What they're doing visually in the PC version of Battlefield 3 often, often borders on ridiculous. I will sometimes just shake my head the screen, the nearly silent "oh, fuck you" tucked below Ventrilo's voice threshold. My experience with the beta wasn't especially positive; this wasn't one of those "betas" which are sometimes released, with the quotation marks firmly affixed. Performance concerns and general anxiety about its stability made me wary, but I'd already preordered it. Indeed, it was my preorder that gave me access to a beta that made me uneasy about my purchase! I was caught in a chronoloop. And then, after I'd secured the real thing, it wouldn't let me join any games ever, which made me snarl and stamp my hoof.
Ultimately, I fell back on my training.
Whatever demonic seal kept me from joining games was broken when I restarted my machine, and when I finally emerged from their browser joiny Battlelog thing, Facebook For Murderers, the game behind the deathless trailer assault, the prophecies, and years of expectations on simmer unfolded in front of me and I had to remember that breathing is a thing. I should do it.
Gabriel never took the Bad Company detour, even when I cranked the Persuador all the way up and set COAX to maximum. Underneath all the foofaraw, it was clearly a progression of the old ethos. Now, I might have liked Battlefield 2's six-person squads, its Chain of Command stuff, and its meta elements personified in a human Commander. But I always like that stuff, and I'm apparently the only one. The series has been in a slow process of distillation, generally for the better. Collapsing the Assault and Medic classes has been fascinating, for example.
I may get around to the campaigns at some point, but they're not why I purchased it, and performance there doesn't sufficiently feed into my multiplayer progression. I understand that it's whatever. I don't care.
Here's what I do care about: people are still, in 2011, driving a troop transport out of the base without actually transporting any troops. You're spawning in and being killed in less than a second, and there's the sometimes vague, not entirely satisfying gunplay. I imagine that the on the ground experience of warfare is vague and not entirely satisfying, so maybe this is a nod toward authenticity. All of the things that have made it so frustrating since the game was first compressed into an executable are still present, and they're are (almost without exception) the ramifications of the absolute freedom the game offers. The yawning width of possibilities at any given second are intoxicating; I accept their bargain.