Battlefield 3 certainly looks like an impressive game though to be honest between testing and the frustrating setup process for each iteration, I've not had much of a chance to play it fully. From what I was able to gather, there is still much to be done. The lack of an in-game server browser is troubling, while the inability to change any settings without being in a game and spawned is just down right foolish.
Of course, there's a beta for a reason and we have to try and treat it as such. The night after the beta went live our editor Matthew DeCarlo organized a Friday Night Fragfest (we host such an event every Friday night), so I felt it was best to ask him about his impressions of the game.
Matt felt the game's graphics were great -- especially if the final version is going to be even better -- and that the audio was fantastic. However the gameplay could only be described as buggy. There were problems that caused people to glitch into things they shouldn't have, while the hit detection is also very poor. Matt wasn’t keen on the beta map either or the game mode which required too much crawling around and he went on… The menu system is best described as a cruel joke and he found the chat box oddly placed at the top and somewhat to the right of the screen making the chat UI feel amateurish.
In a nutshell, initial impressions on gameplay are not great but this is a very limited beta, so we will leave it at that. Still it's scary to think how much work DICE has yet to get done in less than a month for Battlefield 3 to succeed.
As for my impressions on how well the game performs, BF3 certainly looks great when using the high quality settings but I'm not sure the visuals justify ~50fps out of the GeForce GTX 580 at 1920x1200 and 45fps from the Radeon HD 6970. The ultra settings are not fully developed so I won't comment on them.
For a game that was seen utilizing six threads quite efficiently, we were pleased to see that the dual-core Phenom II X2 was just 20% slower than a similar configured quad-core processor.
It's been nice to see AMD and Nvidia competing so aggressively to deliver improved support and compatibility for Battlefield 3. Testing revealed that both Crossfire and SLI worked well, though every now and then flickering glitches were noticed when using either technology. A large number of gamers are reporting flickering issues with single GPU configurations as well, so this is another issue that will needed to be addressed before the game is released.
The Battlefield 3 beta has somewhat disappointed as we were hoping to see a more polished game just a month away from release. That said we'll reserve final judgment until then and expect a detailed performance analysis once Battlefield 3 is officially released.