The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Battlefield 3- Going Hunting

“Get your fangs out, Hawkins. We’re hunting big game today.” — The pilot in the beginning of the mission.

Hawkins meets up with her pilot below deck on the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, and is briefed on the mission ahead. The mission the pair had to complete was to conduct air strikes against military targets and neutralize Al-Bashir in Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, but the pilot noted that Iranian jets were already in the air. The pair make their way onto the flight deck where their F/A-18F Super Hornet is waiting. After completing the pre-flight checks, Shark 4-6 and their wingman, 4-2, take off from the carrier and climb up into the cloud layer, experiencing some minor turbulence, but break through above the cloud cover. However, 4-2 notices a radar contact, several miles out, without an IFF tone signalling they were friendly. Suddenly, two Iranian Su-35S fly past, firing cannon rounds towards the US jets. 4-2 and 4-6 break formation, with 4-6 going for one of the Iranian jets that had broken right, whereas 4-2 went for the one on the left. However, the Sukhoi that 4-6 was hunting down pulled off a Pugachev’s Cobra, managing to get behind 4-6 and starting its pursuit.

Hawkins now began to launch counter-measures to avoid the Iranian missiles. The pilot of 4-6 then bleeds the jet’s speed, bringing round the F-18 so that Hawkins can engage the Flanker with cannon and Sidewinder missiles. Engaging the Iranian jet, Hawkins destroys it, but not before the Iranian jet deploys flares to throw the aim off of some of the missiles that Hawkins fired. However, eventually the jet is destroyed, and 4-6 flies towards the dogfight between 4-2 and the remaining Su-35. Pulling up behind the Flanker, Hawkins engages and destroys the jet while 4-2 breaks away, before linking up again with 4-6. However, as the F-18s link up again, 4-2 is locked onto and destroyed by another pair of Su-35s, who lock onto 4-6 as well. Hawkins again deploys counter-measures, before engaging and destroying one of the Sukhois who had flown towards the port side of her jet. The second jet is also caught out and destroyed, and Shark 4-6 joins with the strike formation heading towards Mehrabad Airport. After taking out the jets, Hawkins flies towards Mehrabad Airport, tasked with clearing the airspace of ground threats so that the A-10s can launch their attack runs. Bulldog 3-2, however, is struck by AA fire, and is destroyed, prompting Hawkins to engage the SAMs with AGM-88 HARM missiles. Switching to the F-18’s targeting pod, Hawkins locks onto and fires three HARM missiles, destroying three SAM positions through heavy cloud cover.

Next, after seeing fuel tankers heading onto the main runway, Hawkins is told to lase Iranian jets for bombing runs by a flight of F-16s. Four parked Su-35s are targeted and destroyed, alongside three moving jets that were already fuelled and ready for take-off. With the airspace cleared, Reaper 1, the overall controller for the mission, spies three vehicles moving onto the runway, as well as a helicopter. As the helicopter lands, Reaper 1 identifies the occupants of the vehicles as including Al-Bashir, and tasks Shark 4-6 to engage and destroy the helicopter before it takes off. Lasing the area with the targeting pod, Hawkins calls in an A-10, Bulldog 3-3, to destroy the helicopter with cannon fire, which it does. Hawkins also directs Bulldog 3-3 onto the survivors of the airstrike, who were running for cover. Again, the cannon fire of the A-10 eliminates the runners. Reaper 1 calls a halt to the airstrikes, as friendly troops were moving into the area, and 4-6 is directed back to the USS George H.W. Bush, landing on the carrier without mishap after dark.

  • Battlefield 3 sets the player in the roles of several individuals: Hawkins is a weapons officer that only makes one appearance and has no speaking roles in Battlefield 3, and in Battlefield 4, she has the callsign Firebird 2-1, sent to extract Tombstone from Baku.

  • That lighting is really something else: The dreary greys and whites are offset by the vivid reds and yellows of the signals and jackets worn by flight deck staff. For those curious, the link points to an anime I watched last year, called Vividred Operation, a successor of sorts to Strike Witches that featured the equivalent of magical girls. The series ended up being pure entertainment despite lacking a purposeful story, although in retrospect, I think I preferred the setup in Strike Witches a little more than that in Vividred Operation.

  • Every time I get into the driver’s seat of any vehicle, I have the habit of doing a sort of pre-drive check that I learnt to do so while taking driving lessons. Hawkins is tasked with checking the aircraft flaps and stablisers, then warming up the weapons and countermeasures. I adjust my seat, check all of the mirrors, disengage the handbrake, shift into the correct gear, signal and shoulder check before pulling out. When Battlefield 3 was released, my license was only five months old, and I was still very much a novice when it came to driving.

  • The takeoff sequence is very cinematic and is set to the Battlefield Main theme. It’s easily one of the best moments in the game and sets the mood for “Going Hunting”. On the soundtrack, there’s also a song called “Hunter’s Point” for the dogfight sequences. Setting this song on infinite loop provides an incredible mood for getting some serious work done.

  • PLR fast air are already up and running by the time Shark 4-6 and Shark 4-2 are up in the air. After being engaged by a squadron of Su-35 aircraft, one of the fighters executes a Pugachev’s Cobra and downs 4-2. In a harrowing few moments,  Hawkins is ordered to dump flares to shake off enemy missile locks. The Su-35 is armed with a GSh-301 30mm autocannon, which is highly accurate and can shred enemy aircraft with as few as three rounds. Given that flares disrupt its missiles, I surmise that the SU-27s in Battlefield 3 are equipped with R-73 heat-seeking missiles.

  • Once the targeting HUD comes up, it’s time to give the enemy aircraft a taste of their own medicine. The F/A-18 is equipped with a M61 Vulcan and AIM-9 Sidewinder. Compared to the Su-35, the cannon on the F/A-18 fires smaller rounds at a higher rate, giving it a higher damage potential over time. As for the missiles, I’ve heard that the R-73 has the longer range and superior warhead, while the AIM-9 has better tracking and maneuverability.

  • In terms of gameplay, however, the missiles will definitely get the job done, and it is quite enjoyable to splash the enemy fighters. Once the fighters are down, Shark 4-6 is joined by some A-10 Thunderbolts, and Hawkins is asked to designate targets on the ground.

  • Before any of the A-10s can engage, the anti-air SAMs must be taken out: this is done using anti-radiation missiles. Once these installations are destroyed, taxiing fighters need to be taken out. The A-10s will take over, and all the player needs to do is mark the targets.

  • The trick to beating this part is to keep the reticle steady over the intended targets until it is clear that the A-10s have strafed their targets, and the red indicators disappear. It is curious to note that even if there are targets outside the path of the gunfire, they will all disappear for no reason after one strafing run. This “bug” is likely a time-saving measure.

I can’t quite recall where I said this, but once, I noted that I love rail shooters: while someone else is driving, all I’m concerned with are the weapons systems. After some players interpreted “jet gameplay” to include the campaign, there was much disappointment when the only jet mission was a rail shooter, being abstracted to being the weapons officer of an F/A-18 Super Hornet. For me, however, it represented a chance to let someone else do the driving, and make full use of the F/A-18 Super Hornet’s weapons and countermeasure suite. After a harrowing dogfight with enemy fighters, the targeting pods are used to designate ground targets. “Going Hunting” is one of the easiest missions in Battlefield 3, and feels like an interactive movie. The mood, atmospherics and immersion meant that I was feeling like a weapons officer; the turns and rolls gave me a sinking feeling in the stomach (any time I jump from a height in a game, I get that). Paired with the gorgeous graphics, “Going Hunting” was a mission I enjoyed thoroughly. The next mission returns the player into Blackburn’s shoes, but before I go there, I’ll make a quick detour about the release of the Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion movie.

14 responses to “Battlefield 3- Going Hunting

  1. Wild Goose January 13, 2014 at 01:17

    Generally, I think the reason most people hated Going Hunting was because it was a rail shooter, and your pilot did everything. I was disappointed for another reason – I thought Going Hunting was a taste of what a 2-man Rhino crew could do in MP. Alas, it wasn’t to be.

    Having said that, however, Going Hunting is a tremendously cinematic experience. Working through the preflight checks, launching, and then turning to head to the strike target while the Battlefield 3 theme kicks in was an awesome cinematic experience. Nothing of note actually happened… but damn if that wasn’t an atmospheric ride.

    Still, if you like rail shooters, you’re going to LOVE the Co-Op mission Fire from the Sky, where the two players act as the pilot and gunner of a Super Cobra. It’s tremendously good fun, and I wish there were more Cobra missions.

    There are some errors, of course, being concessions to gameplay – while both pilot and RIO can cue the gun, that’s usually the pilot, and of course the gun can’t track targets. That said, both pilot and RIO can cue the Sidewinders – the AIM-9X has off-bore lock-on – and countermeasures, and of course the backseater is responsible for deploying weapons while the pilot flies.

    All in all, this is the first mission that really grabbed my interest and made me really seriously play BF3. Sadly, BF4 didn’t have any similar missions that grabbed my attention in the same way.

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  2. cheesecake January 13, 2014 at 04:01

    I know I stopped playing BF3 for some time now, yet till that time, I really never had the chance to learn to fly the jet. LOL.

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    • Wild Goose January 13, 2014 at 08:08

      I sucked hard at jet combat, since there’s a steep learning curve and all. Ground combat is a bit more even, lol.

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      • infinitezenith January 13, 2014 at 11:34

        Training on an empty server is probably the best way to get familiar with the controls: on most servers, stats are disabled if there aren’t enough players, so one can go in and quit without affecting anything, while continuing to train. I might do so at a later time, since I’m having too much fun in the Noshahr Canals right now.

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      • cheesecake January 13, 2014 at 20:40

        Well unless you are pitted against high level people with more high level guns than you lol.

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        • infinitezenith January 13, 2014 at 21:17

          The guns actually don’t really matter within a class too much; for instance, most of the assault rifles for the assault class do similar damage, and the same holds true for the carbines. Of course, some weapons are more powerful, but that doesn’t matter if you can locate an enemy and shoot first. The different weapons have slightly different statistics and accommodate different play-styles. For that reason, a skilled player can utterly dominate using the weapons unlocked by default, and similarly, a novice like myself can bring down higher-ranked players. It comes down to team effort, and in deathmatch, getting the jump on one’s opponents.

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          • Wild Goose January 15, 2014 at 01:02

            So true. I guess in the end, my feet are firmly planted on the ground. If god meant for men to fly, he’d have given us wings. Or brooms. Or Striker Units. Which is why the girls get them. :p

            But for some reason, I just kinda had a knack with shotguns that I didn’t _quite_ have with other weapons. Probably because of the short range focus, and my habit of holding down a high traffic chokepoint on Noshahr – the U-shaped alcove that’s more or less the middle of the map, which gives the best T-UGS coverage after the crane (a crane-planted T-UGS can cover spawns and movement at the crane and barges, while the U-alcove sees the most foot traffic in the map). The Saiga – and later the USAS-12 – were great fun. Though this isn’t the glory days of FRAG-12 rounds, which were pretty much death and suppression incarnate…

            Some people say that a PDW or Shotgun-toting Recon is playing it wrong – I say that’s playing it fun. :p That’s one reason I was thinking of getting BF4 – Recon players now get access to carbines, which would give more options in combat. I can’t tell you how many times I longed for a SG553 or SCAR-H to help me out…

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            • infinitezenith January 15, 2014 at 10:00

              Striker units would be hard on the gentlemen for obvious reasons. I’ve paired the PDWs with Recon class before. It gives the recon class far more mobility and versatility for spotting stuff (i.e. if I place my T-UGS down and come under fire, a UMP or PP-2000 is going to save me, whereas a bolt-action rifle won’t unless I’m super skilled). For me, it’s about having fun, and I’m having the most fun when I’m living to see my team efforts pay off🙂

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      • cheesecake January 13, 2014 at 20:40

        Fly then… nose dive. haha

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        • Wild Goose January 15, 2014 at 18:43

          PDW+ Recon = Fun.😄

          The more I talk about this, the more I think I ought to reinstall BF3 and get on Co-Op so I can help you unlock some of the Co-Op reward guns – the MP7 is a great handy little PDW that’s relatively quickly unlocked from Co-Op… though we’ll probably need Skype to coordinate, since BF3’s voice chat is riduculously non-existent.

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          • cheesecake January 15, 2014 at 19:58

            unfortunately, I am on the PS3 version of it.😀

            I could say I am good in FPS games. It is just that it was my first time playing FPS (using BF3) on a console so it was quite an adjustment from a PC player. I forgot my level (stats) in BF3 but I guess I made a quite a progress. It is just hard right now to make time for games in general now being a family man.

            Now I miss being a student who has a lot of time lol.

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          • infinitezenith January 20, 2014 at 22:27

            I would like that if possible…of course, I don’t even have a microphone. For online games, I sense what my team needs and do that for them, but I’m guessing that won’t do it in Co-op mode…

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  3. bryan May 23, 2016 at 09:40

    wow..i like this level bacause i drive the super honet F18 like real strike…5 star I give..to this BF3;0

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