Also On: PC, PS4, Xbox One
As I begin this review I must say that the Battlefield series probably never intended to be at war with a competing title when they launched with Battlefield 1942. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist for publishers to figure out there was “gold in them there hills” when they looked at the insane sales that Activision’s Call of Duty series racked up for the last few years. Honestly with Call of Duty having such an amazing following one would argue if it were even worth trying to go head-to-head with the FPS juggernaut knowing that going in it would be an uphill battle. Nevertheless EA and the team at DICE believed that they could not only supply the video game masses with a solid military FPS, but in many ways could even out do CoD in some of their online implementations. So the developers are determined to keep up the good fight, which brings us to this year’s incarnation of the Battlefield franchise — Battlefield 4.
While this review is based solely off the Xbox 360 and PS3 version supplied by EA, you have to keep in mind that there are technical issues, bugs, and flaws that may not rear their ugly head on the PC or the upcoming PS4/Xbox One versions that they most certainly built this game for. I must also mention that many of the inconsistencies and visual flubs oddly came from the single player mode but not so much from the online portion. This makes things clearly evident that the developers really were gunning hard to take on their rivals since online is their main focus as well.
I will get the bad out of the way first which deals with the game’s lackluster single player campaign. The game’s single player mode fails the gaming public in many areas including a shallow 5 hours of game play and a stale storyline. While I can foresee playing this in the not too distant future on my Xbox One and with the obvious graphical enhancements maybe finding a small glimmer of excitement with making my way through the campaign one more time, I can’t in all honesty say that the game’s campaign didn’t provide anything I haven’t seen numerous times before in other war shooters or films. No matter if it is on the land, in the sea, or in the air, I just never had a moment that made me go “wow!” In many ways I felt like I was sleep walking through this journey as if I had already been here before, even though it is an entirely new adventure. If you are not taking the next gen leap, however, keep in mind that there are some very bothersome texture and player models and effects that come off looking quite silly and unrealistic. Not only does this come from the architecture of buildings collapsing, and players being blown to hell and even disappearing, but even things like rain will for some reason become all funky and distorted over time. This doesn’t all necessarily come from the Frostbite engine, but more from the conversion and downgrading trying to get this game to fit on our 8 year old tech contained within the Xbox 360 and PS3. I will say that there are times the game does look downright brilliant, but more times than not it fails to just keep up and is mostly inconsistent in its technical presentation.
Where Battlefield 4 shines like a Medal of Honor is the amazing online modes that more than make up for where the game lacks in solo missions. After a long night of taking guys out of the online Battlefield, you will know where your 60 dollars were well spent. Not only are the visuals online as impressive as offline (with the texture install of course) with full damage to the environment and physics damage provided by the Frostbite engine, but it seems to be more stable than what was seen in the glitch filled single player mode. You have a great wealth of modes to play through online, including Conquest, Team Deathmatch, Obliteration, Rush, Squad Deathmatch, Domination, and Defuse, but the maps designed for each mode are incredible in both detail and scale. Here you also have a great number vehicles at your disposal that you can either man or take part as a gunner, both of which are equally enjoyable on the road to victory. Impressively, the knowledge that your role in the fight isn’t broken down to the simple sniper or shotgun roles from the past, as you have a deep customization for your soldier to allow for mid range weapons and gadgets so you can do your part with the proper equipment. The most ingenious difference between Battlefield 4 and other FPS of its kind is how not only do you earn XP, but how it correlates and creates a significant difference between squad soldiers and commanders. If you are in a squad, you are rewarded with more offensive options for your leaders to deploy, and these commanders can call for those reinforcements, overhead air raid attacks, and most importantly, gain the loyalty of the team to do the best they can in each battle. Each multiplayer mode utilizes the game’s maps and options a little differently, but none of them take a great deal of learning to be able to jump right into.
Whether or not the Battlefield series will ever get the Call of Duty-level of sales, notoriety or fanfare will not be decided this year, next or maybe even in the next generation of consoles. As long as the developers get the sales and the fan base to keep the game running, you can expect they will continue to do all they can do to please the fans. It may be disappointing to some that Battlefield 4’s single player doesn’t live up to a hill of beans, but what they did accomplish with the impressive multiplayer mode is something special that cannot be duplicated even by Activision’s mighty series. That being said, I can assure you that we have not seen the last of EA/DICE’s epic war shooter as we can expect the next generation to bring new technical feats that will enable them to spread their wings and make this battle even closer with every new year. The overall winner in this battle will ultimately be the gamers themselves who will be happy to take the ride.
Battlefield 4 is the genre-defining action blockbuster made from moments that blur the line between game and glory. Fueled by the next-generation power and fidelity of Frostbite 3, Battlefield 4 provides a visceral, dramatic experience unlike any other.
Only in Battlefield can you demolish the buildings shielding your enemy. Only in Battlefield will you lead an assault from the back of a gun boat. Battlefield grants you the freedom to do more and be more while playing to your strengths and carving your own path to victory.
In addition to its hallmark multiplayer, Battlefield 4 features an intense, dramatic character-driven campaign that starts with the evacuation of American VIPs from Shanghai and follows your squad's struggle to find its way home.
There is no comparison. Immerse yourself in the glorious chaos of all-out war, found only in Battlefield.
The item will not work with any next version of the hardware.