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The flashlight is overrated


Henry McKinney

Staff writer

With the looming October 25th release of Battlefield 3, the latest in EA’s powerhouse franchise of tactical first-person shooters, it should come as little surprise that EA wants to try and work out the last few bugs in this much hyped game’s multiplayer.  To do this, they launched an open multiplayer Beta test this past week on all platforms (PC/PS3/XBOX 360) and it is awesome.

The Beta only includes one map, called Operation Metro, but that covers a broad span of terrain, from outdoors in direct sunlight to dark, shadowed tunnels to a brightly lit subway terminal.  Each environment is a challenge to master and put the game’s new features on full display.  In one match, I saw trees knocked over by grenades, sniper scopes glinting in the sunlight, and players dazzled by laser sights and flashlights.  Regardless of what platform you play on the game is beautiful, as you would expect from a game designed to push the limits of modern gaming technology.

Also unsurprisingly the core game play mechanics are artfully integrated, giving plenty of opportunities for players to toy with new and interesting play styles, weapons, and tactics.  Are you a team player looking to support the plan of a well-coordinated team?  Then you’ll fit right in.  What about the lone wolf players, such as myself, helping out the team in their own way by doing maximum damage with minimum resources?  You’ll find a niche to fill as well.  As long as you come to the game with a desire to have fun and some quick reflexes you’ll love Battlefield 3.With that said, this is a Beta test, and for those who aren’t familiar with the term, that means that right now I’m playing a version of the game that isn’t quite finished.  Some of the features and items haven’t been included; others suffer from glitches that range from hilariously bizarre to infuriatingly inconvenient.

But that’s what a Beta is for; to clear out most of these glitches and bugs so that when the game is released on October 25th, and all of us gamers who pre-ordered it are ditching class to put the game to the test we’ll be fighting in a polished game and shouting about flashlights or snipers, rather than getting hung up on rocks and watching tanks start flying.  Actually, that last one still sounds pretty cool.