With EA’s premier shooter preparing to go toe to toe with Activision’s finest next month, we’ve taken to the Battlefield 4 beta on PS3 to test the game out.
Battlefield 4 is in a prime position right now. If being seen as a better and more successful game than Call of Duty : Ghosts is a feat akin to climbing Mt. Everest, then Battlefield is a foot away from the summit with all of us feeding it tea and biscuits. Running on Frostbite 3, EA’s breathtakingly spectacular game engine that you’d wish upon only the very best of games, there’s little doubt that Battlefield 4 will look anything less than phenomenal. But, the game’s success later this year won’t rest on its graphics, it’ll (mostly) be down to its multiplayer. And, with a Battlefield 4 multiplayer beta currently online, we thought we’d dive in and see just how well the game is shaping up (spoiler alert : it’s incredible).
Click ‘Continue Reading’ to read our Battlefield 4 beta hands-on.
In a beta currently open to everyone, classic Battlefield modes Conquest and Domination are the two available for players to unleash havoc upon one another as they attempt to drain tickets from opponents by killing enemies or holding objectives and achieve victory. The former is a capture and hold objective type mode and the other being the same, but on a smaller map section of the map, down-sized to make gameplay a closed quarters, frantic and frenzied shooting affair. Surprisingly, for a game like Battlefield 4, which embraces the ‘bigger is better’ mantra with arms open as wide as the equator, the smaller gameplay in Domination is, in my opinion, a much more concentrated dosage of fun. The game has always embraced a full team spirit far more than the one-man mini-gun fare of some other shooters and in the smaller sections of map there’s an even higher propensity to do so because, quite frankly, working together is the only way you’ll get the job done.
But who said that with all that teamwork, Battlefield 4 doesn’t haven plenty of sights to see? Only one of these said sights was available in the beta, the much touted Siege of Shanghai map. The Siege of Shanghai is a real beaut’ of a map thanks to Frostbite 3, showing off more of a graphical leap from BF3 to BF4 than a cheetah on a springboard. The map is crowded with skyscrapers in a massive retail zone, with the rooves of these towers are fantastic vantage points for sniping or scoping out enemy positions and, in a daring feat of recklessness, can be used to fling your entire character from, cushioned by the handy parachute strapped to their back and you can even use your primary weapon during the descent, making you a lethal flying squirrel of a soldier. In true Battlefield style, open areas are still great for rolling around on the giant metal wheels of a tank or armoured vehicle and the store fronts are great for cover over regrouping too, with tactical support offered within the buildings in terms of being able to open and close store shutters and use elevators. The only issue I have with this map is that bar the beautiful, blue patch of water in the middle, the Siege of Shanghai is exceedingly grey, a colour which has become a bit of a bane to players of first person shooters, but there’s little doubt in my mind that a fresh lick of paint or two (on next-gen) can fix that right up!
Onto the running and gunning and the most notable aspect is that player design this year has been greatly improved. Characters still feel light on their feet but you no longer feel like an anamorphic cream cake with a bag of guns sufficing for icing. What will also be less apparent to those who haven’t played Battlefield 3 is just how much accessible Battlefield 4 is. Accessibility was a dealbreaker with free to play title DUST 514, which despite high production values, struggled to gain support from gamers who were far too confused by tricky loadout systems. Luckily, Battlefield 4 has nixed the BF3 menu system right in its complicated tuchus, making decking out your character and jumping onto the battlefield as simple as a slice of those aforementioned cream cakes. Also in an interesting design choice, set to met it easier for Call of Duty converts, Battlefield 4 now maps the knife to R3 rather than the confusing button tap of R2 that was previously required. Too, XP can be hoovered up by the shedloads, with ribbons and points up for grabs like your characters are magnetised to the things. It provides a satisfying amount of achievement, perhaps almost rivalling the sense of achievement of Battlefield 4 developer, DICE, after realising what a great game they have here.
Now onto the bad of the Battlefield 4 but in all honestly, there isn’t much. Apart from some occasional eye focus bothering texture pop (specifically the non-interactive stuff like cars and some store windows tend to lose their hi-def sheen and become mottled and ugly), Battlefield 4 is the near perfect game. This year, guns fire with a triumphant force of sound, bullets slice throw the air like aerodynamic wonders and all of the bad bits you hated from last years game (for example the likelihood of being turned into newbie paste at any given moment) have all been thrown out with the rubbish. And as this is just a beta and Battlefield 4 is also making the jump to next-gen in November, DICE and EA’s first person shooter is looking like a serious, heavyweight contender.
Call of Duty you’d better find another mountain to climb because Battlefield 4 is about to knock you off the peak.
The Battlefield 4 release date is October 29th on PS3 and Xbox 360, November 12th (PS4) and November 19th (Xbox One).