Battlefield 4 Review
We are trying something a little different this week. Both myself, and WildMN34 (Andy) are joining forces to tackle the massive package that is Battlefield 4. I, JohnnoshArk, will be tackling the single player campaign, while Andy will be taking care of the online component, arguably the whole reason anyone buys Battlefield 4. So let’s delve into it.
Single Player Review
First off, let’s take a trip back down memory lane and think back to Battlefield 3. The campaign, in short, was pretty bad. It was incredibly short, and despite the fact it was written by an acclaimed writer, the story was too scripted. DICE have made a big point of saying that the Battlefield 4 campaign will differ from the campaign in Battlefield 3, and not suffer from the same problems.
My issue here is that this seems to be a lie. I have played a majority of the campaign, twice in fact, and have found out the campaign is only around 5-6 hours long, even on hard. I know that with first person shooters these days that most players just want the multiplayer experience, but there is still people who purchase games solely for the purpose of playing single player. The experience that they get shouldn’t feel as though it is tacked on at the last minute, it should be captivating enough that they want more and delve into the world of Multiplayer. I know that Battlefield back in its early days was purely a multiplayer game, but if it wants to offer a campaign, it should offer more substance than it currently does.
So what exactly does the campaign tell the story of? Basically it follows a squad of four main characters, as they try to make their way back home after a Shanghai extraction. The problem is, as the campaign extends, you don’t feel any emotional connection to any of them. You take the role of Recker, the squad leader, who takes the silent protagonist approach and responds merely in grunts. But don’t worry, if it’s talking you want, Irish has you covered. He doesn’t shutup. He constantly tells you what is happening, how he feels, and how you should feel. I feel that Irish is DICE’s way of trying to make players feel emotion, but it falls flat on its face, and makes you feel that the game is incredibly scripted, despite what DICE have mentioned.
Now the campaign apparently moves away from scripted storylines towards the end of the campaign, where you get a choice of how the game ends. The reason I say apparently, and the reason I mentioned before that I have completed a majority of the campaign twice is that the game hasn’t allowed me to finish it. Both play-throughs I have endured have been cut short due to my save file corrupting. Because of this, I no longer feel the want to play the campaign again, and am dedicating my time with Battlefield 4 solely to the multiplayer component. I may add that this wasn’t the only bug I encountered, with the game constantly freezing and forcing me to reset the console (which could be the cause of the corrupted saves).
Now it appears I have really ripped into the Battlefield 4 campaign here, but I do so purely because of how much DICE said it had improved compared to Battlefield 3, and I want to call them on that lie. But I also don’t want to rip into the game too much, since I have enjoyed playing it. So from here on in, I will only be talking positive about the game.
As an introduction to the multiplayer component of Battlefield, the campaign does a good job. Playing in a team is fun, your squad is equipped and the gameplay variants are mixed up. Throughout the campaign you get closed-quarters combat, great use of vehicles (what Battlefield is known for) and open area environments that you can destroy and smash to pieces. The scoring system is also great to add a little bit of replay ability to a short campaign. I found myself replaying some missions just to beat my friends scores (specifically WildMN34).
Overall, the single player campaign does not have a good story, it isn’t long at all, feels scripted and has some game breaking glitches, BUT it does provide a good introduction to the multiplayer aspect. That being said, I do find it hard to give the single player a good score, despite the occasional fun I had while playing. Luckily, the multiplayer component is far superior, as Andy will now tell you.
Single Player Score: 4/10
Let’s be completely honest here, when you think of Battlefield you don’t think of the single player first. The meat and potatoes of where you’ll spend the majority of your time is the multiplayer. If you have played Battlefield 3’s multiplayer, then the overall feel of Battlefield 4’s multiplayer will feel like your favorite pair of shoes – comfy and easy to slip into.
That’s not to say there aren’t some noticeable differences, such as a tweak to the controls (although if you’re a fan of the Battlefield 3 controls Dice allows you to switch to them), a couple new game modes Obliteration and Defuse, and a couple tweaks to the class/loadout system. An even greater emphasis on team based/squad based play as well.
Yet, even as much as I am enjoying the multiplayer, everything isn’t perfect. There are a few things that will probably be fixed in a patch but they are still enough of an issue to mention. I encountered a couple instances where an enemy was directly in front of me, and I was shooting them – and getting hit markers – only to have them kill me and on the stat screen it showed them at 100% health. I also had an instance where a wall was blown out, so I threw a grenade only to have the previously gone wall appear – which in turn caused the just thrown grenade to rebound back and land at my feet. I also encountered a handful of times when I spawn I had no gun, the gun usually appears within 15 seconds but it was an issue when an enemy was staring right at me.
By far the most frustrating issue I, and several of my friends, have encountered is an unexplainable freezing. It doesn’t strike on any one map in particular, and doesn’t occur during or after a set number of matches. Some nights you can play for a couple hours and have no issues, other nights you will have to reboot several times. I would really hope this is an issue that can be corrected with an update.
Now that we got the negative stuff out of the way, let’s talk about where Battlefield 4 shines. When talking positives, the very first thing that comes to mind is the map design and layout. Simply put the maps are well designed, and there is something in every map for all types of gameplay styles. Several long sightlines for snipers, a multitude of corners and turns for the CQC style people and good mid-range lines for those looking for something in between. On top of that, what Dice is calling Levolution, a way in which the maps can dynamically change and can alter the flow of battle. Things like skyscrapers crashing down, drainage passages filling with water, pylons being raised to prevent vehicles from entering, and security gates being lowered. It really is amazing at just how much you can control within the maps to change how the map is played.
The gun play is another area where Battlefield shines. Each class of weapons feels, and handles differently. On top of that each weapon in a class, that I have unlocked so far, handles differently. It really comes down to not only finding a weapon that does damage, but that you are comfortable with. For instance one of my favorite weapons is the Type 88 Light Machine Gun. Stat wise, it’s not the best but I love the handling of it and feel I can put more rounds on target than I can with a higher damage LMG. It’s all what works for you.
The added emphasis on squads and team play makes the experience more engaging. One of the more subtle changes that can be a big impact is for people like me who are compulsive reloaders – now when you reload, the ammo that was in your clip is gone. If someone on your team/squad is not a support class ammo can become scarce very quickly. Squads in Battlefield 4 are now squads of 5 instead of the 4 from the Battlefield 3. It makes balancing a solid squad that much easier, yet if the squad isn’t balanced there are some things that may suffer, such as the ammo availability I mentioned above.
No matter how refined a game is, no matter what game mechanics and added or taken away, when it all comes down to it if the game itself isn’t fun to just sit back and play nothing else matters. While I will whole heartedly agree that there are some things that can; and need to be, fixed what is there right now is fun to play. My few moments of frustration have been greatly overwhelmed by those only in Battlefield moments that make me want to keep playing. While an update will make Battlefield 4 that much better, ultimately I have enjoyed what I have played so far and am looking to continue taking people’s tags any chance I can.
MP rating: 8/10
This part of the review was written by WildMN34, a freelance writer who is crazy about his dogs! Patrons of the site may remember him as our Pinball wizard.
In terms of final score, we were going to just average out the two scores and give the game that total, but due to the fact that multiplayer was by far superior, and equates to more than 50% of the total game, we chose a score that best depicts the total product as a whole.
Final Score: 6.5/10