Battlefield 3 : First impressions

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I know I’m not the first & won’t be the last to write about EAs next game in the Battlefield series, but here is my brief summary after a weekend of playing.
I’ll to not give too much away about the story, but I will be discussing game decisions & mechanics so if you don’t want to hear about them please navigate away now.

Humble Origins

As we’ve all come know, EA is pimping its own distribution platform big time with the Battlefield brand which means this game isn’t available on any other download retailer. The install from disc is rather confusing as Origin carefully tells you it’s now downloading the game, until you are prompted to insert disc 2.

What is really strange as all Origin appears to do when you attempt to launch the game is to open a webpage which is where you make your choice about what game-mode to play, view your stats or choose a Multiplayer server.

Not only do you need Origin but then you have to install a browser plugin to allow the BattleLog website to interact with the game. The strange thing is that EA have stated that Steam was too restrictive but in my experience the MMOs on there use Steam purely as a method for purchase and download, once installed the MMO is standalone and will update itself using it’s own software/network and the any dependency on Steam is non-existent.
I have no idea why that couldn’t be the same here.

Campaign

Within 5 minutes of starting the game I was rather frustrated by a number of quick time events.
Don’t get me wrong, when used correctly QT events can bring fun to a game, Space Marine used them very sparingly and they were pretty much dynamic in their occurrence. BF3 uses them as scripted events in the linear timeline, so when you have to repeat a section you have to endure them again & again.
I’ve been enjoying the story so far, but a combination of the re-living events via the medium of the “Flashback” and jumping between people & places gives you a dis-coordinated telling of a story. And kind of makes you feel like Dr. Sam Beckett.

Multi-player

I broke my rule and have started playing the multiplayer before completing the single player campaign. I am really glad that I did as the MP has redeemed the game for me somewhat. Here are the best elements for me:

  • First up it’s nice to have a game that allows prone positioning and movement, It really gives an extra element to the battles and makes everyone a little more on edge.
  •  The second item that is nice to have is Team death match, this game mode wasn’t in BF:BC2 and I did miss it. You see the squad death match isn’t want everyone is looking for, I for one just wanted a Team V Team without capture points being involved.
  •  The maps (think I have played them all now) are nicely designed with balance being a good part of them. The maps increase or decrease depending on the server capacity/game mode. There is a mixture of Range long (good for aircraft) and close quarter maps which means you get some great combat in places.

That said, there are some serious lag spike issues at the moment that appear to be impacting all players. This often makes playing the game unbearable and I hope they get sorted out soon or it’s going to put people off.

Last Point

My final bugbear is with the use of the Origin/BattleLog webpage at launches the game for you.

Imagine you are playing on a conquest game server and fancy swapping to a Team deathmatch game. In any normal game you would exit to the menu selection and find a new server and connect.
BF3 is far more cumbersome in it’s design, you play each map which loads the resources into memory, but when you exit the that server, it exits the game and unloads everything from memory.
You then find your next server and connect at this point the game is reloaded and as you enter the server all the resources have to be loaded into memory again.

It’s a horrid method and results in having to open and close the game multiple times in one sitting.
Not a massive problem, but when I have a finite amount of time for gaming I really don’t want to spent it looking at a loading screen.

4 thoughts on “Battlefield 3 : First impressions

  1. There is also a major issue with people not even being able to connect and getting a “Disconnected From Login Server” message. EA/Dice have yet to even acknowledge it in the forums other than shutting down threads.

    • Thanks for the reply.
      I wasn’t aware of the login server issue, stinks of typical damage limitation during release week.

      If the company were to turn around and admit there is a fault, throw in a free hat/unlock for people impacted by it, most people would accept it without a word of complaint.
      The smoke and mirrors approach does nothing other than alienate and frustrate players.

  2. I hope they get the web interface polished soon. Its implementation a bit poor, but its makes it so much easier in the long run, being able to just open a web page to see your stats, unlocks, server types, ect. vs having to log in to the game itself. I see this as the future for all MMOs (well technically WoW has been doing it with the armory, and LOTRO with Mylotro).

    • I agree there is no reason that the website statistics couldn’t be done before, after all it is only data.
      I think the biggest change is in the metrics that are being captured, there is an overhead in storing the volumes of data that can tell you things like, which power was used most frequently and against whom.
      I do think that being able to launch the game from the website is good (very Battlefield Heroes)n but I’d like a server browser in game too.

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