– The Most Realistic Looking Shooter Yet
A new level in ‘realism’ – DICE Lifts the graphics bar
©2011 Grant Smythe
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Battlefield 3 will be the most realistic-looking shooter yet.
Well that certainly is a bold statement to make, and one I personally feel is accurate, especially when we look at several games hitting the shelves this year in the First Person Shooter genre.
There are several games about to hit the market that could well set benchmarks higher than ever before, giving rise to greater gameplay, and ideally pushing other game developers to ‘step up’ to the mark with regards to their middleware engines that drive their games.
A game is only as good as the engine that powers it, both graphically, as well as in animation, gameplay mechanics and interactivity, especially when combined with a great storyline of course.
• Battlefield 3 Teaser video
A real beauty to behold
Battlefield 3 would have to be the most advanced looking FPS that has graced our eyes since – well – since ever.
And while I know that what we are seeing in our video presentations is being played on PC’s, and some console units have been used in presentations, the end result is that no matter what platform you may have, or what biases you may have, you will get an experience unlike any you have had in the past in the FPS genre.
The new DiCE Frostbite 2 Engine certainly has stepped up the visual mark, not by one or two notches, but by a leap visually, as well as the animation aspects, destructibility, not to mention lighting, shadowing and reflections, all of which makes it look so realistic, that one could easily believe they are viewing real movie or an exceptionally well built CGI, non-game PR sequence.
But, that is NOT what we are seeing here now, especially in this great 12 minute video that you will see below showing off the various aspects of DICE’s new Frostbite 2 Engine, which by the way, is using all in-game playable footage.
I watched it again the other night once it was ‘officially’ released from EA, and showed it off to several friends who were around at the time, who for most of the 12 minutes, thought they were watching some sort of First Person-style movie that had been shot about the wars in Afghanistan/Iraq.
Just before the end, I broke the news to them that what they were watching was in fact, actual gameplay from the new Battlefield 3 game due out this Fall (US), and they were basically awestruck by the reality of it all.
• Battlefield 3 – The 12 min Faultlines Video
There have been far too many games within the FPS genre appearing in the past that have touted a level of ‘realism no other game has had in the past’ as their major asset. But, in the final gameplay, many, if not all, have failed to really deliver the goods.
There has always been some rough edges or slight nuances that showed the scenery up as being obviously game-like, dare I say – ‘gamey’ for want of a better word.
Or it was the animation of both NPC’s and the main character that weren’t ‘quite right’, and the scenes seemed to not have quite the flow needed to give that sense of ‘real movement’. Not so in Battlefield 3.
We can see below just two of the character animation slides for ‘taking cover’, showing far more frames for movement than most other games, as well as a variety of ways of establishing the same end result. Gaining cover hasn’t been so ‘realistic’ in past FPS or even TPS for that matter.
• Click to enlarge to 1280 x 760
In fact, with the new engine, it’s very easy to become quite immersed in the game, as you see your legs slid from under you in the 12 min video, or as you are shot, knocked off-balance and stumble. You are left watching your arms and legs flail about as you fall to the ground, and holding the weapon out of the way as you do so, which is vastly different from the normal FPS games which normally show the weapon in a fixed position for such actions.
Dust, destruction & mayhem
With the huge amount of bloom lighting that is now being used, it shows off almost all the fine details that would normally be seen in an alley or stairwell (as seen on the right) late in an afternoon, with dust particles filtering through the light, and light refracting off glossy surfaces, all without that the ‘unreal’ super-shine-effect that the Unreal Engine 3 has become well renowned for.
• Battlefield 3 screenshot slideshow
Take a look at the 3 images below showing how the lighting is laid out in a single scene in this alleyway and you will get an idea of the amount of work that the engine goes into to deliver one single frame.
• Click to enlarge to 1280 x 760
One major thing that has surfaced for me especially, is that fact that such things can be done now on the consoles, while still delivering a large game with huge graphical (GPU) and CPU needs, without breaking the bank on the consoles’ power department.
In fact, DICE’s new Frostbite 2 engine uses far less power than before and manages CPU and GPU power much more effectively than most previous engines have, allowing the multi-threaded CPU’s of this generation consoles to be used to greater advantage than they were originally when first released in 2005/6 (X360/PS3).
Yes, I know DICE are using the PC as the lead platform, and a great deal more can be gained from the PC than a console- that is of course a given. I would not dare try to say otherwise.
But to ensure that gamers are not given the rough end of the stick, so-to-speak, DICE have insisted that both the PS3 and X360 platforms are not simple ports, but each are separate builds so as to extract the best each platform has to offer.
This allows each platform owner to gain the best experience without sacrificing quality and end-user experience. Of course, showing such dedication in production is a remarkable thing, which is certainly something to admire in a developer these days.
• Battlefield 3 storyboarding fun Click for 1280 x 760
We will continue to deliver more information on Battlefield 3 as we compile it, and follow the franchise properly so that you the gamer, can get a true understanding of what is going into the game you will be playing.
Battlefield 3 will be sitting next to the other iterations of its lineage on my shelves, as good games deserved to be owned, kept and re-played for years to come, and not bought for fleeting moments and then sold off like used clothing.
Highly Anticipated 5/5
©2011 Grant Smythe
• Battlefield 3 Screenshots Gallery
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