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Battlefield-ish shooter World War 3 makes its early access debut

Tactical grey fatigues are in vogue this autumn

I'm not entirely sure why, but there are some people who really liked the Battlefield games when they were at their most gritty and pseudo-realistic. World War 3, released into early access today and developed by Necrovision studio The Farm 51, is for them. Destructible maps of Warsaw, Berlin and Moscow, customisable guns and a realistic armour system for both infantry and vehicles give this one its own distinct edge. Below, the release trailer, featuring some guns that probably don't explode like that in the game itself.

World War 3 seems to be building on top of the foundation laid by Battlefield 4. Massive structures, messy vehicular combat, long sight-lines, and the possibility for one soldier hidden in the right place to do astonishing damage to an opposing force. The current version contains two game modes - Warzone, based on the traditional Battlefield capture-and-hold formula, and Recon, a more tactical close combat mode with smaller squads. The store page also talks about a class-free customisation system, grimly stating "If it’s possible in real life, it’s possible in World War 3". Yikes.

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Personally, its all a bit grey and dusty for me. While I only got to play a few rounds of it in beta, Battlefield 5 won me over with its more visually parseable conflicts, even if it comes at the expense of authenticity. Still, I can see what they're going for here, and the fact that Battlefield 4 remains a well-populated game suggests there's an audience there. They're going to have to wait a while for World War 3's final release, though. The Farm 51 estimate that there's at least another year of development ahead of them, maybe 16 months. There's a lot yet to do.

The current release of the game includes three maps, and a basic set of equipment and vehicles to use on them. Balance will be the main focus of this first round of early access testing, but there's a lot still in development, including vehicles, maps, units, weapons and game modes. I'm interested to see how the proposed strategic layer of the game works, where individual matches swing the balance of power on a war map. Talk of bonuses awarded for strategic level progress makes me a little wary, but I'll be impressed if they pull it off without breaking balance.

World War 3 is out now in early access for £24/€25/$28, and you can find it here on Steam.

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