The Battlefield 3 Alpha Trial testing is underway, a select few players have been getting hands-on time with its new infantry and weapon mechanics.
We’ve examined their extensive YouTube footage frame-by-frame and unearthed the key new features these lucky souls are playing with.
You might be surprised at what we’ve found DICE has included some amazing new game mechanics that fundamentally change the way you’ll play Battlefield.
How low can you go? Prone makes its triumphant comeback in BF3.
Get on the Floor
Lying down is the new crouching. The prone position, conspicuously absent from Bad Company 2, makes a welcome return in Battlefield 3. DICE deliberately left it out of the Bad Company series, as the developer intended for players to constantly be on the move not camping behind a piece of rubble.
So what does its return mean for Battlefield 3? Slower, more tactical infantry movements for starters. You’re not going to be able to burst into a room and take everyone head-on, as any enemy lying down with his heavy machine gun will pick you off before you have the chance to say, “Boo.”
But prone also brings with it a number of issues. Battlefield 2 veterans still suffer less-than-pleasant flashbacks to its dolphin-diving antics, while competitive players still swear by easy headshots thanks to the instant accuracy boost when hitting the deck. There’s also that golden oldie of grass — how does the game deal with drawing it? A prone player might think they’re hidden comfortably behind these green blades of invisibility, but will they be seen by somebody on the other side of the map?
To combat these problems, Battlefield 3 attaches a few conditions to its prone mechanic.Heading for the deck will cause the crosshairs to instantly and significantly expand, as accuracy goes out the window. Additionally, DICE has added a short delay between hitting the prone button and when the player can start shooting. It all adds up to dolphin diving becoming a fools errand – as it should be.
I don’t get mad, I get stabby.
Cutty Says Hi
Melee moves have always been troublesome in multiplayer games. The quick-knife kills typified by the Modern Warfare series are rarely satisfying — for those on both ends of the sharp stick. Things like the Commando perk make teleporting into melee range beyond ridiculous.Battlefield 3 solves this with the introduction of a more nuanced knifing system.
Players can still quick-knife run up to an enemy and tap a button for an agile stab — but they also have the option of holding their blade as their primary weapon. With knife in hand, players can take the time to sneak behind an opponent and initiate a stealth kill. This is a special kind of melee kill that locks both players into a visceral animation. The one doing the stabbing will pull back their opponent’s head and stick ’em in the chest, while the victim’s perspective will automatically spin around to see their killer deliver the fatal blow. This means that getting knifed is no longer a “WTF just happened?” moment you got outplayed, and your opponent has the dog tags to prove it.
The alpha still has a few issues with the canned animations knifing someone while they’re prone will cause them to stand up before the animation plays but expect these to be fine-tuned very soon.
Suppression effect will leave you yelling, “Somebody take out that LMG!”
Suppress the Truth
Enduring a shower of hot lead in the older Battlefield games wasn’t really a big deal. This all changes in Battlefield 3, with a new suppression effect ripped right out of Battlefield 2‘s Project Reality mod.
Suppression is a true game changer; the idea is to simulate the involuntary human reaction to getting shot at also known as complete and utter terror by creating localized blurs on the screen where bullets are flying past your head. This, combined with a punchy and refined snap, hiss, and whiz of lead will make players think twice about sticking their head up while under fire. But it’s not just a visual affect, as suppression affects gameplay too.
Soldiers under fire will suffer from reduced hip-fire accuracy until they regain their composure. Players doing the suppressing by shooting at and around enemies will earn suppression points, even if someone else delivers the killing shot.
The end result of the suppression system is a far more physical experience for players when the bullets start flying, and it finally makes the game’s light machine guns work the way they do in real life, as a tool for keeping the enemy behind cover. Players will have to think tactically and outside the box keeping an enemy pinned with a light machine gun can be just as rewarding as waiting to take them out with a headshot.
Hey, guys, what’s that pretty red light?
Frickin’ Laser Beams
Ever looked directly into a laser pointer? Hurts, doesn’t it? Battlefield 3 is going to give players the chance to blind their enemies with the next best thing red laser sights.
As an underbarrel attachment, the laser sight offers increased accuracy by showing exactly where the next bullet is going to hit. But that accuracy comes at a cost shine the laser sight in the face of an enemy, and they’ll receive a brief, bright red flash as the laser dot bounces off their retinas. It’s not specific enough to give away your position, but it’s strong enough to let them know that they’re about to be shot,and will prompt them to take cover.
A second underbarrel attachment for Engineers comes in the form of a flashlight. Not only does it illuminate darkened areas like the underground sections of the Paris metro, but it can be shone in the faces of enemies to temporarily white out a player’s screen and blind them. This makes Engineers great at storming enclosed areas, as they can take advantage of the flashlight disorientation. Of course, in open areas flashlights turn the holder into a giant glowing target.
Interested in seeing some of these features in action? Check out more than 30 minutes of footage from the Battlefield 3 Alpha trial here!
When suppression is your goal with the LMG, drop the bipod.
Many of Battlefield 3’s weapons now come from the gun shop with a useful new bipod attachment, which can be mounted on any surface. It’s as easy as right-clicking to aim down the sights while near something of the appropriate height. If you can’t find something, just go prone anywhere on the floor counts.
Mounted weapons have the advantage of increased stability, so they won’t kick as much with each shot, which means you can empty the 100-round clip of a light machine gun with much greater confidence. Combine this with the game’s suppression system, and the Support class now has something to do beyond aiming for direct kills. But, like every new mechanic in Battlefield 3, it comes with its disadvantages.
Mounted weapons have a limited viewing arc of about 90 degrees. If you come under fire, it’ll take extra time to pack up the bipod and be free to move again. And, if an enemy simply blows up the piece of the environment your weapon is mounted on, you’re going to look like a right idiot as you suddenly start shooting the roof. There’s a time and a place for mounting weapons, and it’s not in the middle of a pitched firefight!