Battlefield 4 Review

Though I’ve been a PC gamer since the Apple IIc days, only a handful of times have I had a top-of-the-line computer when a big game, that I really want to play, comes out. This is one of those times. I’m reviewing a Steiger Dynamics HTPC for an upcoming issue of the mag, and it screams. Well, no, actually, that’s what’s makes it amazing. It’s practically silent. But the performance screams. BF4 with all the settings at Ultra. Thank ya kindly.

The psychology of kits

There are some slight tweaks and changes to each of the four classes (Assault, Engineer, Support, Recon). Some of the upgrades one would have gotten through playing with BF3 (like a bipod for a gun) are stock with BF4. Interestingly, others aren’t. More importantly, every class now has some way to attack vehicles. One of the things I found most frustrating with BF3 was the near-invincibility with vehicles if you were playing as certain classes. Most importantly, Recon now has a C4 pack, something inexplicably missing from BF3. While you won’t do much damage to a vehicle with a grenade launcher, it’s the psychology of being able to do something that makes BF4 far less frustrating.

Maps

Map design was always somewhere the “Battlefield” series excelled, and this game continues that high standard. However, it’s easy to see how many of these new maps were “inspired” by a predecessor. There’s an Iwo map, there’s a Metro map, there’s a Gulf of Oman map, and so on. Granted, these aren’t called those names, but the layout and feel of each is basically the same. This largely isn’t a bad thing, honestly, as those were all brilliant maps. The new Iwo map, called Paracel Storm, takes place on an archipelago in a raging storm, with massive waves (actual waves!). The new Metro map, called Operation Locker, takes place in a frigid prison, replete with blinding snow squalls.

One of my favorite maps, and possibly one of my favorite FPS maps of all time, is Flood Zone. While I’m not normally a fan of CQB, the Kowloon Walled City-esque nature of the map, plus the 3D nature to the fighting, is brilliant.

Graphics

The Frostbyte 3 engine looks a little better than BF3’s Frostbyte 2, but since the latter was still a joy to look at, there wasn’t much improvement needed (but always desired, of course).

The biggest change is with significantly more deformable terrain and destructible structures. BF3 had this too, but it’s greatly expanded here. Many maps feature huge set pieces that change how the map plays. The aforementioned storm on Paracel Storm, the falling high-rise in Siege of Shanghai, and so on, add a heightened level of “wow.” Well, until you play the map 50 times, and then it’s just another thing. But such is the nature of games, I guess.

Bottom Line

So yes, if you’re expecting some big change from BF3, you’re not going to get it. The basics are the same, the maps are similar, and even the graphics are a huge leap from BF3. However, all the little tweaks and changes add up. So while this really does feel like BF3.5, it is still a better and more fun game than BF3. So yeah, I’ll be playing Battlefield 4 for a while.

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COMMENTS
Jarod's picture

Onc thing Id like to add is the shortness of the Campaign single player part of BF4. Its only 4 hours long. Now I know that most people buy this for online but a 4 hour long single player is just rediculous. The online mult-player is very well designed and plays great tho just like you said Geoffrey. I just think the single player was kind of an afterthought. I rented it and that night beat the campaign. I have since cancled my pre-order of BF4 on the PS4 and switched to Killzone 4.

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