We got the chance to sit in on the pre-alpha build of Battlefield 3 at PAX East. Many of you have probably already seen what the build looks like during the trailers that were released of the game but to see it played with my own eyes was amazing to say the least.
The beginning sequence of the game starts you off in a transport with your company, and like most fps shooters there’s the usual banter of people joking with each other. Soon enough the transport stops and everybody gets out leading to the streets, immediately after you get out the screen becomes blindingly bright from the lighting effect just as if your eyes were adjusting. Just like the real sun, blind spots on the horizon become very apparent. Following your company through a small abandoned market place you meet with the commanding officer who gives you details about what has been happening and that your mission is to take a look at a reported weapons cache and to give support to another company. When dismissed you head down a narrow ally where there are different types of lighting effects like neon lights, fire, sun, and shadows from different objects while running past each object. It wasn’t until you enter the building across the ally where the lighting really pops out. Slowly pushing through the building there are skylights with rays of sun lighting up dust particles in the air like it really would in real life. Getting to the point, when you finally enter the area where you’re supposed to rendezvous with another company, the screen slows and a loud gunshot is heard as the person in front of you falls and his blood splatters on the screen. Needing to pull the wounded soldier out of the open your company covers you as you pull him to safety. Getting back into battle and returning fire you try to clear the parking lot of the danger. While taking cover behind a van a RPG is launched and knocks you on your back a few feet from the explosion, needing to recover and take out the RPG nest located on the second level of across the lot.
After clearing out the lot, the game cuts to an instance where you’re on the roof taking sniper fire from a .50 caliber rifle. Slowly making your way to an opened part of the roof while bullets whiz by and break flower pots, pipes, and chips off parts of the surrounding building. Your team advises that the sniper needs to be taken out, and rolls you over an AT-4 rocket launcher. While backing up because of the back blast from the rocket, your squad lines up and counts down to offer covering fire while you shoot. As the squad lays down waves of fire, the AT-4 launches in the direction of the sniper, not just blowing a hole in the side of the building but taking a quarter of the building and sign down with it. Funny enough one of your squad members says “Good effect on target!”.
The Frostbite 2 engine was worth the wait in BF3, and not because of just the lighting effects but because of all the updates to the hud and environment. BF3 is definitely the next generation FPS that will be on my “Need To Buy” list. Although there hasn’t been any multiplayer gameplay yet, for me I don’t think it really matters too much. With so much history with the Battlefield games, I know there’ll be a good structure and foundation for the multiplayer aspect of the game. Expect Battlefield 3 to be out for PC, Playstation 3, and Xbox 360 in the Fall.