Battlefield 3 is starting to feel more like a typical battlefield game and that's a good thing. The jury's still out as I've yet to play the mp fully: I've mainly been playing Caspian Border and have only played the other maps a couple of times each. But it looks good so far.
The maps are cleverly worked out it seems. They look nice in the main. People go down a lot quicker than they used to in BF2, it seems. I noticed that in the beta and it's a welcomed thing for me. Feels a little more visceral, that now you can't get away with being plastered with bullets and so have to adopt a little more caution. It makes you feel more honed, that you might get it at any minute - you can't just walk into bullets anymore.
I think the vehicle handling has gone right down hill though. Nothing feels real anymore. I know they must have been tweaking it post release and it's gotten worse not better.
You also have to unlock everything useful now and that includes smokes and distress flares for planes and helos as well as tanks. I am in two minds about this as it is excessive but it seems to work on one level. It's definitely more arcadey in presentation now, and largely thanks to some imitation of COD.
At the moment, flying the jets is largely a waste of time for me. All you've got is a machine gun and that's not much help really. I'm much better flying the helos but if you're quite low you're not going to last long. That's the same whoever's flying it seems as many times I've been gunner and we're lucky to stay up 10 seconds before someone disables the helo and of course, you only know about it when you realise the helo's out of control and crashing towards the ground.
Something funny happened whilst playing last night actually: I was jumping off a tall building and pulled my parachute only for it to open once I'd hit the ground. That made me chuckle though it wasn't much use to me after I'd landed in a crumpled heap. Would have been pure comedy to watch though.