First thing is first, I haven't played the beta because EA servers hate xbox players right now. I can't blame the game for that. And right now all I can go on are the videos, impressions, and posts I've read. Still I have some thoughts.
-Betas are demos now. Technically they're not supposed to be. They should be used to find bugs and glitches and smash them out. However, we live in the day and age of A.D.H.D. where people play a game for 10 minutes and immediately decide whether or not they like it. There is no such thing as a fair chance. There is no such thing as "Stick around, things will get better" So, if your company puts out a beta, it had better be good because your 15-25 year old is going to judge your entire game on the preview they get. Sad but true
-No/Limited vehicles and a small map was a dumb idea. Infantry combat has always been the bane of the BF series. I'm speaking as someone who has played infantry in every single BF game. By that I mean I tend to stay out of vehicles and hoof it. And by every single BF game I mean every, single, BF game, ever. That being said, the infantry fighting has always felt a little off. It's hard to describe it, but it was never quite right. Still, it was fun to be able to sneak around and go where tanks and APCs couldn't and wreck the enemy team. I know the heart of BF, though, is its large scale vehicular combat with infantry as support. So who thought it would be a grand idea to pull Op Metro for the beta map? Close quarters fighting without vehicle involvement? Yeah that's what BF is about. Sure Strike at Kirkland from BF2 was a fun map, but that was because it was a change of pace...and even it had tanks.
-What's the big deal again? In the past few months there has been a lot of talk about how great BF3 was going to be and how MW3 was just a giant rehash of older CoD games. While the latter may be true, and so might the former, I don't get all the hullabaloo over BF3 from anyone who has played BF:BC2. Seriously, what have they changed? Is it prettier? Sure...on the PC. More players? Sure...on the PC. New weapons? I'm sure, but that's why people are ragging on CoD. From what I've seen (and I've only seen this in videos, again, because of the terrible map choice) they've added jets. Woo. I'm not a fanboy of either series, I enjoy them both for what they both offer, but I do feel like I should point out this giant double standard in fanboy logic.
TL;DR- From what I've seen of BF3 it didn't deserve all the hype. It might be a great game, but EA/Dice has made some decisions that keep us from finding that out. I'm hoping it's great, because I love the BF series. Still, don't be surprised when the 8 week old build featuring a completely non-BF style map causes a bunch of kids to drop their pre-orders and run.