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
Oh, and Battlefield 4 gameplay takes to the player in a way that only Uncharted can topple--that's right, Uncharted. Remember, in Uncharted 2, when the Nepalese building around Drake was toppling and he still had to fight off enemies and a helicopter? Imagine playing the scene in first-person. And it looks better. Battlefield 4 has you covered, but DICE takes the setup to mind-blowing scale and circumstance. I won't spoil this, or other, magnificent moments, but imagine the intensity of a toppling building staged in "Titanic" proportions.
You'll also be engaged by ribbons and awards, which are handed out like candy on Halloween. In a world where instant gratification is the norm, these notifications of performance make the experience that much more personalized. With these ribbons and awards come weapons and equipment, and this aspect is not segregated to either single-player or multiplayer: both modes of play have plenty of reward for players, based on performance. That's not unusual for shooters--and the latter has been the console norm since Call of Duty 4--but Battlefield 4's multiplayer separates itself from the competition by adding a vastness to its own incredulous scope. Of course, many Battlefield fans attribute massive scale to the franchise, but this outing has a sense of verticality unmatched by its predecessors. I never participated in Battlefield 3 multiplayer outside the initial beta, so I cannot say in confidence if the maps were as tall as they were long. However, the multiplayer this time around features tall structures and varied, destructible maps that surprised me. Immediately after spawning, I was falling from a plane with a prompt to the right of the screen to pull my parachute, but since I was falling to the earth, my focus wasn't on the on-screen prompt until I almost hit the ground. The feeling that situation gave me was gripping, and I never forgot about the fact that I had a parachute after that. Well done, DICE, for I also learned the parachute is a superb way to get around the map from roosts, and no section of Battlefield 4's varied maps ever felt out-of-reach. Pointing out enemy players is great as well, since your player will physically point at them and they will be highlighted for the rest of your team to see for a time.
Guns themselves each have a distinct feel, but like any good shooter, the shooting system is universal and accessible, sui having to acclimate between each weapon won't be a chore. Mechanisms slide and backfire gives a further touch of realism. The more powerful guns have more kick to them, which affects accuracy naturally, and half the fun is exploring the best way to use each gun. Overall, Battlefield 4 isn't exactly a point-and-click shooter, but it's also not as heavy as Killzone 2. Rather, gun and player movement have a natural weight that's complimented by responsive commands, giving Battlefield 4 an overall natural and enjoyable flow. Accompanying wonderful gunplay is the new lean system, which allows for the player to automatically lean out from a corner to aim simply by holding the aim button while in cover.
The returning game modes are as follows: Conquest (all-out vehicle warfare with objectives), Domination (fast-paced Capture the Flag), Obliteration (destroy enemy targets), Team Deathmatch (you know this one), Rush (attack and defend points on the map), and Square Deathmatch (self-explanatory). Already, Battlefield 4 hosts an array of modes that cater to most any playstyle, but one more makes its debut: Defuse. Featuring five-on-five combat, Defuse tasks players with eliminating the other team or handling military objectives. It's got a lot in common with Rush mode, but here, you only get one life per round. Typically, FPS multiplayer modes can watered down from the single-player experience, but the difference between the two here is nominal. Buildings still blow up in glorious fashion, textures are still vivid, and gunplay in general is incredibly smooth. Visually, the only negative is that textures tend to take a bit longer to load in multiplayer, but since human enemies are a constant threat, forgetting about the first few moments of visual ugliness is easy, especially after the action hits and the visuals cement.
DICE expands the mark Uncharted made on the industry by delivering an explosive narrative in memorable fashion. Visually, I can't imagine Battlefield 4's expansive areas looking any better, but seeing graphics like this in current-gen consoles was a thing of fiction even three years ago. In prime form, Battlefield 4's competitive modes deliver for so many different styles and interests that choosing any other multiplayer shooter would be pure subjective preference. Even then, what DICE has created may have players questioning current- and next-generation standards. Precise controls, an engaging narrative, and thrilling gameplay trump minor hiccups and AI routines to make Battlefield 4 a crucial PS3 experience. If the game's PS4 version can up the already-astounding visual ante even higher, Battlefield 4 will be in my PlayStation disc trays for months to come.