Five minutes. That’s all DICE is letting us see of Battlefield 3′s most recently revealed mission Operation Guillotine – the new level set in Iran which you’ll have caught a glimpse of in last week’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous trailer.
If you’ve seen it (which, with over 150,000 views already, we assume you might have), you’ll already know much of what takes place in the level: playing as a member of the US Army you’ll bombard Tehran with mortar rounds, clear the river banks of insurgents, and finally breach and clear an apartment complex.
So let’s put all of that into context. You play as Sergeant Henry Blackburn, tasked with leading a dawn raid in Tehran to secure the Khojir apartment complex hidden deep within the city, wiping out any opposition in the area along the way.
The mission – or the snippet we’re shown at least – starts at the brow of a hill overlooking the war torn city. Your men, Cole, Montes and Matkovic cower alongside you to provide overwatch, quietly bantering amongst each other as they await the order to charge.
With the silence broken by a roar of missiles and the rumbles of distant explosions, we charge down the hill to set up the mortar, firing illumination rounds into the morning sky to light up the streets – an objective that seems deliberately placed to show off the astonishingly good lighting techniques offered by Frostbite 2.
From here we’re ordered to clear the river bank and eliminate MG nests, tossing in frags and picking up the destructively-accurate M320 grenade launcher to clear out any survivors. The guns themselves feel very similar to how they do in Battlefield: Bad Company 2, with plenty of weight and recoil, and thanks to Frostbite 2′s astounding audio capabilities, accompanied by a satisfying punch ringing out with every shot.
Reaching the apartment complex, squadmates frag the lower level with grenades, sending bodies soaring out of windows and blasting fragments of glass into the air. After breaching and clearing the rest of the floor, the mission ends with a slow-motion breach of one final corridor, the sole insurgent behind the collapsed door flinching and twitching as Blackburn’s bullets knock him to the ground.
And that’s it: what we’ve seen of Guillotine may be short, but it’s also so very sweet. There isn’t all that much to take away from it beyond the new setting, admittedly, but it reinforces the notion that this will be the best Battlefield campaign ever built. If you’re one of those planning on picking up Battlefield 3 for its impeccable multiplayer, good on you, but you’d be a fool to skip the campaign. From what we’ve already seen of it – from Tehran, to Paris, and Iraq, which you can read more about in last month’s P3Zine – Modern Warfare 3 should be quaking in its boots.
It isn’t all quite such good news though. The PS3 build we played (for the sake of full disclosure, EA is not yet showing any media the Xbox 360 version, which raises questions over where last week’s leak actually came from) was still subject to numerous problems, including frequent crashes, texture and animation glitches and a decidedly unfinished look – not something we’d usually comment on in a preview, but with just over five weeks to go until launch, it seems DICE has its work cut out to get BF3′s technicalities up to the standard of its closest rival.
And on a graphical front, although the game certainly rivals the console’s top-tier for lighting and scope, with muddy low-res textures and inherently washed out visuals, there’s a very clear divide between the high-end PC and console versions.
With only a five minute section on offer, it’s clear that DICE is keen to keep its cards close to its chest. But from what we have seen, it appears the team has somehow managed to bottle that intense, action-packed atmosphere of Call of Duty while keeping the tone firmly rooted in realism – the Generation Kill of video games, if you like. There can only be one winner, of course, but whichever way the pendulum swings this autumn, expect the Metacritic war to be a valiantly-fought battle.
Battlefield 3 launches in the UK on October 28th on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
Tags: Battlefield 3
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