Chaos. There’s gunfire everywhere. I start running towards what look like a safe cement wall, but it quickly explodes into a smattering of debris, hurling me backwards towards an untimely and very speedy death. As I lie there on the ground, my hand reaches up, hoping to be revived but it’s too late; I’m gone.
I’m back and I’ve respawed with my squad. It seems the chaos I originally experienced has found some sort of structure. There seems to be some type of flow evolving, though it’s still hard to tell. I follow my fellow squad member and enter what looks like a central courtyard. We’re surrounded. Trees are falling around me and I’m getting pelted by bullets and debris. There’s dust affecting my visibility. We’re able to hold off about four enemies until I find my hand reaching up, once again, for absolution.
I’m up and running again with my squad and we’ve progressed past the main courtyard and we’re now moving down a less open, more confined, underground metro station. It seems the chaos of the past has evolved into a more focused and more graded attack. The courtyard, which was once the frontline, has now become a safe haven as our team forges ahead.
In the main corridor of the metro station two of our soldiers are moving from cover to cover while another lays down covering fire. The team is beginning to work together and we’re almost through the metro station, but something isn’t right. It’s seems a bit too easy.
To my right is a doorway to a small room leading to another train. As I make my way towards a blind corner, an enemy soldier suddenly appears from around the corner and, after taking a few bullets, I’m just able to dispose of him. Then it hits me: they’re sending a team to flank us from the right. Sure enough, as I round the corner, four soldiers are rushing to flank us and after taking two of them out and calling their position out on my microphone, I eat another bullet sandwich.
This constitutes my first few minutes with Battlefield 3’s multiplayer and let me tell you, it is amazing. To be honest, I haven’t played a PC multiplayer shooter since Medal of Honor: Allied Assault so imagine my slight disdain when I walked into the demo booth to find keyboards and mic staring at me. Luckily, it took very little time to acclimate and I was immersed. The game type we played was Rush, and the mission was Operation: Metro set in Paris.
Our objective was to plant explosives on enemy targets, defend them until they explode and continue pushing through sections of the city until we reached the stock exchange. This was the set-up we were given prior to the demo and it was enough to get us primed for the action ahead.
The game already looks fantastic in what they mentioned was a pre-alpha build. The animations are fluid and realistic. The contrast in lighting between the open, outdoor areas and the tighter, indoor areas are stark and helped to augment the different play style required between the two.
The “crescendo” of dust and debris from the ground and buildings as the firefights progressed did well to up the tension. What’s impressive about this was how this directly affected the gameplay. When the dust and debris started to affect the visibility of everyone in the area, it was during these times when both teams would reposition themselves, find new cover, flank, push forward, etc. It felt natural and once the dust settled, the firefight resumed. As this played out, the frontline made a dynamic progression forward and our strategies had to constantly adapt.
In their presentation they discussed the inclusion of a bipod for the support class. This allows a support player to set up their gun in an area and provide suppressive fire for their team. By doing this, the suppressive fire will actually diminish the combat effectiveness of the players on the other team, allowing your teammates to swoop in to try to finish off the enemy, awarding you experience points even if your bullets failed to hit a single soul. I can’t remember if I actually experienced this during my brief stint with the game (it was pretty intense) but the concept does well to emphasize teamwork and I can’t wait to experience this when the game releases in October.