Battlefield 4 review
EA’s modern military shooter juggernaut has finally reached its fourth major iteration, and although it comes as a package Battlefield 4 is essentially two very different games. The first is a linear first person shooter with lofty ambitions, but ones that ultimately fall short. Thankfully the second is one of the most engaging and entertaining multiplayer games around.
BF4 SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN
The Battlefield franchise has never been sold on the strength of its single player campaigns, but the bombastic military bravado, macho dialogue and countless explosions are much less enjoyable here than they were in the previous game. Whereas Battlefield 3 questioned the morality of following orders and whether you were even fighting for the right side, in Battlefield 4 you’re Sergeant Recker, just another grunt blindly obeying the top brass.
As your character is essentially mute throughout the entire campaign, it is left to your squad mates Pac and Irish to inject any sense of personality and explain the plot as it unfolds. Unfortunately they rarely do more than open doors, provide cover and shout approvingly every time you make a headshot.
The plot isn't exactly coherent, and played through on normal difficulty should only take around five hours to complete. There are a few epic set-piece moments, but the campaign puts too much of an emphasis on close quarters combat, lacks any kind of destructible scenery and only drops you into a vehicle for a few short minutes at a time. If you were hoping the single player story would prepare you for jumping into multiplayer, you’ll be in for a rude awaking once you head online.
Thankfully this is only half the story. For a game with its roots firmly planted online, it should come as no surprise that the bulk of Battlefield 4 can be found within the multiplayer mode. Series veterans will be instantly at home with the combination of land, sea and air-based vehicles, infantry combat and control-based objectives, in massive maps that comfortably hold up to 64-players at a time.
The maps never feel cramped, even on the busiest servers. Each one is huge, filled with a mix of close quarters and long range, as well as interior and exterior combat. Some are better suited to certain game modes than others, with Battlefield’s signature Conquest mode quickly becoming an office favourite. Obliteration, making its series debut here, comes a close second – scrambling across the map to reach a bomb before the enemy team, and then using it to demolish one of their checkpoints, becomes a real challenge when your opposition is working together efficiently.
The learning curve to flying helicopters and jets is still immense, but there are more opportunities to learn here than there were in previous games because the developers have completely overhauled the spawn system. Rather than queue at your team’s base for a jet or tank to spawn, you can now jump straight into one from the deploy screen if it’s available. This encourages players to spawn on their squad members and attack objectives, rather than wait at the back of a map until their favourite vehicle is available.