Battlefield 4 is a game of two tales. There’s no question that the Battlefield series has always been about it’s multiplayer, but when a game includes a campaign, I’m assuming the developers want me to play it, considering the price you pay for AAA games these days anyway. So surely it is only fair to judge the game as the whole package, rather than just on the one game-mode which carries the series? Let’s be honest, it’s a joke that a campaign is even included. It is like no effort or thought went into it. It started off at a good pace, but drastically went downhill from there. Not only is the campaign more linear than Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty series of the past, the game-play also doesn’t help it’s cause. There is no choice in Battlefield 4. Except in the final mission, but by the end you have lost interest in the story to really care what choice you make. Your AI teammates, and enemies for that matter, bring stupidity to a whole new level. What was the budget for this game again?
Honestly, I haven’t seen enemy AI this terrible since Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2. The enemies take cover the wrong side of objects, making them easy prey. They can be stood two feet in front of you, and they will probably go through a whole mag before they manage to kill you due to their poor accuracy. Is there even any point in teammates? Nope. They are a hindrance more than they are a help. Even when they try to give you pointers as to what the plan is, most the time it makes no sense when you try to actually listen to them. I started off liking the campaign, I really did. I wanted to carry on playing to find out what happens next to Tombstone. But I lost interest in it after a while, as it appears so did DICE. Each time you die and start again, it is always the same outcome, you always need to do the same thing. There isn’t a different way to do things. Even enemies are always exactly in the same position, with the same gun. Not to mention when you advance ahead of your slow AI teammates you can even see the enemy infantry and vehicles spawn in. What makes it worse is that the game doesn’t even give you any pointers except head to X destination, even if during the mission you are required to find a switch or perform something else to progress the mission. The game doesn’t tell you need to find a switch. I don’t expect to be told where the switch is, but I at least want to know what I am supposed to do.
Thankfully the multiplayer alone makes the purchase of Battlefield 4 worthwhile. If you want a multiplayer experience which is more tactical and skill based than simply run and gun, you will enjoy Battlefield. This is the area in which DICE really shine, but are reluctant to experiment with the successful formula, so expect a lot of the same from Battlefield 3 with regards to the class and weapon system.
Game modes are exciting and fun, which are nicely complimented by 10 different maps. Unlike Battlefield 3, the maps around you will change depending on the fight which is ensuing between the two teams. Whether that is the storm raging in on Paracel Storm, or bursting the dam on Lancang Dam, no two games are ever the same. A lot more than be said for the campaign. Battlefield 4 has introduced “levolution”, which is basically when the map around you changes due to players destruction affecting gameplay. Seige of Shanghai is the pick of the bunch, with the skycraper able to be brought down if enough damage is caused to the four pillars supporting it. When the skyscraper falls, not only is an advantage point now removed from the map, but the streets below become filled with debris and dust, affecting your ability to see clearly. Unfortunately, it’s a shame that all the maps seem to incorporate “levolution” in one way or another, as not all of them are really suited to it. But you can see what direction DICE are heading in, and it makes for some truly unforgettable and great gameplay.
Weapons also handle superbly, just as we have come to expect from a Battlefield title. Snipers must take in bullet drop and distance when calculating shots, and a certain degree of skill is needed if you are going to be edging towards the top of the leaderboard. With a variety of guns on offer to choose from for the four different classes, there is a play style for everyone depending on the situation.
Battlefield 4 is one of the most realistic shooters on console, and it is clearly evident. Playing as a sniper takes genuine skill, and makes a refreshing change. The size of the maps also help in creating a realistic feel, not to mention vehicles. Battlefield wouldn’t be Battlefield without vehicles, and you won’t be disappointed in Battlefield 4. Some may not like the control changes to vehicles however, with you now using the left analog stick to move forward and backwards. It doesn’t feel as natural as it did in Battlefield 3, and I am most certainly staying away from helicopters for the time being. Let’s just say I’m not going to be getting my wings any time soon. I apologize in advance to all the passengers aboard my choppers who subsequently have lost their lives.
Unfortunately multiplayer itself isn’t free from issues. The most annoying, and ultimately a very common issue, is the freezing which occurs when switching between maps. Sometimes you can have a nice run before encountering your Xbox locking up, other times it can appear within as little as 3 matches. It’s frustrating and takes away from the experience. Too many times have I been invested in the multiplayer, to only give up as I can not handle having to restart my Xbox 360 time and time again. Hopefully those purchasing next-gen consoles will get a smoother ride than current-gen, but I don’t take current-gen systems as a valid reason for this issue. In fact the freezing also pops up frequently during the campaign, especially when respawning, so try not to die much or you may need to reboot your console, again and again. I understand DICE are trying to fix a wide variety of issues found in Battlefield 4 which are ruining players experiences, but here we are yet again, finding ourselves with a game we have payed for in an unstable state.
Visually though, Battlefield 4 is pleasing on the eyes, however on current-gen consoles you will experience some texturing issues and the like, but it’s not as noticeably in multiplayer as it is in the campaign due to you being more focused on the guy shooting at you than the detail around you. It is clear however that the current-gen is being pushed to it’s limits with Battlefield 4 and would appear to be cracking, but next-gen consoles should suffer nothing of the sort. Battlefield 4 also looks delightful on PC, further showing the Xbox 360 and PS3’s age.
Battlefield 4 should only be bought for the multiplayer component. Some may enjoy the campaign, but I feel that most players will become increasingly frustrated and bored with it’s linear and unimaginative approach to it’s story. Battlefield 4 can be considered one of the best multiplayer games of this generation, but nothing else. It’s a tactical and rewarding experience, with the game-modes on offer being extremely satisfying and fun. The destruction on offer in Battlefield 4 is unlike anything we have seen before, and adds a completely new level to multiplayer gameplay. Literally.
But despite it’s great multiplayer, the lackluster campaign and technical issues many users still face prevents this from being a better game than it was originally hyped to be.
*Reviewed on Xbox 360