Game Guys review - Battlefield 4

5:24 PM, Nov 6, 2013   |    comments
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  • The DICE-developed FPS video game 'Battlefield 4' is published by Electronic Arts.
  • The DICE-developed FPS video game 'Battlefield 4' is published by Electronic Arts.

Yet another year is drawing ever closer to its close which means that, yet again, Activision and Electronic Arts have released the latest editions of their big-time FPS franchises of Call of Duty and Battlefield.

Our review of Activision's Call of Duty: Ghosts isn't due to post until later this week, but here's a preview:  The game isn't nearly as good as Battlefield 4 thanks to the latter's more thought out and tactical approach to the genre.

Battlefield 4 features a story lead by a covert U.S. Marines unit known as the Tombstone Squad.  Thanks to increasingly strained relationships between the U.S.A., Russia, and China, the squad is sent into the PRC to help secure a key person and get to safety.  The mission, of course, goes haywire and the squad is forced to adapt and escape the hostile land.

While good overall, the campaign isn't perfect.  One of the new features presented in Battlefield 4 is the ability to identify enemies through the use of tactical binoculars then ordering squadmates where and when to attack.  The process, however, feels muddled at times - especially late in the game when everything is so critical.  Can it be mastered?  Yes, but it's not entirely enjoyable.

Of course, the campaign is but a distraction from the real draw for games like this: multiplayer.  As some might recall, the multiplayer found in last year's Battlefield 3 was (by most accounts) lackluster at best.  Much to the delight of BF4 players, the new game's multiplayer is much improved.  Players get a good mix of video game warfare both on foot and via vehicles including the manning of boat turrets and tanks.  And for those not wanting to learn as they go, the game now features a training mode where new and novice players can learn how to operate many of the game's features without fear of being listed a "noob" by other players.

As with last year's edition, BF4 breaks down soldier classes to four types: Assault, Engineer, Support, and Recon.  Each has their own set of equipment, though players can customize their spec sets to their own liking.  As far as which of the four is the best, it's really up to the player.  There is no one class that's any better or worse than another - it's all on what style of FPS multiplayer the player prefers to utilize.

Key additions to the game's multiplayer maps are Commander Mode and what the developers like to refer to as "Levolution".  The latter means that there are moments in which the landscape of a battle can change drastically due to the collapse of a building mid-skirmish, which adds yet more pandemonium to an already chaotic and exciting affair.  Commander Mode, to put it simply, is a top-down view of the battlefield that allows a player to issue specific orders and call in assistance in the form of air strikes and other items.  It's nifty in concept but is certainly not for everyone.

While the game plays great and looks quite good in this the twilight of the current-gen systems, it has some technical issues (at least it does on Xbox 360).  There were issues launching into multiplayer, and by issues we mean the console froze.  While it didn't happen every time, it did happen more than once and that's enough to make note of the issue.  Other issues include to atmospheric items occasionally rendering poorly and intermittent AI problems during the campaign.  Hopefully these things will be fixed sooner rather than later with a post-launch patch.

Those wondering whether they should spend their hard-earned money on EA's DICE developed Battlefield 4 and Activision's Infinity Ward developed Call of Duty: Ghosts should know that Electronic Arts' offering is the better of the two.  It does have a few issues as were noted in this review and there was a feeling of FPS fatigue as the gameplay hours added up, but it's still a thrilling militaristic FPS experience with which fans of the genre should be happy.

24/25 21/25 20/25 23/25 19/25 88/100

Version tested: 360 (also available on PS3, PC)

(Electronic Arts supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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