Love is a Battlefield, as is Dice and EA’s newest jewel in their shoot ‘em up crown, Battlefield 4. This time, the Red Storm is not only rising, it’s exploded into a full category 5. China and Russia have it in for the free world, and once again it’s up to you and your intrepid squad to save the day. Is it the real deal? Or a storm in a teacup?
BF4 as you would expect is quite similar to the best selling Battlefield 3. The controls, gameplay and weaponry is quite similar, with a few new additions to spice things up and challenge the seasoned veterans. Dice has been playing on the Battlefield for over 10 years now, so as you’d expect they brought their A game again. BF4 has as many guns as Gran Turismo has cars, with options to unlock and customize weapons and load outs in both single player and online. A welcome new addition to the campaign mode is the fact that the ammunition crates scattered on most BF3 levels have been upgraded to weapon stations, allowing you to swap out default weapons for anything you’ve unlocked previously. Online is quite similar in terms of customizing your guns and load outs, with the option to personalize your classes in the main menu before jumping in.
Campaign mode is…well it’s a bit difficult to judge. There’s a strong plot, with a small group of main characters you can’t help but grudgingly grow attached to. Expect a couple of short cameos from pervious Battlefield 3 antagonists as well. Whilst gameplay is similar to previous titles, the various levels take place in varied locations and situations. Big cities, skyscrapers, rural and urban combat, gun battles on the high seas, gun fights on ships, even a massive hydroelectric Dam star in the big wide world. Frostbite’s new destruction engine is bigger and better than ever before. Cover you used to think was safe is no more, as fences, crates, entire buildings and much more can be blown to dust by you…and your enemies. Something worth remembering when there’s a tank about…
The AI has some issues at times. Beware of enemies randomly spawning before your very eyes (or right behind them), and, annoyingly, beware of them appearing behind you in areas you just cleared. At times they seem a little distracted, allowing you to literally walk up and put them out of their misery. Other times they seem to ignore the half a dozen odd other allies you have and concentrate every bullet and grenade onto you. Most of the time though, even on easy, the AI has become quite a force to be reckoned with. Squads will cover one another, armoured vehicles will ruthlessly hunt you without hesitating to destroy massive collateral, and helicopters become the all fearing death spitting weapons they should be, hurling minigun rounds at you as they rappel down a squad of enemies to make your day in South East Asia one you’d rather forget. Whilst the intensity of the story starts to fade towards the end, the gritty and at times emotional dialogue, coupled with breathtaking locations and a fitting, at times haunting soundtrack, make the campaign a fitting, but short, addition to the massive multiplayer world Battlefield is best known for.
Multiplayer has taken several big steps forward. Whilst there are new game types, the traditional conquest and rush maps are there for the old timers as well, with a dedicated playlist for them. If you’ve played online in Battlefield before, you generally know how it goes. There are tanks. There are helicopters. There are crazy Northern Europeans driving around with C4 strapped to their jeeps waiting for a worthy target. There are jets and there are boats. All waiting for you to be driven.
Another welcome addition is the return of the ‘Commander’ option from Battlefield 2. Players now have the ability to vote one of their team in as the Commander of their force. The Commander has the ability to perform overhead scans of the Battlefield to reveal enemy locations, call in supply drops, and even cruise missile strikes. Which on some maps, can make a big impact on the game…quite literally. Whilst in the past certain structures on MP maps were scripted to fall or be destroyed at a certain time, BF4 sees the ability for players to destroy these buildings or utilities at will. In particular, the gigantic skyscraper in the Shanghai map, and as I found out (the hard way) the Dam on another map. This adds a whole new dimension to the game, with players able to quite literally chance the face of the Battlefield to their advantage. Expect a fair bit of hate mail though if you decide to unleash the inner pyro…not everyone wants several thousand tons of steel and concrete dropped on them.
In debrief, Battlefield 4 is the real deal. It has built on what made Battlefield 3 into a COD killer, without taking anything away. Dice and EA have tried hard to improve the campaign and multiplayer aspects by varying things as much as they can, and it shows. Is it perfect? No, but who ever is? I happily give the game an 8 out of 10. The annoyingly short campaign is the only reason I stop short of 9. Will it take it to Call of Duty once again? Time will tell.
Strap up solider. This war has only begun.
- Powerful storyline
- Diverse range of weapons & vehicles
- Massively destructive environment
- Battlefield is back with a bang!
- AI and gameplay can be a bit glitchy (an update will fix this i’m sure)
- Could do with a longer campaign
Score – 8/10
Written by Ben Rachow