A Tale of Three Shooters (Part 1)

Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2699 posts) -

I'll be playing the three major shooters this autumn across three different platforms so I thought it'd be a good idea to write down some notes on each and compare what can be compared. I'll be playing Battlefield 4 on PC, Killzone Shadow Fall on PlayStation 4, and Call of Duty: Ghosts on Xbox One. I'll also be doing season passes for each which makes BF4 and CoDG $120 each while Killzone Shadow Fall is a mere $80.

GBSquad represent

First up is Battlefield 4. I run the Giant Bomb server (with the help of several others) which comes with its own stresses near launch. Sadly it's impossible for me to separate the anxieties of server administration from my overall impression of the game. This launch has been roughly as messy as Battlefield 3's was. It's pretty clear this game came in real hot.

Maps are unoptimised and have audio glitches. One map crashes 50% of clients when an event is triggered. There were frequent server crashes for the first week after release. Client crashes are far more common than they should be and stat loss is fairly common when crashes occur. These problems have been patched pretty quickly on the server side, but client side patches are only starting to hit now, two weeks later.

I like AT mines

I want to get all the negative 'this-is-a-DICE-game' stuff out of the way early because pretty much everything else about Battlefield 4 is brilliant. You're not far off base if you want to call it Battlefield 3.5, but I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing either (unless we see Battlefield 5 in the next 18 months). 3 was a great game with lots of issues. 4 fixes most of them.

For starters, there isn't a better looking game out there right now, perhaps with the exception of Crysis 3. This won't change any time soon either. Battlefield 4 is surprisingly well optimised and with everything set to ultra my GTX 780 has no issue cranking 100+ FPS. Advances from 3 seem subtle at first, but when you see the effects, animations, and destruction of the new Frostbite it's almost overwhelmingly impressive.

Singleplayer is pretty, just not engaging

The single player campaign plays like a lot of Call of Duty wannabes. It's not bad, but it's not great either. Luckily it's pretty short so playing through it is worth your time. The story is poorly written and uses plots we've seen time and time again. Voice acting is hit or miss and there's just an overall lower quality feel to it compared to some of the better CoD games. Let's face it though, nobody buys Battlefield for singleplayer. Play it, get your weapons unlocks, and move on.

Multiplayer is fantastic. The maps aren't going to knock Battlefield 2's or Bad Company 1's off their pedestals, but they're more than serviceable for a multiplayer structure which is otherwise pristine. Commander mode is back, there's a new spectator option, levelution is stupid and great, and oh boy those explosions. Battlefield 4 might be the best sandbox yet for their trademark "Battlefield Moments". We've all been having a fantastic time with it (between crashes) and having a solid community server has made it all the better.

Levoluting my Drivatar

I feel like 4 finally gets infantry combat feeling correct. The guns feel great, the player movement is nice and fluid, and the classes are well balanced. It's a shame that there aren't more infantry-viable maps at the moment, but I think we'll start to see that in map packs. Vehicles are still Battlefield's forte, and they do them better than anyone else. I can not emphasize enough just how much 4's streamlining of features has allowed players to focus on just doing cool shit.

BF4 is the purest and and most focused Battlefield since BF2. Will it ever dethrone that king? Probably not, but it's one hell of a franchise entry. I hope we see a Bad Company 3 or Battlefront from DICE next so that we give the core series some time to breathe after this.

Next up will be Killzone Shadow Fall, which I'll start playing tomorrow when my PlayStation 4 arrives. I'm a fan of the K'zone series, so I'm pretty excited. Part 2 next week some time, I hope. If you want to see some of the Giant Bomb BF4 server's dumbassery, check out the video below;

Thanks for reading.

#1 Posted by bobafettjm (1556 posts) -

I would totally be playing Battlefield 4 on the PC except for how poorly it ran for me during the beta, time to get a new video card I guess. I will probably end up getting it for PS4, whenever I get around to picking one of those up.

#2 Posted by Mageknight (124 posts) -

Well written; I think I pretty much agree with this 100%. Looking forward to seeing what you think of the other games.

#3 Edited by AMyggen (3525 posts) -

Props for this, really well written. BF4 looks absolutely amazing, a shame that EA pushed it out of the door too soon.

edit: From the article: "unless we see Battlefield 5 in the next 18 months." Oh, I think we will, at least in two years. EA will EA this franchise to death, at least that's what I fear. I hope they hold back the numbered sequels, but I have absolutely no way in EA to do so.

#4 Edited by Schlorgan (247 posts) -

Once I stopped playing BF4's SP like CoD and started playing it like Crysis 2, I found it to be pretty fun, surprising me with how much agency it gives to handle stuff. It's better than Ghosts'.

#5 Posted by Veektarius (4983 posts) -

For the most part, I've enjoyed BF4 enough not to regret spending $60 for a game that looks a lot like the one that preceded it. The one thing that bothers me is that it makes it that much more tedious to unlock weapons that I feel like I've already earned.

One thing I've noticed is that I seem to be using support a lot less in this game, though it hasn't really been my go-to class since they moved healing away from support after Bad Company.

#6 Posted by Fobwashed (2168 posts) -

I know it's been around for a while, but I still think a key part to what makes BF so fun to play is the ability to spawn on squad members and keep groups of people close together doing the same thing on a huge map. Nice write up. I've fortunately never experienced a crash besides when the server goes down. It's really terrible listening to people repeatedly have to restart their games =(

#7 Posted by Butano (1774 posts) -

I'd love to get the game and play, but like @bobafettjm the beta ran like complete ass on my C2Q and 660 GTX, so I'm a little skeptical of picking it up right away.

#8 Posted by Schlorgan (247 posts) -

I would argue that EA is doing better than Activision. EA is putting BF out every other year while Activision has been releasing CoD 4.X+1 EVERY year for the past SIX YEARS. Honestly I see more ambition and effort from BF3-BF4 than from CoD4 to Ghosts.

#9 Posted by sarahsdad (1119 posts) -

@rolyatkcinmai:

Thanks for starting this. I've never been much into online MP, but with the change in generations I've been really curious about trying out one of these games.

It might be hard if you've been playing for a while, but as you go through the three games, could you give a quick line or two about how easy/difficult it might be for someone basically new to the whole thing to get to a point where they feel like they're contributing to their team?

#10 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2699 posts) -

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

I would argue that EA is doing better than Activision. EA is putting BF out every other year while Activision has been releasing CoD 4.X+1 EVERY year for the past SIX YEARS. Honestly I see more ambition and effort from BF3-BF4 than from CoD4 to Ghosts.

I think Treyarch actually innovates quite a bit. It's generally Infinity Ward that rolls back their changes and makes a mirror of their last game. Keep in mind that while not an actual Battlefield title, EA was annualising Frostbite engine games with Medal of Honour previously. Not that different than what Call of Duty does, really.

@rolyatkcinmai:

but as you go through the three games, could you give a quick line or two about how easy/difficult it might be for someone basically new to the whole thing to get to a point where they feel like they're contributing to their team?

Yeah I'll do my best to include some of that, though I'm certainly far from new at any of these franchises. I'll do my best!

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