Shooters have a formula for success: be accurate, engaging, and rewarding. This generation has seen a competition between two powerhouse FPS titles that take this generation's cake and are prepared to eat the next one. Time will tell who wins out in the coming years, but one thing's for sure: I'll be playing Battlefield 4 before AND after PlayStation 4 launches. This is partly due to the PS4 upgrade voucher included in the PlayStation 3 game case, but more than that, the current-gen version of this stellar shooter flexes the PlayStation 3's muscles in ways that highlight the abilities, as well as the limitations, of the hardware and have me wondering what this experience will be like on PS4.
In Battlefield 4, China is on the verge of civil war, thanks to a seizure of power by Admiral Chang, a political figure set to dismantle the existing ruler Lin Lié. Chang intends to do this by blaming America for causing this internal conflict. What sets this story apart in the realm of FPS games is that the squad itself is believable, and from the massive events in the opening sequence to the little conversations between firefights and checkpoints, main character Recker finds himself amidst a group of marines with characterization that, while cliche at times, is as well-delivered as the best AAA titles available. To call the story "deep" or "complex" or even "long" would be optimistic, but it has enough ebb and flow to keep players attached to the group and the scenario at hand by creating a realism that accompanies the game's staggering graphical prowess.
The story covers vast terrain as well, as wide open desert areas lead to the rainy streets of China, an enclosed battleship on the water, a snow-packed mountainside, and a mix of grassy and urban terrain. The difference between the Frostbite 2 engine from Battlefield 3 and Frostbite 3 in Battlefield 4 isn't night and day, but some of the game's textures stand out amidst environmental destruction for a visual masterpiece--even if these levels of razing have become expectations of the Battlefield franchise rather than milestones. The sounds of the game are stellar, as well, and each bullet fired yields sound appropriate to where the gun is being shot. When in a confined space with soft walls, the gunshots are dampened, but in open, urban maps, sound echos and carries further.
Learn more about some of the game's small issues after the page break.