By now, we've probably all seen the various "Fault Line" trailers, which have been published by EA DICE over the past few weeks to showcase the Frostbite 2.0 engine on Battlefield 3. If you haven't, there are three parts. Part One shows off the start of a mission, which then ends up in a small fire-fight. Part Two showcases some of the game's destruction, as the group attempt to take down a sniper. And Part Three depicts a much larger battle, where you're asked to hold off an incoming group of insurgents.
What most of you won't have done though, is see this all on a ridiculously huge TV, or experienced it through a massive 5.1 surround sound system that makes the floor vibrate. And you most definitely won't have seen it running live, without the various cuts in the trailers.
The "Fault Line" trailers are impressive, but they really don't do the game justice. It's only once the shackles come off that the engine really shines and you can see the scope of what's truly possible. At the end of the first trailer, there is a fire-fight in a car park. It's actually quite a lengthy one too and those vehicles can be blown up. You'll have to take out that guy who fires the RPG and his buddies too, all while being put under fire from insurgents on the ground.
The end of this fight, when there's no action taking place, showcases something else entirely - the sheer scope of the game's lighting engine. Huge plumes of black smoke rise from vehicles which bit the dust during the fight. And just seeing the sun trying to shine through is breathtaking.
Similar points are featured in second trailer. You've fired an RPG at the hotel to kill the sniper and you've seen a lovely explosion; it doesn't stop there though. The hotel ends up with a massive hole in the middle of it, with debris flying everywhere - it really shows off the engine's destructive capabilities. Unfortunately, this destruction will be limited to set pieces, not everything will be destructible.
The third trailer has some brief melee, which highlight the QTE mechanics and how unobtrusive they are. Appearing in the corners of the screen using the existing HUD, the focus stays purely on the action. As with a real fight, you have to use your peripheral vision in order prevail against your foe. Once you do, things really start cooking. Insurgents are taking on the bridge, and it's really up to you how you want to defend it. You can try to stay down below, taking pot shots, or you can go all Rambo style on the bridge.
What's rather special though, is how many cars you can blow up, and what happened at the end. The trailer teased a bit of an earthquake, but we were able to see a lot more. The chopper, seen just a bit before, is trying to take down insurgents, but then the quake hits. What happens after? A building comes crushing down on the chopper, and is flying towards you too - what a cliffhanger!
Will Sergeant Black make it out alive? Who knows, as there will be multiple characters to play as throughout the campaign. It's become a bit of a cliche, and it's a bit disappointing that DICE has decided to take this route. But they want to let you experience other things too, to help you get into the multiplayer, so you'll also be doing things like flying jets as you play through.
It really takes something special to leave an entire audience stunned. But despite seeing the Fault Lines trailer prior, seeing it live was really something else. Medal of Honor didn't really do the business in terms of quality, but with Battlefield 3, EA really has a game that will be defining for all the right reasons. As the former CEO of DICE said - Battlefield 3 will "Blow Us Away".