Battlefield 4 Review – “Fun Massive Battle Mayhem”

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battlefield-4-wallpaperDeveloper: EA Dice
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Platform: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: October 29, 2013 (US) November 1, 2013 (EU)
Price: $59.99
Reviewed on PC

The first game I ever reviewed was for my high school newspaper LA Vista was ‘Battlefield 2142’ and man has Battlefield changed so much but kept so much the same.  The same fun gameplay of being different types of soldiers and piloting different types of vehicles is still the core of this Battlefield game.  What has improved has created an addictive and action packed Battlefield game.  

Story  
Battlefield 4 single-player tries to offer that amazing story that we got to experience in ‘Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’ which struck the right amount of realism with amazing action.  Battlefield 4 feel just a little short of that but it wasn’t bad by any measure it just wasn’t jaw dropping.

The overall story follows a Marine named Recker and his squad as they are on a mission that situation always goes from worse to worse.  You will travel the across different parts of the world and chaos follows you.  Confrontation between China and Russia with the United States starts to rise and escalates.  I won’t spoil anymore for those that might be interested in the story which in my opinion wasn’t that bad.

The story goes for the realistic setting and it does almost a good job of it. Battlefield 4 reminded me of ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ which had intense action scenes but also tries to be serious which only does an average job of executing.  It’s serious moments aren’t horrible but it also doesn’t fit in with the sometimes over the top explosions.
Then again it still put more thought into its story than any Michael Bay movie which focuses only intense action scenes and ridiculous story to get you to forget about reality.  Something I am reminded from a certain first-person shooter franchise that has chosen to do that exact thing in recent years.  I have not finished their campaign since.  

Battlefield 4 is like an action movie with great action scenes that takes itself just a little too seriously.  While it is great that they tried making a dramatic storyline it just wasn’t possible with gameplay that isn’t that interesting.  Still the storyline is better than shooting the waves of enemies hiding behind cover.  

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Gameplay
The main meat of the game is placed on the games multiplayer and this is where you will be spending much of your time playing Battlefield 4.  Battlefield 4 also offers a single player experience but since it is no where near as fun as the online experience I will focus talking about the multiplayer first.

Multiplayer is a blast with huge maps that scale to the many different modes.  My favorite mode Conquest has you pitched in 64 player matches fighting for control over spawn points with vehicles destroying each other on open field and small squads fighting in alleyways.   

Classes are balanced all balanced and needed for victory.  How you want to play is up to you and there many options that cater towards your play style.  Do you want to fight in close quarter combat, provide tactical support, lead the charge in a tank, win aerial superiority gather battlefield intelligence, sabotage behind enemy lines, the options are numerous and fun.  

What is surprised was how well this mayhem was managed even in 64 players in a match.  While you can expect that all your teammates won’t work together if you work just with a small squad you can have tons of fun.  There are a lot of tools given to squads to incentivize working together which leads to great teamwork which makes all the difference in the overall grand battlefield.  

Sometimes it can be a hit or miss though but those are rare when one side is dominating much more.  Since most big matches the whole team probably won’t be working in military coordination they still have a natural tendency to congregate at areas across the map.  So while I never really felt like I was contributing too much to the overall victory of the game I did feel I made the difference in capturing and defending certain points.     

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Levels are also have a lot of destructibility in them. Levolution the most talked about feature can add some amazing sequences and they do add some change in tactics.  It’s just great fun when you jump inside a building for cover than a tank collapses the building but you in just the perfect spot to not be crushed.     

Then there’s the single player experience which I thought was a complete chore to get through.  By chore I mean I only felt I had beat it to get the weapon unlocks and that was it.  If it weren’t for the unlocks or the fact that I was reviewing this game I would probably stopped playing the campaign a long time ago.

It’s not bad by any means but its just so average.  You just shoot past endless waves of enemies to get to the next area where you do the same thing.  There are some scripted action scenes but they don’t draw you in too much.  What frustrated me was the enemies only aimed at me and never my allies.  Even when I order them to give me covering the enemy still aimed only at me.

If you want the guns unlocked for multiplayer which I recommend since I loved them then just put the mode on easy and burn right the relatively short campaign.  The single player doesn’t prepare you for the multiplayer anyway way so all that matters is those weapons you can unlock.  Just make sure you see all the different endings to get all the guns but don’t worry you can just restart the last mission to see them all.

Multiplayer is where this game is at and it offers a lot to keep you occupied.  There are countless guns, weapon attachments, vehicle upgrades, class equipment to unlock that it will probably be months until you unlocked just the majority of what the game has to offer.  Not to mention all the fun you will have actually using them against online opponents.  

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Graphics
This game looks amazing from the campaign to the massive online multiplayer.  Whatever small glitches their might be pales to comparison how good this game looks.  The campaign focuses its graphics to have realistic faces and in the online experience it is focused on creating immersive environments.  

Playing through the campaign looked amazing so at least it looked really good whenever I was fighting endless waves of enemies.  From the back drop to the locations themselves I felt immersed.  Not to mention the faces of other characters were probably the most realistic I have ever seen in any game.

The graphics for the online game not only looks great but interacts with you.  Since a lot of the environment is destructible having all the pieces of debris fly around and smokes of dust building up add to a very impressive online looking game.  For this scale it is probably one of the most impressive I have ever seen.   

Audio
The sound effects for this game was amazing.  Everything sounds like it suppose to like the bullets whizzing by your head to the to the buildings crumbling down around you.  Well at least I think they do since I’ve never been in those situations and hope I never do but man does it sound good.  

Voice actors also good a great job in the campaign  even though the writing is average.  Though your character is silent the entire time your squad mates do like talking to each other and make some funny jokes.  All the characters sound very convincing it’s just hard to take them too serious when the characters were just a little too clique.

I do have to say that I really enjoyed that the online characters spoke their native tongue.  Dropping an ammo pack while in the People’s Liberation Army will have you speak Mandarin.  All the really important orders will still be in English to make teamwork still fluid so it’s just a nice little touch.

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Downsides
Battlefield 4 does have its host of problems though when it comes to being friendly to newcomers.  Battlefield 2142 was the last in the series I got to play so when jumping back in it took me a long while to get used to changes and remembering how the gameplay flowed again.

True the game offers a training ground to test out weapons and vehicles but it does nothing to actually test you in combat.  For that you just have to jump into matches themselves which is totally understandable but the problem is you start out with very little equipment.  That makes progressing at the beginning slower when you first start out which is not a great idea.    

I can understand not allowing you to have access to the vast majority unlockables but a lot of the equipment you get at the beginning will not be useful to someone who is just getting started to the game.  For example you start off with a pair of binoculars as the Recon class that you can lock vehicles for missiles but the problem is you have to remain locked on.  This is only useful for teams that have great coordination which if you just started playing you probably will not have.
Also whenever you unlock a new gun you just get the gun  This wouldn’t be too much a problem but the only way to get more attachments is by getting more kills which is hard for a lot of guns without any attachments.  This really deters me from trying new weapons for fun.  There’s already so many optics to unlock just giving a the basic Red Dot Sight will actually make me want to try guns out to see if I really want to level it up.

Leveling up your character in Conquest can take an extremely long time depending on how well the match is doing.  This makes massive team deathmatches the best options to unlock weapons and attachments.  I really felt like the game should have been balanced to cater to those that also like to play as a team and win objectives not just killing.
I am really hard on the progression of the game because once I started unlocking more equipment and trying different combinations out was I blown away by this game.  After that I started unlocking so much that I still haven’t tried all the equipment I have.  That initial frustration in the game should not be there because it turns away newcomers when it should be embracing them.  

Pros:
– Fun online battles
– Tons of unlockable equipment
– Varied fun roles to play to keep experience fresh
– Amazing graphics

Cons:
– Weak single-player campaign
– Slow progression system
– Not newcomer friendly

Overall
If you can stick with the initial steep learning curve Battlefield 4 has so much to offer.  After getting good equipment I have been addicted and spent an obscene amount of hours playing this game.  I have clocked in so many hours that shame me but it felt so good.  I haven’t had this much fun with online with a first person shooter since Modern Warfare 3.

giving it a 8.5 out of 10