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Battlefield 3 Initial Impressions

So I went ahead and purchased Battlefield 3 on Sunday.  I had already decided I would be getting the Limited Edition, but it turns out there wasn’t a whole bunch of choice to be made as it appears there was only the Limited Edition to buy at Hong Kong Records.  Of course I could have gone elsewhere but the 188 Centre in Wan Chai is a bit of a walk away, and HMV has decided to close down their Central store.

Now the first thing that I will say is that not only does it come on 2 discs but there’s also an update of over 2GBs to install.  On top of this there’s a further install to be done once you start the game.  Now I had read that you had to do the install for the HD content, so the first thing I did was to install both discs onto my 360.  Then I figured I wanted to play the MP mode first so I thought it made sense to put in Disc 1 titled Multiplayer and Co-op.  When I tried to run the game it said I had to pop in Disc 2… so up I got and popped in Disc 2 and went to sit back down.  I had already put in my code for the MP and that had downloaded.  When I started the game first it mentioned that I needed to update the game, so I did that, but then it also asked me if I wanted to install the HD version.  I obviously said yes and it asked me to pop disc 1 back in.  Now I understand that this had to be done this way if we want to fully enjoy the game in all its HD glory; and I know the Beta got slated because of shoddy graphics; but surely they could have done this better?  Surely they could have asked you when you installed the disc to your HDD if you wanted to include the HD content?  Anyway, eventually I was able to download everything, and install everything, and finally I was able to get online to play some BF3.

I was somewhat worried about being owned at every step of the way, seeing as I was still using the newb gear.  However, you can (or at least maybe because I have the limited edition) have access to a few decent weapons from the off (a better sniper rifle with a 7x scope; a better LMG; a shot gun and one other I believe).  I started off with the recon setup just to see how good it was, and I was instantly rewarded with a squad spawn up on a crane.  The fact that you can go prone is great.  It adds a lot more tactics to the game, but it can also be frustrating when you don’t know the maps and everybody else is crawling around and you’re getting shot from everywhere.  Still after a while I was getting used to it.  I also switched over to the 88 LMG and was able to get a few points from ammo boxes, and because 3 guys came crawling through a gap in the wall near one of our flags and I sat there spraying them with lead 😀

I then played for I guess around 2 hours and I have to say it is growing on me more and more.  I now have the defrib unlocked and that’s helping me rack up more points, but I’m also slowly learning the maps.  I would like to play a lot more and try out some more game styles.  I also wish BF3 would sort out it’s lobby system.  Why do I need to wait until the next round starts to quit?  Why not set up lobbies so people can vote for game mode and possibly map out of a choice of 2 random ones?  I like Conquest and Rush but it would be great if you could be in one lobby and get both, rather than playing only Conquest then having to quit to another lobby (once waiting for the next round to start) before going on to play Rush.

Visually the game is impressive.  I don’t think it will win any major awards for graphics but it’s decent enough.  Where the game really wins though is the sound department (except maybe the farting noise that the machine guns make on some of the vehicles).  I play using a pair of AX Pro headphones and as you walk, run around you suddenly find yourself ducking under cover just because you hear the jet flying over head, or you hear a tank coming round the corner and you just pray its not one of theirs, or that if it is they don’t spot you.

As I play more I’ll try to put on more of my impressions on it, as at the moment I clearly have only just scratched the surface.  I’ve yet to look at the SP or even think about Co-op but I’m sure I’ll get round to them.

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