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UPDATED: Impressions: Battlefield 3 Eyes-On

Posted on Wednesday, March 2 @ 00:00:01 PST by

DICE developers have done Bad Companies. They've even earned Medals of Honor. Boooooring. Let's talk about Battlefield 3!

After showing off a very loud trailer for the game, DICE developers got their lucky, privileged paws on a controller and walked the audience through a chunk of BF3 action.

First things first: the Frostbite 2 engine is gorgeous. Lighting, effects, blood, damage modeling, explosions, fire - all looked amazing. Notably, dust looked spectacular with light shining through it. Frostbite 2.0 is apparently capable of rendering huge landscapes and indoor areas with relative ease and the demo showed off these varied environments.

The devs separated a longer mission into three parts for the demo. As the player's squad proceeds through a building and out into a parking lot, a sniper engages the squad and a friendly takes a bullet in slow motion. More enemies flood the parking lot and peek out from behind cover to fire on the team. In balconies above the parking lot, enemies with RPGs open fire. Luckily, the environmental damage means it's easy to make short work of cover and the enemies behind it.

Even firing on cars results in impressive damage modeling, eventually turning them into flaming heaps of wreckage. As the squad moves from the parking lot, the AMPED animation system that EA has developed with its sports titles makes NPC movements believable and dynamic. Whether squad members are vaulting over barriers or kicking down doors, the animation system easily impresses.

The second part of the demo features the squad pinned down on a rooftop by an enemy sniper. The player and NPCs go prone and get in position to locate and eliminate the sniper with a rocket launcher. It quickly becomes clear why DICE chose to show off this section of the mission. The explosion from the rocket tears a gaping hole in the building, easily taking care of the sniper and showing off more of Frostbite 2's environmental damage. Little touches like furniture and debris falling out the building elicit a jaw-drop.

The third and final section of the demo features a bomb that has to be disarmed and a short QTE battle with an enemy. As bored as you may be with QTEs, DICE did a good job of choreographing the fight. While the QTE was one of the more blatant instances of the player camera being affected by scripted events, less obvious occurrences throughout the demo kept the action at a fast pace. After disarming the bomb and meeting back up with the squad, the player character was tasked with defending a stretch of highway with a machine gun. After being instructed to fall back, an earthquake hits the fault line underneath the battlefield.

These earthquakes were featured frequently, but this massive ground shaker actually levels a building in front of the player, presumably burying the whole squad. Environmental damage will be a huge selling point for the Frostbite 2 engine.

Throughout the mission there is a wealth of banter between members of the squad. If you're one of many gamers who found Alex Mason, the player character in Call of Duty: Black Ops, to be too talkative, you'll be happy to know that Battlefield 3 features a strong-silent type.

UPDATED:Check out the gameplay trailer below to get your own ocular impressions. Battlefield 3!

Tags:   gdc, Battlefield, preview

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