Battlefield 4 review
Since Battlefield 4 is primarily a multiplayer focused game the majority of the review will be focused on the games multiplayer.
Battlefield 4 is an incredibly fun combined arms multiplayer game that requires players to work together as teams have access to a large array of weapons and a mixture of air, ground and sea vehicles. The fact the game isn’t just infantry versus infantry is one of the games strongest features because well as I just said you have to work together. If you are by yourself and you come across an enemy tank than you are in real trouble, sticking together is the key to surviving a multiplayer match.
To facilitate teamwork players can play as one of four classes, which they can change at any time. These four classes are: assault, engineer, support and recon. Each class brings their own strengths to the battle, for example the assault class can carry first aid kits and defibrillators to help heal and revive teammates, and engineers can use RPGs and other launchers to take down enemy vehicles. Choosing your class is important because weapons are class specific. Classes aren’t the only thing you can pick, you can pick land/air and sea vehicles to pilot. Just like in previous Battlefield games (minus the sea vehicles) vehicles are great when it comes to providing support with helicopter pilots cutting down infantry that aren’t in cover. Like previous Battlefield games the air vehicles are a challenge to pilot, a challenge that if mastered will have you controlling the skies. Fortunately you don’t have to try and master aircraft in the heat of battle as the game has a single player test area called “Test Range”. In this area you can test out all the vehicles without having to worry about any enemies.
Now we have the classes, what about the maps. The multiplayer maps in Battlefield 4 are rather large, with them supporting up to 24 players on consoles (12-v-12). While I do enjoy large maps, some maps feel too large. For example Golmud Railway is a mostly open area map with very few places to hide. This means that infantry focused players will find it tough and also boring running around in a wide open space with nearly nothing to do apart from running for what seems forever to the next capture point. Honestly Golmud Railway feels like a map that would be perfect for an all out vehicle warfare. At the end of the day the maps are enjoyable and each one seems to suit a play style. I mean I didn’t like Golmud Railway because I prefer to play infantry, but a person who prefers to use a tank might love Golmud Railway.
On the subject of maps, we have the much touted levolution a new feature that alters multiplayer maps in different ways. Some levolution features include the skyscraper collapse on Siege of Shanghai, and the storm followed by a ship crash on Parcel Storm. Levolution is very much eye catching as your eyes are suddenly drawn to this huge event taking place on the map, but after playing the game for a few hours the levolution did begin to lose its wow appeal as these big map altering events happened in nearly every game. While levolution is eye catching its effects on maps can be a bit annoying. For example, the skyscraper collapse on Siege of Shanghai map while impressive takes away one of the more interesting parts of the map, the skyscraper. Fighting an elevated battle for a capture point is incredibly fun and at times challenging, but when the skyscraper collapses the capture point becomes a ground level mess.
Levolution isn’t the only big multiplayer feature. Commander mode makes it long awaited return, with the mode last appearing in Battlefield 2142. Commander mode is an excellent addition to BF4 as it allows one player on each side to see the map from a top down perspective. In this mode you can help your teammates by calling in UAVs to spot troops or summon a gunship to help defend or attack capture points. Commander mode is a fun mode for those who like to employ tactics, on the downside you have to be at least level 10 to access this mode.
With regard to modes, BF4 offers seven game modes: conquest, team deathmatch, obliteration, rush, squad deathmatch, domination and defuse. With seven modes you are almost guaranteed to find a mode you enjoy. If you like large scale objective gameplay with vehicles and infantry than conquest is the game mode for you, if you enjoy objective gameplay but prefer infantry only gameplay than domination is the game mode for you.
The campaign for Battlefield 4 isn’t that bad, not good, but good enough to hold my attention from beginning to end. The game’s campaign sees you play as Daniel Recker squad leader for the US Marine squad, Tombstone. At the start of the game Tombstone is thrown into a chaotic China to rescue a VIP and CIA contact, but after the rescue is complete China deploys fires an EMP bomb which cripples Shanghai and a US Naval fleet located off the cost of China. With the fleet crippled China, now run by an Admiral Chang attack the fleet causing heavy damage, but not before Tombstone gets back to save the day.
After this the game focuses mainly on Tombstone and some inter team squabbles between long term member Irish and new member Hannah, the CIA operative you got out of Shanghai. The story does jump back to the conflict with China in the end and reveals are made why Chang, who came to power after a progressive presidential candidate was allegedly assassinated by the US, is focused on the naval fleet that he attacked at the start of the game.
For those who are looking for some flashy moments, they are few and far between with the only memorable moment being when US use the naval fleet to perform a group attack on Singapore in an attempt to destroy an airfield. At the game ends of the campaign you are given a pretty pointless choice, and about a million and one different questions.
Finally let’s talk about the graphics and audio on the Xbox 360 version of the game. Battlefield 4 uses the brand new Frostbite 3 engine which according to the Battlefield website offers vast scale and destruction, believable characters and unmatched audio fidelity, and for the most part the engine does exactly that. In the campaign the game looks lovely with well detailed faces and nicely designed set pieces that still look good when you destroy them. Although I did find that there was a lot of bloom in the game, it wasn’t overly noticeable in the outdoor levels, but when you are inside an enclosed space the bloom from light sources is nearly blinding.
While the engine performs well in the campaign it seems to have issue in multiplayer, with a substantial amount of texture pop in. For example textures on fences didn’t load/appear until I was right on top of it, this issue could be down to the fact that Frostbite 3 is really for next gen and a current gen machine like the Xbox 360 is just struggling to keep up. Finally audio is once again brilliant. From hearing gunfire, tanks and aircraft in both multiplayer and campaign you really do get the feeling that you are on a battlefield.
Battlefield 4 is a fun combined arms multiplayer experience that does a good job off promoting teamwork. While the new Levolution feature does a good job of added some spice to maps, it does get boring fast. The game’s campaign is fun, but not something to write home about.
*This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360*
Battlefield 4 information
Genre: first person shooter
Platform: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release date: now out on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Out November 22nd on Xbox One and November 29th on PlayStation 4 (PS4 version is available now in N. America)
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.