When Battlefield 4 launched on the PS3, gamers were met with a number of issues that they could only hope would be promptly fixed and completely figured out by the time it launched on the PS4. After having put in well over 50 hours in the now current gen version of the game, it is safe to say that not only have the issues not been fixed, it seems more are popping up.
The most notable aspect about Battlefield 4 is its luscious visuals and incredible use of physics, on a war zone that is capable of containing games of up to 64 players and numerous vehicles. Running around the various maps, it is easy to see the improved texture density, especially if you are coming from the previous generation’s version, making everything looking more clean and realistic. Sadly, there is a decent amount of dips in the framerate and extremely noticeable pop-in, especially on some of the foliage and certain blown out walls.
The campaign for BF4 is just about as unremarkable as it was the last time around, characters are mildly fleshed out and the story is little more than a teetering global conflict that rests on the shoulders of a few unlucky soldiers. Taking the player through a variety of locations and objectives, the story is little more than a rundown of the various features available in multiplayer, which makes it feel like an elongated tutorial with some Hollywood set pieces thrown in to keep you playing.
Sadly, while the story might redeem itself at the end, I will never know. Due to an issue with the game continually failing to progress, I am stuck having to replay through the same mission over and over again until it rectifies itself or restart the campaign altogether. But, since I am on the last mission and have a decent enough understanding of what the story has had to offer, I can easily say that the campaign is little more than a throwaway unless you enjoy empty military scenarios.
Obviously, the main reason anyone is going to pick up Battlefield 4, is for the multiplayer portion of the game, and thankfully, this is where it shines. Being by far, my most favored online experience, BF4 sets players with various modes that go from a multipoint king of the hill ticket mode to smaller options like attack/defend or team deathmatch. All of which, are designed almost to perfection, with team sizing and map scaling to provide just about the correct amount of mayhem and exploration needed for each objective.
Battlefield 4 really sets its sights on keeping players feeling like they are a member of a squad, as each of the games 4 kits have their own set of weapons and accessories to make each them valuable to the war effort. But, instead of limiting a kit like recon to being a sniper, all kits have the ability to use a sub class of weapons instead of the default, which gets players classes moving into situations they wouldn’t normally be in. With each weapon class also having a laundry list of unlockable weapons and accessories, the amount of replay value contained in BF4 is incredible, if not a bit daunting – especially if you account for most weapons having drastic differences in capabilities.
Being a BF game, all 9 vehicle types in the game are very much at the center of the bigger maps and modes. But, unlike BF3, the ability to unlock a specific weapon ability for your chosen craft feels less like a grind, as experience is a bit more generous, especially with the chance to unlock random items with new battlepack feature. The only issue that I had found in general with the vehicles, was that each of the aircrafts were a bit touchy and the new default controls for flying have a steep learning curve.
Building off of what we had seen in the past, each of the game’s maps have buildings that can be completely broken down into a pile of rubble. Not only does this add a great deal of versatility to each game that is played, it goes a great distance in making BF4’s multiplayer feel immersive in ways that no other game has in the past and works great with its existing mechanics.
Sadly, while multiplayer can feel like a deep and well designed feature, it is riddled with countless drops that can make the experience mute and frustrating. Playing through an hour long match, only to have it disconnect is infuriating, especially when it happens within the last few minutes. Having a match drop once in a while is an understandable problem that almost every game must face at some point, but it is really the frequency within BF4 that makes it such a problem.
Ultimately, Battlefield 4 is a wonderfully robust experience with a predictably mundane single player campaign that could have been one of the best games on the new current-gen consoles. But, the number of game breaking issues that can arise detracts from the simple ability to play the game in very fundamental ways, makes it difficult to recommend on any level, as some gamers will be able to deal with the issues, while others wont.