BF3 Beta impressions (Xbox 360)

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Playing the BF3 beta was a little confusing. The game is due out in a few weeks, so putting it into beta this close to release seemed bizarre.

It covers only one multiplayer map, Metro, which takes place in a subway tunnel in France along with a little above-ground action for plenty of close quarters shooting. It’s also objective based meaning players will be switching roles between defense and offense. It also means that it’s a map with no vehicles which can be a bit disappointing to some.

Technically, beta tests are handled a few months in advance of finalizing the code for release so that if anything critical crops up, it can be fixed before hitting retail. At least that’s how it’s ideally supposed to go. Though in today’s world of “0-day” patches and broadband speeds, that probably doesn’t mean a hell of a lot.

Likely, the “beta” for BF3 was to test multiplayer stress on the network to better prepare for when it goes prime time on October 25th. On that count, it seems to be doing okay even with the occasional  128-player hack floating around in PC Land.

I also hope that some of the other issues won’t show up in the final game such as prone clipping, or falling through the map and getting stuck leaving suicide the only escape. I was killed on one map by someone trapped this way because they were able to shoot me from below the objective I was attacking.

One thing that stuck with me was how familiar it felt. Coming off of Bad Company 2, BF3′s beta felt like I was heading back for more of the same with a new set of maps. That’s not entirely a bad thing, especially if you couldn’t get enough of the game. And I’ll admit that I had some fun while shooting through Metro’s wrecked venue.

The demo also cuts loose with a large number of unlocks and, from what I could see, no level ceiling, so if anything, it’s a nice, free multiplayer shooter. Some players have also really taken to it – I’ve seen a few leveled into their twenties and thirties already though I doubt any of that will carry over into the full game.

If I weren’t a fan of the series before I doubt this would have convinced me as much as the trailers had worked so well to, but I’m sure that the full game – with actual vehicles – will be a lot more exciting when everything comes together near the end of this month.