We’ve finally approached the release of Battlefield 3 and I can’t wait to jump back into action. While at DICE I had the opportunity to play on every map while trying out the new weapons, vehicles and gameplay features. While BF3 plays similar to previous installments, some of the new additions have the chance to greatly change the way we play and think about Battlefield. Here’s a quick rundown of the additions I’m most excited about.
Speaking to Lars Gustafsson, BF3’s multiplayer lead designer, I learned suppression is something the team has wanted to implement since Battlefield 1942. As an example, he mentioned the bunker-based machine guns on the Omaha Beach map. These weapons should have made a US advance much more difficult, capable of pinning troops on the beach. But instead, operators of the machine guns were frequently picked-off by attacking snipers. As a result, nobody bothered manning these machine guns as it meant certain death. This is a problem the new suppression system aims to address. When an opponent is suppressed, their vision is blurred and their weapon accuracy is reduced; with the exception of pistols. This opens new tactical opportunities. For example, consider leaving your squad’s support soldier back to provide covering fire while the rest of the squad advances. When firing to suppress, you don’t have to hit an enemy. Simply fire shots around their general location. While any weapon is capable of suppressing, the support kit’s light machine guns are the most effective tools for the job. If a teammate manages to kill an enemy you’ve suppressed, you even get a Suppression Kill Assist Bonus worth 50 points.
The target designator, SOFLAM, is carried by the recon class. Using the SOFLAM you can paint enemy vehicles for laser-guided munitions fired by jets, helicopters, and even tanks. Some vehicles even come with their own laser-target designator, allowing them to be more self-sufficient when acquiring targets and firing these weapons. The introduction of these designators only enhances the team aspect of the game, requiring careful coordination between squad and teammates. Plus, there’s a great sense of satisfaction when the tank you’ve designated for destruction suddenly explodes as an A-10 streaks overhead.
While jets aren’t new to the Battlefield series, I feel their implementation in BF3 is the most balanced we’ve seen yet. Flying is never easy and the jets will take a while to get used to. Initially each jet is only armed with a cannon. But as you spend more time in jets and increase your jet score, you’ll unlock more weapons like heat-seeking missiles for air-to-air combat as well as rockets and laser-guided missiles for ground attack. But jets aren’t overpowered by any means and require a great deal of skill to be effective. Teammates on the ground can help greatly by spotting enemy vehicles, helping jet pilots line-up their strafing runs. Without spotting or laser designations, identifying ground targets is very difficult for pilots travelling at high speeds.
This unique indirect fire weapon is unlocked through the support class and is great for raining down high-explosive rounds on large concentrations of enemy troops. When deployed, a small map appears on the screen. The white crosshair icon on the map shows you where you’re aiming the mortar tube. Simply place the crosshair over a spotted target (appearing as a red icon on the map) and simply fire. This is a great way to suppress opponents prior to an assault. The mortar rounds have about as much power as grenades and are more likely to suppress and injure than to outright kill. Smoke rounds can also be fired from the mortar, ideal for concealing movement around control points and M-COM stations. But before deploying the mortar, always make sure you’re in a safe location. While kneeling behind this weapon you’re extremely vulnerable.
If you liked the UAV from Bad Company 2, you’ll certainly enjoy taking the recon kit’s Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) for a spin. This small remote-controlled drone is fitted with an IR camera making it easy to spot the heat signatures of enemy troops and vehicles, even through dense foliage and smoke. Use the MAV to hover over the battlefield and spot targets for your teammates. The small drone is also equipped with an electronics warfare package. Using the jamming function you can disable enemy Radio Beacons, SOFLAMs, and T-UGS motion sensors. But just like the UAV stations from BC2, be mindful of your surrounding before deploying a MAV. Otherwise it’s easy for enemies to sneak up behind you and steal your dog tags.
Those are just a handful of the new additions to BF3 you can look forward to. For a complete breakdown of every class, weapon, gadget, vehicle, and multiplayer map, check-out our official Battlefield 3 Game Guide, releasing on October 25th. This is our most ambitious Battlefield guide ever, with the hardcover Collector’s Edition weighing in at 368 pages. With over 250 pages devoted to multiplayer, this guide contains everything you need to start your multiplayer career and rise through the ranks.