PAX East 2011: Inside the Battlefield 3 Booth

The Bad Company series from DICE are some of my favorite FPS games.  I never owned an original Xbox or a PC powerful enough (probably) to run any of the previous Battlefield games so I’m kind of coming in cold here.  Based on what I read in Game Informer and watching the first Fault Line video got me really excited for this game’s potential.  Hearing it would also be in Boston gave me joyous visions as they began flooding my brain with holding a controller (or mouse) in my hands, running around an amazing looking game.  In the end, it wasn’t meant to be as EA only allowed you to watch someone else play it in real time in front of you.

The line for it was intense all day, so in case you missed it, here’s the details of what my eyes witnessedin the Battlefield 3 booth on that day….after the break….

Thankfully, they wanted to give you the best viewing experience with an absolutely GINORMOUS tv and surround sound speakers loud enough to make you feel like you were actually being shot at.  I should point out that the game was being played on (most likely) an upgraded PC.  The demo was split into 3 sections, each of which represents the 3 videos they’ve been staggering out to the masses.  The first section is from the first Fault Line video they released and at this point, we’ve all seen it so there’s really no need to rehash.  The only thing I’ll mention is that each section was longer than the video, with the first part having a longer fight sequence and an eventual retreat from the area. 

Here’s the good stuff.  Part 2 featured the rooftop sniper sequence in the video that was released this week.  The team is pinned down from a sniper across the way in a nearby building and are forced to crawl along the rooftop as the sniper fires at them.  Each shot manages to damage the concrete around you with peices breaking off and eventually the cover breaking down completely.  I should also point out that the sound team created what can only be called a masterpiece.  From the bullets whizzing by your head, to the ‘smack/thud’ noise of them hitting different materials like concrete, wood, or dirt, it all sounds just so realistic.  Simply outstanding.  The second section ends at your character shoots a rocket at the snipers position.  What the new video doesn’t show you is the aftermath.  It’s unfortunate because the result of that explosion is jaw dropping.  As the rocket hits, you can see a slight reverberation causing the glass in the building windows to shatter.  The smoke and dust finally fades and there is a gaping hole in the building.  The crumbling sections, the crazy fire effects, sparking cords, and you can even see the impact point of where the rocket hit as it’s the deepest part of the missing chunk.

Part 3, which according to EA will release on March 30, was easily the best part.  Your job is to find and disable a bomb underneath a vital section of the city.  You’re in this sewer structure and you need to follow a red wire to it’s location.  Eventually you come across what appears to be an abandoned room.  Locating the bomb and trying to disable it, you’re suddenly attacked from behind.  Losing your weapon, the game shifts to a hand to hand battle.  This section seemed to be more of a quick time event sort of gameplay but thanks to the insane animations and unbelievable graphics, the combat was brutally awesome.  You manage to subdue the attacker after a series of headbuts, punches and an eventual knee to the crotch and pull the cord mere seconds before the bomb detonates.  

Your squad links up with a bigger section of the attack force in a downtown area of the city.  As the enemy starts flooding the street in front of you, it becomes a desperate struggle for survival.  With gunfire all around you, you manage to find some makeshift cover on a sky bridge overlooking the road.  As the enemies quickly break it down in front of you, an attack chopper appears and provides aid.  Cars explode realistically, fires break out on the streets, and things begin to look normal as the enemy falls back.  Suddenly, a tank appears on your flank and you rush over to an abandoned vehicle with a Machine Gun attachment.  As you prepare to fire, an earthquake hits the area and the building in front of you just cracks and begins to fall apart.  As you are thrown from the truck, you look up in horror as the building sustains more damage than it can hold and starts to topple over towards you and the helicopter above.  You put your hands up to shield yourself from the debris when the demo comes to an end.

First off, I don’t even care that I didn’t get to play because I was floored by this hands-off demo.  It’s safe to say that this is one of the best looking games I’ve ever seen.  The AI chatter, character animations, sound design, and gorgeous graphics all work in complete harmony to deliver an amazing experience.  This one is firmly on my radar and if the destruction is any indication of what to expect, Call of Duty should be seriously worried.

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1 Response to PAX East 2011: Inside the Battlefield 3 Booth

  1. Pingback: Gamer Crash Road Show: I’m At PAX East! | Gamer Crash

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