EA Inc.’s Battlefield 3 Multiplayer Beta for Sony Corp.’s Playstation 3 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox 360 flanked solid action in an online preview.

Battlefield 3 Multiplayer includes four classes – Assault, Engineer, Support and Recon. Each class includes a custom loadout with primary weapon, secondary weapon, gadget and two support items. Each user can join a four-player squad which will offer a band of brothers to stick to and spawn against.

Weapons include assault rifles and sniper rifles, while gadgets include medic kits, ammo kits, and even a rocket launcher for the Engineer class.

Default aim sensitivity is solid, with the ability to shoot with precision from near or far. Enemies can be difficult to spot due to camouflage and lack of enemy info until engaged.

Additionally, grenade tosses are precise and explosive with environmental damage that can reveal a hidden enemy.

Movement transition is flexible with the ability to run and dive into prone with the press of the right analog. A quick right analog press will change the stance to crawl for defensive positioning.

Support options are a necessity to win each round. Assault and Support classes have the ability to drop medic and ammo kits, respectively. Investing in each class earns points toward a class upgrade kit.

The beta map, Operation Metro, offers an outdoor urban location that subsequently routes to a dark and glaring subway station. In Rush mode, Attackers must arm and destroy specific targets, while Defenders must prevent or disarm pending attacks.

The action is quick and nasty with possible one-shot kills and the ability for campers to hide well without identifying markers.

The console graphics engine is solid at 30 frames-per-second. Though lower-resolution than recent trailers, the Frostbite 2 Engine offers detailed lighting effects, shadow effects, and environmental damage. Animation is a bit stiff as are some dexterity actions.

The sound engine is impressive with sharp bullet fire and bass-heavy explosives.

The beta held several glitches, including respawns in direct enemy fire, player ghosting, and collision detection issues. However, the online test did maintain speed throughout the 24-player match without server failures.

This week, customers who pre-order Battlefield 3 will receive an exclusive Dog Tag Pack.

In addition, pre-order customers will receive the Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand expansion pack free with the advanced purchase of the title.

Battlefield 3 includes the Frostbite 2 engine, online vehicle warfare with land, sea, and air vehicles, and combat across the U.S., Europe, and Middle East.

It will be released Oct. 25.

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