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.
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 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.
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.
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.