Reviewed on: PlayStation 3
Also available on: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed by: Brady Ruiters
Battlefield 4 has hit the shelves recently and promises to deliver its successful formula of large scale warfare mixed and realistic gun physics, while adding in a few upgrades to the existing package. The result is a consistently enjoyable multiplayer experience that falls short in the campaign while also suffering from a few bugs and glitches.
The story in the single player campaign follows the exploits of a United States special operations squad with the callsign of “Tombstone”. The playable character is a part of this squad and goes by the name of Sergeant Recker. The story takes place in 2020; with tension running high between the USA and Russia. Added to that is the fact that China is also on the brink of war, putting the United States in a very vulnerable position. Tombstone Squad ends up in a whirlwind of trouble – taking them to various parts of the globe.
The single player campaign is enjoyable at first but really becomes a little repetitive as the story progresses. It also becomes rather tedious when it becomes apparent that the characters in the story are really one dimensional and have no real personalities, except during certain segments where humorous banter comes into play. The campaign does shine at some points when the game throws the player into some awesome set-pieces and it’s not making the player navigate what seem like somewhat decent shooting galleries. However, it won’t hold the player for too long and will most likely leave them itching to hit the multiplayer.
Gameplay is still good and remains largely the same as its predecessor, aside from a few subtle changes to the controller scheme. Battlefield 4 still handles really well and brings back its realistic gun physics seen in previous titles. The game also retains its dynamism when it comes to combat as destructive objects remain an ever present part in the game’s formula. However, in Battlefield 4, it plays an even bigger role as certain destructible objects can turn the very tide of battle if used correctly. The game is still very strategic and is less of a run-and-gun experience. Players will find that they will get gunned down more often than not when rushing into a firefight.
Multiplayer is where Battlefield 4 shines. The mode still has its strategic combat, large maps and vehicular mayhem, and these features all come together quite nicely and show off what makes the Battlefield series so popular. All the regular modes such as Rush, Conquest and Team Deathmatch are present and are complemented by some well-designed maps. A new mode entitled Obliteration sees opposing teams fight for possession of a bomb which must then be used to destroy 3 enemy positions. It can be quite a frantic mode despite being very back and forth in nature. It’s a mode where vehicles will come into play a lot because of how quickly they can traverse the landscape. Another new mode by the name of Defuse focuses on a team that has to destroy an enemy position with a bomb while the opposing team defends the marked positions. The only real differences between this mode and Obliteration are that in Defuse the maps are much smaller and that a player will not respawn after being killed. Communication is very important during this mode and choosing the right loadout for the match is key.
As mentioned before, destructibility plays a much bigger role in the game than just looking pretty or getting the opposition out of cover. It is now possible to topple entire high-rise buildings when destroying key structural points. Moves like this can turn the battle around as it destroys a possible sniper post and the rubble can provide some temporary cover. This is also possible on another map called “Floodzone”. However, instead of a building falling down, a dam wall can break which floods the map. It’s this dynamic kind of multiplayer experience that makes one match unlike any other.
Vehicles still play a big role in the larger Battlefield modes such as Conquest or Obliteration and can be used strategically. An example of this is loading a buggy or quad bike full of C4, riding it into a group of enemies or a tank, jumping off and then detonating the explosives; it’s a classic Battlefield manoeuvre that works rather well. However, knowing how to pilot the various aircrafts can either make or break a team’s chances at success. Many times a player will get into a chopper, their teammates will follow and the chopper will nose dive as soon as it gets airborne, killing all inside if they don’t bail before hitting the ground. Thankfully, the developers have added a test range which allows players to practice piloting every single vehicle. This is a welcome addition as it will hopefully reduce the amount of accidental vehicular death.
Commander Mode from Battlefield 2 makes a return to the series and gives one player from each team the opportunity to issue orders to their teammates while having a bird’s eye view of the map. A Commander who works well with the soldiers on the field will reap rewards which will ultimately help the team have a distinct advantage over the opposition. Commanders can also earn additional attack options during a match once a squad captures a specialised control point. Attack options such as pinpointed missile strikes certainly do come in handy and can turn the tables in favour of the player’s team. Commander Mode is a welcome return and can be quite satisfying, provided that the players on the field work with the Commander and not against them.
Battlefield 4 is a great looking game. The menus look good and are simple to navigate. Character models look realistic and lighting has been done very well. Explosions seen in the game, both far and near, look impressive no matter which platform the game is played on. There are certain sights that just look amazing; a high-rise building crumbling to the ground and a dam wall cracking and subsequently breaking. However, not all is perfect in the visual department as I did encounter a few situations where texture pop-in delays were an issue.
Battlefield 4 is has some brilliant audio. The series has always been known for its excellent audio quality and this title only adds onto this reputation. The audio quality has definitely improved and each weapon fired sounds like it has some serious power behind every shot. Whether players have the audio playing through the speakers on their television or via a gaming headset, they’ll be in for a treat. It’s truly an immersive experience that will make players feel as if they are right in the thick of the action. Voice acting is also good despite having somewhat uninteresting characters.
Battlefield 4 is a great game. The campaign does have some interesting set-pieces but unfortunately that does not save it from being a rather lacklustre experience. Gameplay is smooth and still very strategic in nature.
The multiplayer is where the game really shines and will be the reason for players returning to this title. With a range of maps, modes and customisable classes and weapons, players will sink countless hours into the multiplayer part of the title. Commander Mode also makes a welcome return and delivers a satisfying tactical experience when teammates actually work in sync with the Commander. Visually, the title is impressive but suffers from some texture pop-in delays. Audio is simply excellent and each weapon sounds amazing. Battlefield 4 is definitely worth playing if players are looking for a solid and immersive multiplayer experience.