Short term fun from the campaign and long term mutiplayer antics ensure this trip to the Battlefield is one worth taking
Battlefield 4 REVIEW
By Tyler Pederson
After entering the realm of Modern Combat, two adventures following the Bad Company team, and a third numerical installment, all landing in the seventh console generation, Battlefield 4 arrives for both the current and next generation consoles, and intends to set the bar for the modern FPS. One can certainly say that the line that divides Call of Duty and Battlefield has become increasingly blurred, especially so with the latest installments in their respective franchises. DICE has made it clear with their latest iteration of the increasingly popular franchise they intended to show they are better at the craft of creating a fun and engaging FPS. Now comes judgment day, and we see just how far that good intention can go.
One thing is clear from the jump. Battlefield 4 is the most visually impressive FPS to date. From facial animations and subtle emotions conveyed in body language, the Frostibite 3 puts in work to deliver everything the hardware it's running on can handle, and it comes through brilliantly. From the quiet expositions to the more frantic firefights, the world that surrounds you is dripping with detail in every direction. There is something to be said for a game who's destruction physics themselves have transcended what most others in the genre can put out in their entire game, at least when viewed from the aspect of making good use of development time. The variety of locations explored in the campaign and subsequently in the multiplayer is clearly varied so as to demonstrate that the beauty the engine is capable of cranking out isn't limited to one trick
From the streets of China to the open seas, the levels you will explore are incredibly vast. One could almost expect such visual fidelity on a large scale to cause hiccups, but from a personal standpoint I can't say I saw anything jarring in the least. Sure you may get stuck behind someone in the dialogue only sequence or you might encounter a sequence when you're instructed to lead your men, but can only proceed once they have gone ahead of you, but such things have become so rampant across all games as of late that it's hard to hold it against any of them. One need only count the enemies on screen at any given point to really understand how many small bits of behind the scenes processing is going on at all times.
Speaking on the topic of enemies, I feel the need to express some serious appreciation. It may simply be my skill level, but I was pleasantly surprised to be forced to restart a level because I was genuinely out matched by a squad of enemies, rather than simply for my own mistakes or going through the whole thing without risk, as is all too often the case in these sorts of titles. The AI at play in the campaign is some of the greatest I've had the pleasure of playing against...until it isn't. As with all games, the processing is split between AI and the level itself, meaning that when things start to really affect the level, the AI gets a little less impressive. These instances are thankfully few and far between, with the majority of the enemies, especially near the end game, providing a solid challenge to even those familiar with the genre.
Finally, the real reason that most play Battlefield, and admittedly the reason I picked the game up to begin with, Multiplayer. Largely unchanged from Battlefield 3, the large scale Conquest mode still conveys the best way to jump right into the action. The matchmaking system is better than ever, ensuring that while you are bound to encounter a challenge, it will never be so frustrating that you don't want to continue playing after a bad round. Visually, it's clear that while the multiplayer maps have had a lot of work put into them, likely for the purposes of maintaining an issue free game, look noticeably worse than their campaign counterparts, but is hardly anything bad looking. The much touted Leveloution system, the element of multiplayer that can change the game a bit by physically altering the map, is more of a novelty than a truly game changing feature. Due to the repeatitive nature of the events, it turns more into a tool to use in strategy rather than something to be worried about happening organically.
I would be doing myself a disservice if I didn't mention one of my only real issues with the game. While there are a number of impressive elements to the game, from the talented AI to level design itself that makes otherwise mundane encounters something to behold, there are huge issues with the dialogue. As someone who appreciates even the simplest of attempts to make an exchange of words memorable, I can't say that there was a single moment I will recall for the reasons they want me to. From repeating itself as if assuming the player can't remember simple story beats, to cringe worthy quips between AI partners. A memorable story isn't why most are interested in Battlefield, but it certainly makes a lot more sense as to why Call of Duty grabbed up an actual script writer for Ghosts, as having a pretty face with nothing to say leaves much to be desired.
While I can't say for certain Battlefield has escaped the shadow of it's closest competitor, they have managed to create a fun and visually breathtaking game that delivers on both the short term campaign fun and provides endless opportunity for multiplayer antics for the months to come. The future of first person shooters is likely to see little change if this is any indication, and while it's certainly not a new recipe, it's hard to argue anyone makes it better than Battlefield.
Battlefield 4 gets an 8 out of 10.