Under the Radar

Battlefield 3: Dangerous Driving on the Caspian Border

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The Caspian Border map (which if rumors are true actually uses grid coordinates from that actual region) has pretty much confirmed what we hoped—Battlefield 3 vehicle play is going to be just as intense for tank drivers, fighter pilots and chopper jocks as CQB is for the grunts (er, sorry fan boys, “tactical operator” play). It really is impressive, though we can’t help but worry whether the console version will look as good and run as well as the one for PC. They say there will be no difference, but it seems hard to believe that’s the case. We had to play the alpha on the lowest PC graphics settings to get it to run decently, which doesn’t bode well for some players.

Perhaps the second biggest thing this trailer has done is excite conversation about the aircraft/dogfighting aspect. Admittedly, that is pretty cool, assuming you like airplanes. There’s not a lot to say about the dogfighting—it looks outstanding, with flares and a vastly improved HUD. It even looks at one point like you can move your point of view relative to the cockpit within the game, though that could be a trailer. Sadly this isn’t the part of the game that really turns us on. We’re not sure why anyone would want to play a zipper-suited sun god (fighter pilot) when there’s fighting to be done on the ground and no hair products or cool sunglasses in the game but it certainly broadens gameplay and makes the battlefield more frenetic. For you fighter jocks out there, don’t get butt-hurt. We know you contribute tremendously in the real world, but there’s no denying how much time you spend in front of the mirror or all the times you’ve worn a flightsuit to the PX on your day off (or that you spend all that extra flight and combat pay on your cool warrior coiffure).

We said that was the second biggest thing the trailer has done. The first and biggest thing has done is graphically demonstrate just how ignorant, misinformed and insulting the Internet readership can be. Seriously, go look at a few videos where someone is looking at the trailer. For every reasonably intelligent comment (and we’re talking about even by amphibian standards) left underneath there are three that are hateful, profane or just downright stupid. That’s one reason we enjoy writing here. We seem to be dealing with a higher caliber of people (who can at least spell correctly when they take issue with what we say, or call us names). So, thanks for that.

Anyway, some new details about the game appear to be a heartrate counter when you’re on foot (bottom right corner of the screen) and a vehicle ammo counter along with health when you’re in the vehicle. Vehicles have multiple player slots, though it doesn’t appear that you must have a full crew to run your tank. It just helps. On the subject of vehicles, these conquest maps are going to be huge and there are a lot of vehicles to choose from. As you can see during the trailer, there are 64 players running, many of them in AFVs, IFVs and both fixed wing and rotary aircraft. That’s a lot of lethal traffic.

Graphics are about the best seen to date, except maybe for Crysis. Frostbite 2 is obviously going to help make the destructible environment is simply bad ass (and gets points for not being a Call of Duty clone). More importantly it’s scaled—you can hammer a structure down with HEDP and AP or just watch concrete chips get knocked out of a wall when the remote tracked (EOD? Recce?) drone/robot runs into it. Speaking of that EOD robot, if that is in fact what it is, we like it a helluva lot more than we do the idea of running an explosive-packed RC car around the map (which was fine in a Clint Eastwood flick as a gimmick but never should have made it to Black Ops screen play).

There are going to be some nice small touches we haven’t seen before. Steering wheels show hands, knife kills let you snatch dog tags and the hooches for pilots between missions have really sweet individual air conditioning units, hair dryers and blinder-equipped windows where they can stand and look wistfully off into the distance. Maybe BlustryCheese810 isn’t some snot-nosed kid fighting acne from Jenks, OK when he’s not on the console. Maybe he’s a zipper-suited sun god from Eglin AFB with perfect hair.

So, final call: the graphics are seriously bad ass, game play looks intense and who knows…maybe it’ll teach some players a little geography (and how to mix drinks, if there is an in-game pilots’ lounge option). This is going to be a must-have game for fps aficionados. We predict more players buy this and MW3 than play one or the other.

Out here. Leave a comment here or find us on Facebook. Hippies and sissies shouldn’t bother. Zipper-suited sun gods are okay.

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