|System: PS3*, Xbox 360, PC, PS4*, Xbox One|
|Release: November 19, 2013|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood & Gore, Language, Violence|
In the campaign, you play as Sergeant Daniel Recker of Tombstone Squad, a small unit of Marines assigned to the USS Valkyrie. During a routine intel mission, all hell breaks loose, and a chain of events are set into motion that could start World War III. The action is palpable, almost never slows, and set-piece-driven levels create spectacles that you have never seen before in a shooter. Although the campaign is short and sweet, it is easily the best Battlefield campaign so far, in both scope and quality.
Even on current-generation consoles, this game looks great. The sheer amount of on-screen action is astounding for this aging hardware to be capable of producing. Character models are easily the sharpest that they have ever been; the weapons look accurate and clean, and character animations flow through the environment without looking stiff or forced. DICE’s new Frostbite 3 engine shows its quality and diversity even on current-generation technology. Although, I will say I did encounter an occasional framerate drop and a character glitch from time to time. Once, I even saw an enemy fly through the air, and continue to do so, until he was out of sight, and all I could see was the orange marker I placed over his head. But overall, these issues are so few and far between that they don’t detract from the experience as a whole.
The audio of Battlefield 4 brings as much to the table as the visuals. Soldiers screaming or shouting orders, bullets whizzing by your head and snapping behind you, explosions, crumbling buildings, vehicles rolling or flying by, and other ambient noise put together a soundscape that will simply blow your mind. Score only plays a minor role in the multiplayer, but the single-player campaign uses it to an advantage, and the voice acting is surprisingly well done.
Thankfully, the control scheme hasn’t really changed, something any Battlefield veteran will be able to appreciate. Moving, shooting, driving, and flying all feel tight and well rounded, and fumbling over controls is kept to a minimum. I did have a little bit of trouble figuring out the weapon loadouts, but after a little trial and error, and several trips to the new Test Range (where you can test out new weapons, attachments, and vehicles), I figured it out without too much hassle.
In short, Battlefield 4 is an experience that any shooter fan is going to want to have. The developers at DICE have crafted their own brand of mayhem and destruction out of the series that simply defines their gameplay style. So if you like explosions, intense combat, accurate weapons, and the freedom of choice to play how you want to play, then do yourself a favor and go buy this game. I’ll see you online.
After getting our hands on the next-gen version of Battlefield 4, the differences are apparent. In addition to a visual upgrade that puts console gaming pretty much on par with the PC experience, it is also host to a couple of features that will be serious game changers.
First off, the visuals of a next-gen Battlefield 4 are simply stunning. Current-gen visuals didn’t disappoint, but the improvement on next-gen consoles is wholly undeniable. Textures are extremely detailed, even getting as close to them as you possibly can, and blades of grass blow individually in the wind. Dust particles float through the air, which is nothing new, but dynamic lighting brings them to life in a way we’ve never before seen on consoles. Lens flares add to the dynamic lighting effects and reflective surfaces, and your weapon of choice reflects the light to create other new and immersive visuals. Of course, all character, vehicle, and world models have received a little visual veneer, but in this case, the devil is in the details, and Battlefield 4 has details in spades.
But it’s not all about a visual upgrade. The gameplay of Battlefield 4 doesn’t suffer in the slightest and (if anything) feels even tighter. But the biggest improvement between generations has to be the expansion of multiplayer capability from 24 to 64. Finally, Battlefield can be played as it was meant to be played on the console, in its frenetic and random glory, with tons and tons of other players. Add to that the return of the commander feature (which can be accessed from your iPad or Android tablet on next-gen), and you can have up to 66 players in a single game for the full Battlefield 4 experience. Battlefield 4 also gives you the ability to enter spectator mode and join a match, and this robust feature set allows you to experience the insanity of the battlefield without the danger of being shot, just another perk.
So all-in-all, Battlefield 4 brings a lot to the next-gen table. It is probably spawned from Battlefield’s native development for the PC, but hey, whatever works. At the end of the day, all that matters is how well a game is put together, and thankfully, Battlefield 4 is one of the most badass games we’ve ever played. Next-gen polish is just a bonus.
Date: November 15, 2013