Battlefield 3 is just around the corner and it is one of the most wanted games for the end of 2011. There’s a beta running and players are able to see if their expectations correspond to the reality. It’s easy to see why it will be a great FPS and what other games, free-to-play or not, could learn from it.
Here are our suggestions:
Shape Up or Ship Out
When we think about the references in the free-to-play MMOFPS genre, names such as CrossFire, Combat Arms, Alliance of Valiant Arms and Project Blackout immediately spring to mind. However, most games look like the previous one and it all looks like a sea of clones. It’s time to stop acting like it’s 1998 and offer some great games, with powerful engines. Upcoming F2P games such as Blacklight Retribution (Unreal Engine 3), Hedone (Unreal Engine 3) or Warcry (CryEngine 3) prove that something is changing.
Use of Lighting
Lighting is something that is seldom used in free-to-play FPS games, and when it is used, it’s purely cosmetic. A lens flare here and there and that’s it. Battlefield 3 shows what you can do with some attention to detail to affect gameplay. For example, one can get blinded by the light coming from a flashlight. Who would have thought this could save your life in a game?
My weapon is so powerful that it can’t break a mere glass window or wooden chair. What’s the point in giving players a nice arsenal if it can only be used to shoot other characters? I want to be able to shoot other players through the wooden fence where I’m hiding, or blast open a door with a grenade, taking everything behind with it. That would open a lot of strategies, as Battlefield: Bad Company 2 players already know.
‘Sound’s Good to Me’
It really sounds like there is a war going on, with bullets flying and the sound adjusted to the different distances and weapons, jets soar the skies, radio communication sounds real and perfectly clear and Battlefield 3 is a great experience not only to look at, but also to hear. Sound needs more work in free-to-play MMOFPSs.
Who isn’t yet sick and tired of looking at the same animations for every single character in an MMOFPS? Worst still, most characters act like they have a (insert favorite pointy object here) stuck up their asses. A little more fluidity in the movement and reaction to the environment would go a long way to make a shooter stand out.
Large Scale Combat
MMO games such as Project Blackout and CrossFire are fun, but mostly the maps are contained spaces, without much going on and much space for imagination. Everything is seen and done in a whiff and while things remain fun, they should offer some larger maps for a different approach. Vehicles, of course, would be the icing on the cake, so that navigating the map never gets boring. And let’s not mention Battlefield Play4Free, a game that could be summed up as ‘a nice try’.