|System: PS3*, Xbox 360, PC, PS4*, Xbox One|
|Release: November 19, 2013|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood & Gore, Language, Violence|
by Joshua Bruce
Bullets are snapping by my head; I better get behind some cover. There’s an incoming enemy helicopter to my west, and snipers in the building to my east. I’m a sitting duck out here in the open. It’s time to find a defensible position. Tanks have blown the building closest to me all to hell. I better make a run for the intact bunker down the hill. I’m surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned, and I’ve been hit. I’m gonna take as many of these sons of bitches with me as I can. It’s a good day to die…
This is the life of a Battlefield player. In previous Battlefield games, the unpredictability of an online match is a direct result of the amount of freedom given to the players. The environment is destructible. You can drive land vehicles, fly aerial vehicles, or simply run around on foot–these variables make every game different and allow for some of the most memorable moments you are likely to experience anywhere in gaming. Battlefield 4 not only accomplishes this; it absolutely excels at it, delivering moments you will be bragging about to your buddies for years.
There’s no denying that the core of the Battlefield experience is its robust multiplayer component. Overall, the changes in the multiplayer are minute, but the tweaks that have been made, along with some well-placed additions, drive an online experience that feels fresh without losing what’s made the franchise great.
The big “game changer” this time around is something called Levolution. With Levolution, players are given the opportunity to literally change the battlefield by triggering an event on the map. The most well known of these events is the falling skyscraper in “Siege of Shanghai,” but every map has a significant Levolution that will change the way the game is played. You can collapse a satellite dish in “Rogue Transmission” or run a battleship aground in “Paracel Storm.” These changes open up new avenues of approach, close old ones, and can change the placement of a point of interest. Of course, these are just major set pieces that can either be triggered or not, but it’s player controlled and can happen at any time, which adds to the already unpredictable nature of Battlefield 4. Add to that the ability to reduce almost any freestanding structure to a frame and a pile of rubble, and you have the most diverse battlefield ever conceived in gaming.
Other new additions include the ability to lean and peek around corners (finally!) and the expansion of sea warfare with new patrol boats and jet skis. These additions only build on the already solid foundation that has been built in previous games, adding to the overall experience and freedom of taking the battlefield.
Commander mode is something hardcore fans of the series will remember from Battlefield 2, and makes its triumphant return in Battlefield 4. This time, however, it has taken on a new form. Not only can you access this mode from in-game, but you can also use your iPad or Android tablet to control the action as the commander. This is by no means a required facet of gameplay, but the option is there for those of us who just can’t get enough of Battlefield.
Also, in an effort to promote team play, DICE has brought the Field Upgrade mechanic out of retirement from Battlefield 2142. This basically replaces the squad-perk system that is used in Battlefield 3, which is just a static attribute that your squad gains for having it selected. Field Upgrades give squads who work together and complete tasks an undeniable edge on the battlefield–such as extra grenades or the ability to sprint faster, among other perks. The standard 4-player squads from Battlefield 3 have been bumped up to 5 players now, so you can be a more effective fire team and achieve field upgrades.
As I said before, the core of the Battlefield experience lies in the multiplayer. Even though the single-player FPS is what spawned the multiplayer shooter phenomenon, it seems that it’s often left behind as an afterthought. The single-player campaign of Battlefield 4 feels like it’s caught somewhere in the middle. Not to say that the campaign isn’t worth playing, because it definitely is (there are moments during the single-player that will wow you), but the 5-7 hour length was just a little short for my taste.