Battlefield 3 is a squad based first person shooter where teamwork isn't just helpful, but necessary. If you don't work with a team than the game can actually be quite frustrating, but it is nice to see a change of pace from the usual lone wolf style of gameplay. My favorite part of the game is the way it feels. Battlefield 3 is one of the best feeling shooters that I have played. There is just the right amount of recoil on the guns and the movement is the best I have ever seen in a shooter. You can move over any object by simply pressing the space bar, and there isn't the annoyance of having a short amount of time to sprint. You can sprint infinitely which is required in this game because the maps are so absolutely huge. The map design does cause some frustrating moments where you have been running for the last minute only to be sniped in the ass, but the pros far outweigh the cons. You can easily flank any enemy with the help of your squad and sniping is very fun when you have this much space to work with. Having problems with some asshole campers? Just attack a completely different side of the map and avoid them all together.
The gameplay is solid, but not perfect. There are bugs and spawn camping is still a concern, but those are things that can be ironed out before the game releases.
There is only one map in the Beta called Operation Metro. The map doesn't contain vehicles, but still captures a lot of the Battlefield gameplay that we have come to enjoy. The map so far is only showcasing the Rush mode. Rush mode should be familiar to those who played it in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. It's basically a capture the objective mode, where there are attackers and defenders. There are two objectives at a time. Once the both are captured, the attackers move up and the defenders run for their lives. Once the attacker's respawns are depleted the defenders win. In the first phase of Rush mode, the map is incredibly open and filled with greenery and lighting effects that rival the latest Gears of War. Once the first two objectives are captured, a mortar strike will reveal an abandoned subway station, which brings the battle to a much more linear and fast pace. After two phases in the subway the battlefield opens up again. This time with buildings to capture, which can change the tide of the fight immensely.
The map is well designed and very fun. There aren't any vehicles or other game modes to try out, but I have played this one map for four hours and I can't wait to get back to it.
The game is running on DICE's new Frostbite 2.0 engine and looks and sounds great. The lighting is as good as I've seen in a video game, and the sound of gunfire and shots whizzing past your ear is top notch. There are however, some problems with the game. (Maybe it is a real beta after all.) I have occasionally been able to see through the ground while going prone and the destruction doesn't seem to be as prevalent as it was in Bad Company 2. The menu interface (Battle Log) is very helpful and makes viewing stats, getting with friends, (assuming you have any friends on Origin) and getting into matches is extremely fast, usually taking about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Problems aside, this seems to be one of the better looking and better sounding games of 2011.
The beta plays very well. There are some major graphical hiccups and the game becomes very frustrating when you are alone, but it's some of the most fun I've had when working with a team. Battlefield 3 feels better than any shooter since Counter Strike: Source, and the graphics and sound, (When they are working) add to this already exciting experience. I'm not saying that the game is the second coming, but I am more excited for the game now, than I was before playing the Beta, and that is saying something.