Battlefield 4 Review - an epic conclusion to PS3 that raises the bar for PS4
- Posted October 29th, 2013 at 00:01 EDT by Timothy Nunes
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Battlefield 4 sends off the current generation of shooters in prime form. There's prowess across the board, from narrative to action, and technical hiccups can't derail a game that is simply great on PS3.
- Single-player experience of titanic proportions
- Visual mastery unmatched in shooters
- Multiplayer at its best
- Slow-loading textures
- Simple AI for team and enemies
Still, this push toward maxing out PS3's hardware brings out flaws, though whether these flaws are due to game or hardware is up to speculation. The framerate stayed consistent (at least, consistent enough to not notice much change), no matter if waves of enemies or waves of water were bombarding the scene, but some textures stood out as visually disjointed. Specifically, some cars reflected incredibly pixelated and improperly lighted images, and some water details are better in places than they are in others. In fact, water was very inconsistent across the entire game. Some water that was built into the ground texture, such as small puddles after a rain, looked beautiful, but reservoirs of water (of any size) that could be traversed varied wildly. Oceans look great as they thrash and throw, where larger puddles and Mission Two's river tend toward opaque and mercurial rather than aquatic. These visual maladies don't break the illusion of realism, necessarily, because they don't appear as often as they could, but they're still there and quite noticeable.
I also noticed four-second freezes--visuals, sound, and all--every time a system notification, like a friend signing on, appeared in the top-right corner. Trophies popping didn't seem to have the same effect, but the hang-ups reflect either tapped-out hardware or poor optimization. Again, speculation--don't assume I understand the memory allocation behind system notifications.
Meanwhile, companion and enemy AI are nothing special. Sometimes, enemies make decisions that trigger a specific route and the enemy runs that route no matter the circumstance, or they leave their heads out for long periods of time, resulting in higher scores for those who can take advantage without dying. Even on harder difficulties, the challenge is more in field management than enemy precision and smarts, which makes the game enjoyable without high frustration beyond Normal. Allies are equally dedicated to pathways and pre-determined actions. More times than I care to remember, fellow squadmates would slide up next to me in cover and push me out into gun fire. Perhaps I'm too aggressive and I push farther forward than my allies can handle, but the overall intelligence isn't sophisticated enough to impress.
But boy, that Frostbite Engine 3 can perform miracles. Even if initial rendering can take a little time, the end result is beautiful. Feelings of lethargic nostalgia often took hold as the game, both single-player and multiplayer, loaded up to show a world, much like in the Unreal Engine 3 multi-plats of old, that wasn't entirely rendered until the textures finished popping in. But that lethargy was always replaced by awe once everything appeared in its complete visual clarity. Edges are crisp, textures are vivacious, and the action is intense, and through all this, as I said before, the framerate holds up. Whether Frostbite Engine 3 really is performing miracles or the PS3 is more capable than many believe nowadays is almost irrelevant: DICE has built a game that even Sony first-party developers should strive to match in visual bombast.
Check out details on multiplayer and weapons after the page break.