It will be more than a prettier BF2. Destruction, and vehicles that don't feel like they float above the ground will be in, if BFBC2 is any indication. The vehicles in BF2 where simply awful. In BC2 it actually feels like your vehicle is touching the ground. There are also two sets of animations in BF3... while they are incorrect, it will be an improvement over BF2 and BC2.
Even if not realistic, I do like the destruction in BC2. Rockets are actually useful for taking out structures where infantry is hiding.
I am sure the jets will be awful as in BF2... they should just remove them from the game (BF3).
But to say that BF3 will simply be BF2 with prettier graphics is just not right. It will be an improvement in some areas, and a step back in others (no mod support ect.).
That's all tech though, all related to the game beeing on a much newer game engine.
And whilst i don't mean to downplay the importance of engines, it's a very good thing they are evolving and becoming more capable, but truth be told, we expect them to, and any game would benifit from moving on to more capable tech, not just the BF series, and it really is a sepperate issue to the creative process of game design (yes yes, one might put some limits on the other, that's true, but they are still not the same thing).
It is with game design i see nothing new, i just see new tech on display here, the physics engine, the graphics, and that's pretty much it really, and thease are advancements that are a given when any game jumps to a better game engine, HoS will have improvements like that too, just because it's on a better engine than Ost was, it comes naturally with the territory, and is expected.
What i don't see is any creative innovation to improve upon the gameplay, take something like how people will get to take the Jets for a spin, a constant problem in BF2 as anyone could, and people would trample over eachother to get there first.
I see no attempt to fix that, and come up with a new way to do it.
I see no new combat mechanics, or even any attempt to rethink and improve upon them, it all looks perfectly standard.
I see nothing really new about the vehical combat, it's just powered by a better physics engine now, but how is it anything new?
And i could go on, but the point should be made by now, aside from the better tech used, what's really new about this title? How is it a generation leap in anything but the tech it uses?
I guess we could debate that the SP campaign is the new thing, in so far as it beeing new to the Battlefield brand name.
But then, it's not really all that new, Bad Company brought it to the series, and besides that, it looks so very Call of Duty, IE, been there and done that, so that's quite open to interpritation.
It could also be argued that the destruction system goes beyond just beeing tech, in that it is integrated into the gameplay in a big way.
But then i would argue: How is that new this time, compared to when BC2 introduced it to the series? Isen't BC2 the one that deserves credit for that? BF3 might make better use of it, but that's how it goes with tech, it usually gets better, so as an innovation, i'd say BC2 get's the honours there, not BF3.
What can we really point to here, and say "This really is something new!", without having to admit that we kinda expected it to be, because the game is run on much better tech now..