Review by grimakis

Reviewed: 01/07/14

Battlefield 4: Fun, Addicting, but not without its problems.

I am not a newcomer to the FPS genre. Growing up with PC games like Half-Life, Counter-Strike: Source, Call of Duty 1, 2, and 4, amongst others, I have never been a fan of the FPS on the console. Save for Goldeneye on the Nintendo 64, there are not many console FPS games that I enjoy. As I say that, I am about to make a case in favor of Battlefield 4, the latest game by DICE.

Battlefield 4 is a good attempt at the console FPS genre, and grabbed my attention immediately. Having played Battlefield 3 at one of my friend’s apartments on the PS3 a few years ago, I immediately recognized that the Battlefield franchise had what it takes to dethrone Call of Duty. After putting about 40 hours into Battlefield 4, this is what I have to say.

General First Impressions: 9/10

Loading up the game for the first time, the menu is very impressive. I feel that the rainy background provides ambience to what could have otherwise been a very boring menu. One of the first things that you might notice is the lack of a Local Multiplayer feature, commonly found in games like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor. But I digress. The first game mode that I opened up was the Campaign, and I was treated to some very nice visuals of my squad, was immediately thrown into the action. Not a bad start to the game.

Campaign: 7/10

There isn’t much I can say about the Campaign other than it is very “spectacular”. I use the word very literally; the campaign is a spectacle. Seeming more like an action-packed movie than a video game, it was relatively enjoyable until a few missions in when the unthinkable happened. I decided to take a break. After coming back to Battlefield 4, my save file was erased without notice. This marks the end of my experience with the Campaign.

Graphics: 9/10

Side by side with the Xbox One version of the game, the PS4 version clearly wins. Compared to the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, there IS no comparison. Having said that, BF4 is an early PS4 title, and doesn’t come close to showing what the PS4 is capable of. However compared to what we have seen in the past, Battlefield 4 looks stellar. Anyone playing this game will immediately be impressed. Unless you are coming from the High-End PC gaming world, you probably haven’t seen a prettier FPS of this scale.

The environments are incredibly detailed, so much so that I found it difficult to see opposing players in some environments. Unlike the days where enemy soldiers stuck out, a prone soldier in the grass can be all but invisible. The textures are very good, and the particle effects are nothing to scoff at. All of this helps contribute to a greater sense of realism in Battlefield 4.



Sound 8/10

Most of the sounds that you will hear in Battlefield 4 will be sound effects. Voices, gunshots, explosions, bullets whizzing by, and other sounds of war are par for the course. It’s what you expect from a game like this. Everything sounds pretty good, but it isn’t anything different than we have seen before. The only piece of music I distinctly remember comes close to the end of a round. It is an audible cue to players that one team is close to winning. It serves its purpose, and adds a little pressure to try and get those last few kills.

Multiplayer: 8/10

Let me preface this by saying that PlayStation Plus is required for any sort of online play. If you do not plan on getting PSPlus, I would not recommend getting BF4.

The core of this game is the multiplayer experience. You can choose from many game modes. The one I have been playing the most is Team Deathmatch, and the battles take place on maps that are relatively small. If you choose to play a mode such as Conquest, you will find yourself on a much larger battlefield, on which you must capture objective points. Each game mode offers a distinct experience. Some are familiar, some are foreign, but all are enjoyable.

The biggest thing to make a note of in Battlefield 4 is the massive amount of unlockable. Your soldier gains experience that can go towards unlocking new weapons for each class. Obtaining kills with a particular weapon will unlock attachments for that weapon. Through this system, you can obtain most of the weapons and attachments.

Examples of attachments are sights, silencers, scopes, grips, and other things that modify the guns statistics. For every attachment there is a trade-off. For example, the silencer hides your gunfire from the radar, but your bullets lose velocity. In addition to weapons and attachments, you can unlock dog tags, camouflage, paints for your weapons, and “perks”.

As you level up, more items become available to you through objects known as battlepacks. Battlepacks are awarded to you as you are promoted through the ranks, and are not a form of microtransaction in BF. You may be relieved to know that other players are not really able to buy themselves a better solider. Battlepacks contain a random assortment of items similar to a pack of trading cards. Most of these items are simply cosmetic variants of attachments that can be unlocked by scoring kills with a weapon.

Maps: 7/10

Map design here is pretty good. Maps range from small to ridiculously large. The maps were clearly designed with combat in mind. Some areas are obviously defensible, and it is almost instinct how you and your squad should go about defending an objective point. However there is a very big difference between BF4 and other FPS games. Levelution. This is the new term coined by DICE, describing the ability for anything and everything to be destroyed on the map. If you squad is comfortable defending a building by camping there the entire round, go ahead and try. A few well-placed RPGs can take down the entire structure, crushing you and your teammates in the process. It is no longer safe to camp behind barricades and other small structures. Gunfire will likely destroy them, leaving you exposed.

Problems

There are some definite problems with this game, so I will just list them off for you.

-Single Player Campaign save files delete.
-Sometimes there is a slight delay between multiplayer clients and the server. Result? Being killed before any indication that you are being fired on comes up. Some people have even experienced being killed in an elevator before the doors open.
-Server connectivity issues. The server browser has spent some time offline recent.
-Crashing. Thankfully this has only happened to me while I was navigating the menus, but on numerous occasions upon leaving a server BF4 would simply crash.

Having said that, there are many reasons to buy the game:

-Very fun multiplayer experience. Even with its few quirks, the game is very fun. Earning new weapons and attachments actually feels like an achievement.

-Replayability. I can easily see myself playing this game on and off for several years. Unlike some games’ communities that fades after a year or so, the BF4 community will thrive well into the life of the PS4.

-Potential. These problems won't exist forever. With 4 more DLC expansions, and many patches to come, every problem I have found with the game will most likely be fixed.

Conclusion: Buy it.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Battlefield 4 (US, 11/12/13)

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