While narratives have never really been DICE's strong suit, Battlefield 4, the next entry in its popular series of shooters, at least takes things in the right direction. While Battlefield 3 delivered an incredibly boring campaign that bordered on dreadful at times, the new entry at least seems like it tried.
The story is not wholly impressive. It features a villain with few defining qualities, apart from being a villain. He is talked about frequently, but only ever appears twice. The antagonist hails from China, rather than Russia as has been the tradition of late. Russia does appear as an enemy in the game, but it is brief. Luckily though, this game spends more time with China. As a result, it provides some exceptional graphical flair, like the night time panoramic visual splendour that is Shanghai.
As to be expected, through the course of the story, pretty much everything that you come across explodes. It might be instant. It might already be in the process of doing so as you get to it. Sometimes it might take a while. Just know that it will explode. There are occasional breathers in between explosions, offering the opportunity for gorgeous visuals. Emotions and sad situations are thrown in too, but their effectiveness is spotty at best.
The campaign offers varied locations, excellent level design, and looks pretty, but still manages to feel dated. Many of the set pieces are things that have already happened in other military shooters. One level in particular feels extremely similar to the stage in the Gulag in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Mainstays of the genre like stealth segments make appearances. Unfortunately, vehicle combat (a specialty of the series) is criminally underutilised in the campaign, only really offering one level for you to have a go with a tank.
DICE has always been one of, if not the best, in the industry when it comes to audio design, and this title is no exception. While the game's score is okay, it doesn't really add anything to the experience. The audio design, however, is astounding. Buildings falling apart. Towers toppling over. Distant pops of gunfire. It has never sounded better, and is one of the strongest aspects of the game.
If we're going to be honest, though, people don't really play Battlefield for its campaign. There's one thing that has kept this series around this long: the multiplayer. And there is a clear-cut winner between the generations. While the PlayStation 3 version feels like an iterative jump forward, the next-gen version of Battlefield feels, well, next-gen. The game can now accommodate the same number of players as the PC (64 in select playlists), and the visuals come close to matching high-end PCs. In particular, the lighting on the PlayStation 4 is truly incredible.
The multiplayer component is exceptional, offering a widely expanded array of weapons and gadgets to work with. Re-tooling of progression, such as being awarded new weapons by getting kills with other weapons of a similar type speeds up the process. The new interface for class customization thrives. While not perfect, it makes everything more readily visible. It offers a great step forward from Battlefield 3, which had a time consuming, cluttered interface.
New vehicles, new locales, and new maps abound, offering a nice variety of new toys to play with. Map design has always been one of the series' strongest areas, and Battlefield 4 indicates that this trend will be continuing for the foreseeable future.
A nice feature making a return is Commander Mode, which has been absent since 2006's Battlefield 2142, in which each team has a "commander" who micromanages the entire battlefield, pointing out enemies to the team, keeping their troops in supply, or launching tomahawk missiles at the battlefield.
Series mainstays like Rush, Conquest, and Air Superiority make returns (as expected), alongside more classic playlists like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Territories (Domination), and Capture the Flag. Joining these game modes are newcomers Obliteration and Defuse. Obliteration is a neutral bomb game type that offers a quicker pace than some of Battlefield's slower options. Meanwhile, Defuse is an infantry only playlist in which there is no respawn. This playlist seems to encourage camping, and all-in-all isn't terribly fun, especially for a game like Battlefield. Series mainstays like Rush are the best option, especially given the support for 64 players, which drastically improves the experience.
Unfortunately at launch, the multiplayer is full of issues. Some game types are completely inaccessible, while some are only accessible by a few gamers, creating pitifully small lobbies. Others, meanwhile, function normally. Conquest only works on occasion, for example, whereas Team Deathmatch performs without issue consistently. DICE has acknowledged these issues, and is actively working on fixing them, promising a week of Double XP as an apology.
The fact remains that, in spite of these issues, Battlefield can pride itself on being able to offer a lot more depth than many of its competitors, and brings with it some features that you can't experience in quite the same way anywhere else. This comes in the form of "Levolution", the phrase coined to describe the dynamic changes that can occur on the maps mid-game, such as players bringing a rather large skyscraper down in the middle of the game, or obliterating a dam, and having the destruction subsequently flood the lower portion of the map, allowing you to swim through areas that you had previously been walking through. The system works beautifully, and offers some truly dynamic, map altering 'wow' moments, that would be worth just sitting there watching if it didn't mean that you would probably get your head shot off.
A lacklustre campaign shouldn't stand in your way of experiencing Battlefield 4's top of the line multiplayer. While it can't quite shake the feeling of being an iterative entry in the series rather than truly revolutionary, it does enough new things, and sees the return of enough fan favourites that it shouldn't go unnoticed. Next-gen visuals and 64-player online combat mean that if you don't want to sink money into a high-end PC, this is without a doubt the best way to play DICE's latest destructive hit.
I think it's about time the FPS genre starts to fade a little bit, we look everywhere and we have military shooters that differ little from one another
These games are good but with so many releasing every year I feel it kills the gaming comunity, specially because they only focus on multiplayer, something that barelly existed on consoles 10 years ago
But before you start raging on me understand this, I'm not saying it's a bad genre and that multiplayer shouldn't exist but I believe I'm not exagerating. Let the genre rest for a bit and focus on other types of game that have faded in these last few years
@WCamicase The thing is, these games keep selling and are extremely popular, so they're not going to stop coming into the sales dip. I do agree that the genre needs refreshing, though. Titanfall is supposed to do that, but sadly we won't be playing it.
@get2sammyb You're right, not that it bothers me that much, FPS games I only play to pass time, gaming for me needs a story and characters that I create bonds with. For that reason I tend to preffer RPG's.
As a gamer though I play almost every genre, but I feel most of them are suffering because of FPS games, every company wants to have it's own and the industry is getting "over populated" with shooters.
That's why I have been supporting Indies and those companies that stay true to themselves, those games turn out original or at least more entertaining to me.
Also the community in those games tends to be quite bad, at least my brother has the decency of mutting all those 12 year old, even though he's 13 LOL
I was more interested in the campaign.
Cant wait to give this a try on Friday!
@WCamicase I totally agree that genre could do with a refresh! I tend to pick up each Battlefield (I've played them all since Battlefield 1942!), but outside of that, not many shooters appeal to me. I totally get where you're coming from! That's why I try to spend most of my time with Indie's!
@odd69 Anything in particular I left out that you were curious about?
@WCamicase I've always played fps games, from Dark Forces to MoH1 to CS, and I'm not sick of it at all. It's revitalizing to play BF4, it's like coming up for beautiful ambiently occlusive air after a life-long bad-graphics free dive. Why would fps and RPGs be mutually exclusive, either? Room for all : )
I love the sound second only to visuals. So dynamic and accurate as to gunfire's direction that you can actually find snipers. What a good game, especially after they fix all this server ish.
We need more "historical" warfare, WW2, Vietnam or something else entirely!
Not that much into FPS and never played my PS3 online. Last time I played any game online was quake 3 arena on dreamcast. I'm going to try and get back into the online multiplayer malarky on my PS4 though.
I was going to get this for this friday for my PS4, but the amount of people who are having trouble with it has put me off so i'll wait until its patched before i buy BF4.
So basically what I'm getting from everyone is....
Hold on off on buying this for a while.
I'm not even really in to FPS, I just play them from time to time. Action-Adventure will always be my Soul Genre.
@banacheck The server and technical issues are a little more stable now, and the plan is for a patch to be rolled out in the coming days, so if you were still planning on getting it for Friday, then it's entirely possible the game will be a-okay at that time.
Thanks, thats good to hear i'll have to pick it up on friday.
it was a thorough review. I was just kinda hoping for a meaty campaign,something as fleshed out as the multiplayer sounds. This franchise is well known for a decent online multiplayer game which kinda makes me atleast want to try it. I'm not sure if i want to purchase it though.
@gbanas92 Good review! And I love the reference to the Big Lebowski in the tag-line...or am I wrong?
Ah, I misinterpreted! Yeah, the multiplayer is pretty great. It offers a lot of depth. But I was able to beat the campaign in one setting, and it wasn't really even an extended period of playing!
Yeah! It was a Big Lebowski reference! You got it!
@WCamicase i agree, need more 3rd person shooters imo. Or hybrid ones at least.
@gbanas92 "That's like...your oppinion, man..."
@get2sammyb Why not? Don't you have a descent PC? If so, it is likely the superior version of Titanfall is there.
Tap here to load 20 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...