So towards the end of our last article, you may have noticed we lightly skimmed the nose off of EA’s latest addition to the Battlefield series. Now, we’re going to chop off its ENTIRE HEAD. Sort of. Why? Because everything we’ve seen that concerns Battlefield 3 thus far involves the game swaggering into formidable social occasions and boisterously floundering it’s credentials about before drowning you in a skin-soaking waterfall of grandeur, leaving you a shivering, trembling, excitable mess.
Well kind of. Moreover, there’s going to be a war this fall. Here is what we know of EA’s latest offensive manoeuvre.
So, what is Battlefield?
The chances are, you already know what Battlefield is, but we don’t care about that, so here’s a brief rundown anyway. The EA-published First Person Shooter began life in 2002 as the ground-breaking, predominantly online Battlefield 1942. It focused on large scale battles that, for the first time, included a wide range of vehicles into the foray, which essentially meant I could get shot to death in planes and tanks and jeeps as well as on foot. It was brilliant. So were its resultant expansion packs and 2004 Vietnam spin-off.
In 2005, a full sequel, Battlefield 2 came abseiling into action, which brought the series setting into modern times, and later onto consoles too. The console version took the emphasis off the online component and ended up feeling much like trying to chew a dishcloth.
Battlefield 2142 returned to a PC-only endeavour and transported the player into the future. It was met with an uninterested grunt from the media and it seemed like the series had run out of steam.
In 2008, console spin-off Battlefield: Bad Company added a truly amazing, environment-crippling, destructive engine that allowed you to blow away cover and buildings. It also had a huge emphasis on the narrative, essentially because it somehow found itself tightly grasping the script to Three Kings. Or Kelly’s Heroes.
Lastly, the game many regard as the only current contender for Call of Duty, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is revered amongst many players for having the most balanced and solid online, although thus far it has done little to really dent the extent of CoD’s 2010 success. Other than download-only 1943, a small but engaging console follow up to 1942, and Battlefield Heroes, a free-to-play, microtransaction PC game, we are now UP TO SPEED. Good eh! You’re a Battlefield expert, impress or concern your friends!
Right, so the first ones were great, but recently they’ve been on the poor side, why should I care about Battlefield 3?
Funny you should ask, because there are three videos below that will do a better job of explaining why you should sit down and listen to what Battlefield 3 has to say than I ever could. I’m going to do it anyway though so you might as well act enthusiastic. Y’hear!?
Set in 2014 Iraq, Battlefield 3 is going to be the most present-day modern war shooter we’ve ever known. They might as well have set it tomorrow. Or yesterday. This in mind then, it’s all utterly, painfully authentic. The weapons, the armour, the vehicles, it’s all being held kicking and screaming under a giant magnifying glass and glared upon by the diligent eye of Captain Price. He seems like he’d have an eye for excruciating detail. And series-jumping.
More importantly however, this directly impacts the story. Battlefield games have never placed much emphasis on the narrative and on occasions when they have, you find yourself wondering if it was written by a flock of cockeyed geese with speech impediments. This time though, things are going to be different. Apparently.
Developer DICE’s Patrick Soderlund told Kotaku it was going to be a character driven story, one that’s dynamically paced and focuses on the varying personalities of its protagonists. It has taken great influence from excellent, gritty TV series Generation Kill, as well as Box Office smashes Hurt Locker and Black Hawk Down.
‘”We want you to experience a game that goes up and down in pacing. We want you to pay attention to the dialog between characters. We want you as a consumer to care about the characters in the game. We focus a lot on the fact that the characters have a personality, that you care about them.”
With a single player written and thought out with these ideals in mind, we might finally have a military shooter whose characters won’t be out performed by a fruit bowl.
Of course there’s always reason for doubt in these pre-release build ups. Worryingly Patrick’s response to Kotaku’s question about the decision to put such a big single player element into the game, as oppose to the series’ famed mulitplayer-only structure, was that ‘to remain competitive in the genre, games need to include that experience’. Let’s hope that we don’t get an overdose of those epic looking, largely scripted-only sections, that balance needs to be retained for Battlefield 3 to really take on its main competitor. A solid, pure, story-driven and realistic shooting experience.
Still, with the Frostbite 2 engine looking truly remarkable in not just its mesermising visual capacity but in the newly refined environment-morphing destruction, some of those astonishing set pieces including large-scale sections of city-wide battles, a promise of the best looking console game this year and 24 player console vehicle/infantry multiplayer (64 players on PC), along with a storyline that might actually induce more than just disappointment and cringes and we’re very, very excited.
Could Battlefield 3 fill the boots Call of Duty 4 left amongst the rubble? Will EA finally out flank Activision’s most dug-in battalion? This November, there will be a war. Which side will you fight for?
‘Like’ the Battlefield page on Facebook and, when the total number hits a million, EA have pledged to upload the full 12-minute release footage. More importantly than that though, get in the forums and let us know what you think!