Electronic ArtsDeveloped By:
1 (2-64 Online) Rated:
M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language) Release Date:
November 12, 2013Screenshots: Link Amazon: Buy Now! Written By:
Matthew PruntyNovember 11, 2013
- The Battlefield series has come a long way from a niche FPS shooter on the PC platform, to a bonified system seller that can stand toe-to-toe with any other FPS on the market. Not looking to rest on its laurels, EA and developer D.I.C.E. look to push the Battlefield series to new heights and secure itself as the “Premiere FPS Experience Available.” Did they succeed… yes and no. Unfortunately, while Battlefield 4 is indeed the best FPS to come out in 2013, it still suffers from a few setbacks; keeping it from reaching its true potential.
Battlefield finally makes its next generation debut for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles. This marks the first time that the PC experience has been brought to a home console without compromise. While PC hardware is always ever-changing, thanks to the forward thinking of both Microsoft and Sony, the limitations that were present within the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles all but gone. As a result, new gameplay possibilities become apparent and the gaming community as a whole benefits.
While Battlefield 4 could easily be a multiplayer experience only, the inclusion of the sing-player campaign; although short, is refreshing and aids in getting prepared for the online spectacle. The single-player campaign will set you back roughly 4-6 hours, depending on how you approach the game. In my first playthrough, I clocked in at around 10 hours. It wasn’t because I suck at shooters, but because I was trying to acquire all the collectables in the game within my first playthrough. The single-player campaign plays out in different locals around the world, mixing of the battle experience both on the ground and on the waters. One minute you can be traversing an open area with little cover, the next you could be navigating the city streets of Singapore or battling it out on top of an aircraft carrier. Because of this diversity, your approach to every battle must be thought out if you want to do the most damage, while limiting your likelihood of being K.I.A.
Within the single-player campaign, you are treated to three difficulty levels – Easy, Normal and Hard – that all provide the right amount of mayhem for gamers new and old to the series. An area of concern when it comes to shooters is how competent the computer A.I. is. The harder the difficulty level, the more intense and challenging the on-screen action is. What it all comes down to is paying close attention to your surroundings and utilizing your team effectively, which can result in a novice gamer being able to take on the hardest difficulty level and completing the campaign without too much frustration.
While some may argue that the Battlefield 4 campaign experience is a more polished version of Battlefield 3, you can’t deny that the moment to moment action in the game [Battlefield 4] is intense and invigorating. While it’s not always about re-inventing the wheel, refining and re-tooling the experience is key to creating an experience that is refreshing, though the battlefield remains the same. And this is where D.I.C.E. and Battlefield 4 excels.
As mentioned before, the limitations on hardware from the last generation are all but gone and now Microsoft and Sony are on equal footing with the likes of PC developers. Both the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game see a substantial improvement within performance and visual fidelity. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, but when you compare the next-gen versions of Battlefield 4 to that of the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, you clearly see a difference. Particle affects, lens flares, dynamic weather, dynamic lighting, ragdoll physics of the human body, etc. If it's in the PC version, it’s in the Xbox One/PS4 version. Attention was paid to every inch of the game; whether it was an important piece of the puzzle or not. For a third-party title, Battlefield 4 is one of the best looking games you can find on the Xbox One and PS4.
Equally impressive as the visuals, is the audio the aids to immersive you into the reality of an ever-changing battlefield. While I was fully aware that I’m playing a videogame, I couldn’t help but get lost into the moment. The sound of rushing water hitting the shore, seemingly endless rounds of gunfire, human cries in the background and buildings crumbling all around you adds to the atmosphere of the game. Voice acting is also top notch. Dialog is delivered convincingly, though there are a few moments where it’s hard to connect with key characters.
The meat and potatoes of Battlefield 4 is the multiplayer experience and is the experience you have been waiting for. Every online multiplayer match is unique and grueling when it comes to being the winning side. Vehicles like jets and tanks can turn the tide in a battle, clearing way for your ground troops to get in and secure the base and/or defend it from oncoming attacks. No longer can you hide behind a wall without worrying about the consequence of a barrage of fire power. How you approach each battle is up to you as your gear is fully customizable. Every decision you make before you load into the match and while on the battlefield, determines the outcome.
Being a lone wolf on the battlefield still has its perks for those who are well skilled, but going at it as a team is key to survival and experiencing the game as it was meant to be. Keeping your fellow teammate alive or doling out health and ammo packs can be key in capturing and keeping a base; even winning the battle. It may seem like I’m over-emphasizing the importance of decision making, but when you are in the middle of an epic battle and you have to decide between reviving a fellow comrade or go at it alone, you will see the importance of your actions.
The online multiplayer experience is divided into 10 gameplay modes – Conquest, Rush, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Squad Deathmatch, Square Rush, Obliteration, Defuse, Domination and Air Superiority – all of which offers something distinctive and intense. There is literally something for everyone in the Battlefield 4 multiplayer. Along with the gameplay modes, there are 10 maps made available day one that presents unique opportunities for each class – Assault, Recon, Support, Engineer and Commander– which keeps the on-screen action interesting and ever-changing. Commander, a new addition to Battlefield 4, allows you to survey the entire battle warring on the map and issue specific commands and attacks on behalf of your fellow troops. While this option does take you out of the hand-on battlement of the multiplayer, it lets you give you a better sense of the "bigger picture."
The best part about the online multiplayer experience is new to the series and is known as Levolution. The premise of this feature is that a catastrophic event occurs during the multiplayer match, which changes the battlefield experience for the better or worse; depending on how you adapt to the change. For instance, on the Siege of Shanghai map, there is a beautiful towering building in the middle the city. When Levolution is triggered, this tower building comes crashing down, altering the map and filling the surrounding area with dust and debris. Another example would be the Parcel Storm map, which starts our sunny before the weather shifts to a tropical storm. Upon completion of Levolution on this map, a giant naval ship crashes into land, wreaking havoc on the map.
Online multiplayer matches take on a new life of their own thanks to the inclusion of 64-players, as oppose to the 24-player battles on the Xbox 360 and PS3. The maps are the same size, but thanks to the additional bodies on the battlefield, there is always someone available to snipe, blow up with a claymore or simply run over with an atv. This is a good thing because on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, there are moments when everyone seems to be attacking one base, which thins out the rest of the map. I do have to address the elephant in the room, which are the EA/DICE servers used for the multiplayer portion of the game. Almost since day one, they have been very unstable resulting in you being kicked from the server or the game becoming unresponsive to your button presses while the game continues to go on around you.
D.I.C.E. set out to do one thing with the Battlefield series and that is tell a compelling story through epic events and sequences that help shape the battlefield. Many will find things to love about Battlefield 4, as well as hate, but at the end of the day, it’s one of the greatest first-person shooting experiences to grace the home console. With the single-player campaign being short and disjointed at times, the online multiplayer still with a few key buys needing to be ironed out, Battlefield 4 is still a technical marvel that will only get better with time. As with many things, time will definitely benefit this experience.8.5/
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