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Battlefield 4 Review

Posted by Matthew Hewson On Tuesday 26 November 2013Comments Off

Available on XBO, PS4, PC, 360 and PS3 l Published by EA l Developed by DICE l Classified MA15+ l Supports 1-24 players (64 on PC)

REVIEW IN BRIEF > EA’s big battle bonanza is back for its fourth outing and once again it delivers an exceptional multiplayer experience. Jaw droppingly beautiful graphics, excellent FPS combat and sublime vehicular carnage make for an experience that is both enjoyable and unique to Battlefield. Unfortunately the game is let down a little by the subpar single player component. Honestly though, who buys Battlefield for the single player?

REVIEW IN FULL > Video games are very rarely about feeling insignificant. Video games are generally about empowering the player with abilities and skills they could never have in real life. Be it as a super sports star, an unstoppable genetically enhanced soldier or a stealthy assassin, video games like to offer experiences that make gamers the centre of attention.  Battlefield is a different beast all together. The whole crux of a session in the world of Battlefield is to feel like just another soldier in a larger battle, one small piece on a gigantic explosive chessboard. It is this feeling of insignificance and a focus on teamwork that makes Battlefield 4 an experience like no other.

The story is both harebrained and confusing…

Multiplayer matches again take centre stage. While the traditional Deathmatch and Capture the Flag modes are well put together, the real fun is found in the modes unique to Battlefield. Conquest and Rush return from previous versions and are once again a pure pleasure to play. Conquest sees two teams of soldiers competing to hold strategic points around the map. Rush has one team of soldiers attacking a series of objectives while the opposing team attempts to defend them. Both modes are brilliant and offer some of the best team play that gaming has to offer. A few new modes have been added, such as Obliteration and Defuse (both variations on Rush). While these are sure to win their fair share of fans, they do feel a little like side dishes to the main meal of Conquest and Rush.

Just like Battlefield 3, this version includes a single player campaign, and just like Battlefield 3, it is a complete letdown. The single player comes off as a poor man’s Call of Duty. The story is both harebrained and confusing, the voice work is generally poor and the combat leaves a lot to be desired. The one saving grace is that it looks absolutely stunning. It wouldn’t be surprising to find out that the only reason that DICE created a solo portion was to show off the spectacular Frostbite 3.0 engine. The whole campaign seems determined to show every graphical trick in the book with stunning weather effects, excellent physics and some staggeringly beautiful locations. If this is the potential of the next generation of graphics then gamers are in for a superb ride.

Another component of Battlefield that constantly impresses is the audio. Apart from the aforementioned voice work, the sound effects are consistently top notch. The whizz of bullets, the rumbling of approaching tanks, the clatter of a helicopter just overhead and the thump of a rocket striking its target all sound crystal clear and add plenty of immersion to proceedings. This is a game designed to be enjoyed on a 5.1 surround system or an expensive set of headphones. If gamers are using anything less, they are doing the game a disservice.

…a unique multiplayer experience that excites and satisfies.

Speaking of sounds, nothing sends the chill of fear through a player more than the noisy presence of a nearby tank. Vehicles are back in all their carnage-causing glory and boy do they add a lot to the battle. Tanks, APCs, jeeps, assault boats, jet skis, ATVs, helicopters and fighter jets are present in almost every battle. They all handle as players would expect. Smaller vehicles like ATVs are nippy and agile but offer little in the way of protection, whereas a tank is slow and ponderous yet can level a building with its powerful weaponry. Flying has be made a little easier in this iteration, which means more and more players are happy to have some epic dogfights above the chaos below. All of these tools of destruction add a feeling of grandeur to the clash and ensure that players all feel part of an immense battle.

With immensity comes destruction and it is hard to think of a game that does destruction better than Battlefield 4. Buildings crumble, water towers fall and foliage explodes in a manner that is sure to impress. Some of the most exciting moments in matches come when one team can destroy a major building, sending rubble down on the soldiers below. One of the best examples of this involves destroying a dam in order to flood the map and render tanks and jeeps useless. These dynamic maps are one of the true highlights of the game and they force players to constantly be on their toes.

All of this adds up to a unique multiplayer experience that satisfies and excites. From the tight gameplay to the thrilling and enormous battles, Battlefield 4 is a game that sits comfortably amongst the cream of the video game crop. People who like to go it alone may not find much to like, but anyone who finds the idea of being a part of a unit is sure to be satisfied. Battlefield has a great ability to make every member of the team feel like they are contributing and despite the technical brilliance the game displays, this may be its greatest achievement. Being insignificant has never been so much fun.

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