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Gamescom: Battlefield 3 jets, night vision, co-op

Spend the next few minutes drooling over some delicious features for Battlefield 3 revealed today at the Gamescom show in Cologne, Germany.

All indications are pointing toward huge sales for Battlefield 3. DICE, EA

As if things weren't already going well enough with the next big game in the Battlefield franchise, wait till you see these new jaw-dropping visuals.

DICE and EA today revealed some lengthy hair-raising footage of Battlefield 3 at the Gamescom Expo in Cologne, Germany. The highly anticipated first-person shooter will be in open beta in September, while the official debut is set for October 25 for PC, Xbox 360, and PS3.

The press conference disclosed a previously unseen co-op mode mission for PS3 called "Exfiltration." Two players are trying to recover a high-ranking officer named El Zakir who recently defected from the PLR. There's a lot of close-quarters footage in the demo, which is mildly exciting but could be more compelling in harder difficulties. Players can revive each other, shoot primary weapons while down, or crawl away from battle during co-op. Combined final scores are shown later in Battlelog, a social-networking site for BF players.

This screenshot alone will probably sell a few more copies. Screenshot by Christopher MacManus/CNET

Leave it to DICE to surprise everyone with night vision scopes right around the time things start to get mundane in the demo. It was great to see them back; they're an item I have not seen in a BF game since Battlefield 2: Special Forces. Spicy caliente!

However, that footage was nothing compared with the compilation of alpha gameplay on the 64-player multiplayer map "Caspian Border" during the end of the presser. Rarely does gaming footage compel me, but when I saw this two-minute bonanza clip, the hair literally stood on my arms.

Jets are back, and they return in a huge way.

Yee-haw! EA, DICE

Not only are these planes extremely fast, they also have a highly realistic-looking cockpit and an external view that shines due to the Frostbite 2 graphics engine. The multiplayer map contains vehicles of many kinds, including helicopters, tanks, and jeeps moving forward across a large landscape in unison. This game is shaping up to be MAG on steroids with so much more. Wow.