Thursday 14 November 2013

Battlefield 4

DICE must be sick of making Battlefield games. Since EA bought them out in 2004, they have literally become a Battlefield farm, with the odd unique title like Mirror's Edge thrown in there to keep them (and us) sane. Two years after bringing us Battlefield 3, they're now giving us Battlefield 4. It's not a terrible game by any means, and is certainly a series that is more forward thinking than, say, Call of Duty, but it's not the pinnacle of modern warfare video gaming. For that need for realism go check out ARMA 3.

The biggest step-up from Battlefield 3 is the single-player campaign. The campaign in Battlefield 3 was pretty awful and really came across like an afterthought, but this is different. One nice feature is that the single-player campaign kind of adopts some characteristics of the multiplayer experience. Being careful with your shots, not wasting bullets, and focusing on getting head-shots gives you experience points which then in turn open up new weapons. This elevates gameplay to more than just a mindless run-and-gun approach, as the game requires you to be tactful, rather than just be a bystander to your potential incompetence.

The plot to the single-player campaign is, well, the typical fare for a modern shooter. What's more interesting though, are the characters that drive that story along. It seems DICE have taken a page out of the book of Battlefield: Bad Company, in that the characters don't just fade into the background, but rather stand out as being unique individuals. There's excellent banter between the members of Tombstone squad, and while it doesn't really build much character development, it does give each character some worthwhile personality. It makes for a nice change in tone; especially when most of the game is too busy screaming, “WAR! SHOOT! KILL!” in your face.

But the single-player campaign, though hugely fun and wall-to-wall with standout moments, is pretty damn short. So if you're strictly looking for a single-player experience, stay well away. It's too short lived, and contains little or no re-playability. However, if, like the vast majority of Battlefield fans, you're looking for a predominantly multiplayer experience, then this just might be the game for you. Much like Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 was created with online multiplayer in mind, and this shines through, as here it's a pretty damn well crafted experience. Excellent and satisfying gunplay, a huge array of ground and air vehicles to control and large, open destructible environments make for a fantastic sandbox for hours of enjoyment online.

However, the problem is that whereas a game like Grand Theft Auto 5 has an equally pleasing online experience as it does an offline one, Battlefield 4 is three quarters a multiplayer game, and one quarter a single player game. And yes, while the single player is not an afterthought like in Battlefield 3, it's still a short-lived experience that should have been more a focal point of the title. But hey, as far as a Battlefield game goes it's pretty damn solid, and its sandbox style online gameplay will open up endless possibilities for gamers.

Battlefield 4 lands a war weary 7.5/10

Denis Murphy

Battlefield 4 at CeX

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