PS3 will look just as good only this summer’s E3 can answer). The game will be using DICE’s latest graphics engine, the Frostbite 2.0 which will allow for a more realistic and fluid motion for all the people in the game. This title will also be the first one to utilize Frostbite 2.0.

As much as I enjoy playing the Call of Duty titles I do see how some have started to see how stale it’s starting to get. Activision hasn’t been challenged in so long that they really haven’t improved much on how the franchise plays. Maybe EA and DICE releasing Battlefield 3 and delivering on all they’ve promised will give Activision the kick in the ass it needs to keep the Call of Duty from becoming the Guitar Hero of military first-person shooters.