I'm taking a bit of a breather from detailing problems with Battlefield 3 to spell out some of the bits that I think DICE got right, or at least significantly improved. In no particular order:
- The suppression mechanic. The BF games have always been good at giving you something to do even if you're not shooting at the enemy. This is a nice way to be doing something even if you're not hitting the enemy. And there's a point bonus for it. I was worried this would be irritating when I heard it described, but I think it works extremely well even if your accuracy stat suffers for it.
- The kill-assist mechanic. Much improved over Bad Company 2's "always get 20 points for an assist", you can now know how much damage you did to an enemy before someone else takes 'em down (and at what range). This is another way to gain feedback about your weapons' effects. Combined with the suppression bonus you can end up getting more for a suppress/assist than for an outright kill. More teamwork emphasis is a good thing.
- The weapon accessory system. You get a wide range of customization options on top of the already-varied weapon platforms. The amount of fine-tuning you can do with scope preference alone should be represented throughout the rest of the game.
- The camouflage system. It's a good start. I'd like to see the soldier customization options pushed even further. Knowing EA, this will mean paying for every little piece.
- Blood! I've always wanted to see more blood in BF games. In this one I've noticed you can leave a nice big splat on the wall when you shoot someone. I'd like even more blood if possible. Maybe not the amount that's in Gears, but enough that it doesn't feel cleaned-up.
- Traversal and vaulting. Significantly improved over older games. I still get stuck on weird geometry in the maps on occasion but I get a better sense of being able to get going with some speed when I need to. The vaulting over obstacles (while far from perfect) helps with this. I'd like more level obstacles to be more clearly vault-able or not vault-able.
- Balance. I don't envy the teams that have to tweak the post-launch balance on games. You can't please all the people, etc. That said, this game's probably as close to well-balanced at launch as I've seen. In BC2 there had to be hastily-applied nerfs for the M60 and AN-94. If there's a ridiculous touch-of-death weapon in BF3 I've yet to find it.
- Disabling vehicles. I wasn't sure what to think of this system, but it seems to be a nice grey area between "doing well in a vehicle" and "you are dead'.
- BattleLog. For the most part, I'm pleased with BattleLog. Some visual design issues aside (I'm a graphic designer, i'm going to pick everything apart by nature) I think it's doing what's intended for the most part. I'm not sure why it was going to be so difficult to build this stuff into the game, but there you go. BattleLog has so far won out over COD Elite by default. It would have been nice to have the two services competing and influencing each other.