Battlefield 4 Review

Developer: EA Digital Illusions CE / Publisher: Electronic Arts / Played on: PlayStation 4, PC / Price: $59.99 / ESRB: Mature 17+ [Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language]

Battlefield always produces those insane moments—the ones where you ramp your tank off a small hill only to ram right into a low-flying jet and explode in a totally awesome way. Battlefield 4 finds a way to make those moments even more insane. Imagine an entire map flooding with water, sending both you and your opponents scrambling for dry ground so you can get back to killing each other. Imagine a typhoon breaking out over once-idyllic tropical islands, obscuring vision and sound with intense rain.

Yeah, I’m referring to leveloution. Despite the stench of marketing about the name, it’s real, it works, and it’s why Battlefield 4 is so goddamn fun.

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It’s much more than just buildings falling over, which may be what you’re expecting if you saw the E3 demo or played the beta. The concept is both large and small, ranging from the aforementioned flood to smaller events like the lights cutting off in a building or a capture point that’s on a moving train. You experience it most often in small-scale destruction; almost every piece of cover in the game is destructible. One second you think you’re untouchable and then a rocket completely evaporates all cover around you leaving you as naked and exposed as a newborn baby. It keeps you on your toes and generates new ideas and strategies in shootouts with other people.

Commander mode is the other huge new addition to Battlefield 4 and it can be awesome as long as you’re playing with a team that communicates. It’s a similar idea to Battlefield 2 or even Tribes 2—when you become commander, you get an overhead view of the entire map and issue orders to squads. Provided that the squads trust in your tactics, it can be a very powerful strategic tool, but good luck finding that kind of harmony in random online games.

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Even if that team synergy isn’t present, the commander still has powers that can help the team. You can drop UAV scans to reveal enemy positions in a specific area, drop vehicles or supplies for squads, and even spawn roving gunships or missile strikes depending on which capture points your team owns. Tying commander powers to capture points is a great idea—it adds even more strategic depth to capturing points beyond just trying to win the match. Plus, dropping a giant missile on the map feels godlike.

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A handful of other additions and general improvements elevate the experience over Battlefield 3. Field upgrades have replaced squad perks, granting you four levels of stat improvements based on your squad’s teamwork—squad heals, resupplies, spawning on squad, those sorts of actions. Just like perks, it’s a nice boost to earn, and I like that it’s tied more to how you perform as a squad rather than the collective hours you pump into the game. Equipment unlocks have been shuffled for a smoother experience as well. For instance, with jets you now have missiles right off the bat, meaning you’re not stuck trying to kill helicopters and tanks with your guns for hours. For that matter, damage on vehicles awards partial credit as you do it, so you don’t have to pray for an assist just to get some unlock progression.

From the levelouted maps to commander mode to the new squad mechanics, Battlefield 4 is a top-to-bottom improved multiplayer experience over Battlefield 3. And Battlefield 3 was damn good, so that’s saying a lot.

Even the single-player is improved since it takes more advantage of Battlefield’s essence. Rather than provide a series of scripted events, and hallways filled with gun-holding scarecrows, Battlefield 4’s campaign contains several open areas that give you the freedom to engage your enemies how you choose. The AI presents an interesting challenge too—if you command your squad to lock them down with covering fire and try to flank, they’ll retreat. If you sit in one place too long, they’ll rain grenades down on you. It makes you play smart and fast, which is worlds apart from Battlefield 3. Even the scoring system is a good addition, allowing you the chance to unlock guns based on your performance. It’s not as deep as Bulletstorm’s or even Halo’s but it’s something.

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The story is… OK. The events revolve around a squad of harrowed soldiers stomping around Europe and Asia untangling political cock-ups and preventing World War III. That’s the framing of just about every modern military shooter, but it’s enough motivation to get the bullets flying. Most of the campaign focuses on the personal drama of the squad which is a wise choice. In addition to tense war drama you also get light-hearted moments that endear these characters more than your typical square-chinned shooter cast.

I have some small issues with the characters though. Most of the conflict revolves around Irish, and his first major character conflict is forgotten in favor of another about halfway through without much interesting resolution or commentary. Still, I remember all the characters’ names and would like to see them again, which is way more than I can say about Battlefield 3. The campaign isn’t anything profound or new, but it at least earns its place alongside the multiplayer this time around.

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In fact, that echoes what I said previously about multiplayer. Battlefield 3 was some of the best fun you could have online when it came out, and Battlefield 4 is all of that and more. If you enjoyed 3, there’s no reason at all to skip out on the sequel. And if you’ve never played a Battlefield before, now’s a great time to start. Get in here and start blowing up awesomely yourself.

+ LEVELOUTION
+ Commander Mode extends strategic depth
+ Campaign a huge improvement

9.5 / 10

  1. “…there’s no reason at all to skip out on the sequel…”

    – Lack of enough hardcore servers
    – The community
    – Origin
    – Season Pass (or premium or w/e they choose to call it) will make getting it early a stupid decision
    – EA

    • The battlefield community is actually pretty awesome compared to every other shooter/mmo/mp game I have ever played.

      I know people hate on origin, but for the most part, its completely out of the way of anything I do. Do you need more hardcore servers? RENT ONE.

      Every service/platform/game has things you can whine about, but the games have so many positives that its hard not to outweigh the bad.

      I have over 450hrs into bf3, the community there is great and the replay value essentially infinite. Thats a lot of game of 60 bucks…

      • I guess you’re not that good then, cuz I would see people (including myself) get banned from servers just cuz they were better than most everyone on that server, and the admins were stupid kids that didn’t like being beat. Eventually I didn’t have much choice of servers other than a few hardcore servers in brazil and europe that were pretty much empty all the time. So I’m assuming your response to that would to rent a server? If you find that acceptable, then EA has you deep down in it’s pockets. I don’t trust EA enough to waste more money on something they make. If BF4 is still good 5 months down the road, then I’ll buy it.

        And I guess the community on normal mode is “better” than hardcore, since there’s no teamkilling activated.

  2. - Lack of enough hardcore servers
    – The community
    – Origin
    – Season Pass (or premium or w/e they choose to call it) will make getting it early a stupid decision
    – EA

    Above point show you are a sad soul! Community and premium give me a break. Premium was awesome thing about BF3, it kept game fresh for at least 2 years.

    You want to skip this awesome game becos of EA and Origin, go back to your rabbit hole.

  3. bf 2 is still far more fun than bf 3, hopefully 4 fixes that.

  4. …BF4 multiplayer mode it’s just a big DICEpointment…all the fus around FROSTBITE3 and they came up with this graphics???…(talking about multiplayer)…and lets not forget the poor options regarding weapons, maps, squads…i mean…what just happened here???
    DICE made BF4more like MOH instead more like BF3…(thats a great game…in all aspects)…witch was a big mistake…i think…but hey…opinions it’s like HssWhls…everybody have one!!!…and why the campaign mode it’s so much better???
    …but people don’t lose they value just because a mistake…so…don’t give up DICE…keep up the good work
    best regards

  5. As much fun as BF4 has been, (maps are even better than i thought they would be, firefights are insane) I have been incredibly dissapointed by the Jets on current gen consoles. Of the 10 maps only 4 of them have jets and the ones that do only have ONE JET PER TEAM! As someone who spent most of his time on BF3 in the air, I just do not undersand why EA would take away anything from its aviation combat especially considering the new scale of the maps. Jet battles are practically pointless now as the moment you shoot another jet down there is literally no action for the next minute, there are no wingmen on your team or the other and its pretty dissapointing IMO. Boats are awesome though…:-\

  6. PC version requires Origins? Pass. I’ll just wait for the next gen consoles and get it then.

  7. I wasted $60 to find you that you require a hard drive to download hd content. Why!? Why can’t we just download it with a flash drive!? I can’t take it back now because it already was put into my console. Sometimes battlefield makes me angry

  8. All in all bf4 is better than any other game out there. But I’m not mentioning the good. I’m mentioning the bad. The jets have been covered ( terrible and too few of them). But the tanks….. I could throw farther than they can shoot. How can the Abrams shoot 3 miles in life but can’t shoot 30 feet in battlefield 4. They mainly need to fix the jets and tanks as well as the way the vehicles reload. They had it good in bf3. Why change it? Come on dice listen to the complaints!

  9. This is by far one of the best games I have ever played but I’m still think Call of Duty is better

  10. Not buying because of origin? Ahaaa ha! Sad muppet.

  11. i rather stick with my shiny-arse yellow car in gta iv and gta v than spending sperm in a 4 hour campaigin anyday

  12. You must have been paid to give this game 95/100 at launch. It certainly has the potential to become or _should have been_ a 95/100, but with the quality of the product 3 weeks later, it’s very obvious that the game is incomplete/broken. You should _NOT_ reward EA Games with such high marks for such a disappointing release. Release broken — fix later is not acceptable.

    The marks should be put down to about 70/100 until they can fix the game. Once it’s fixed in a few months (ie. how much earlier they released it from when it was actually going to be finished) it will probably be worth 90-99/100.

  13. I want whatever it is you smoked before giving this broken pile of crash and netcode errors a 9.5 :D

  14. Really you give this bugged we don’t care about our costumers game a 95….. you my friend are an idiot or getting paid for this “review”

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