By Reece M. Krantz ’16
7 out of 10
“Battlefield 4” is the next installment in the highly iterative series of modern First Person Shooters that focus on large, combined arms warfare with dynamic maps and destruction.
The Battlefield franchise has always been about the mix of infantry and vehicular combat, striking a delicate niche within the industry that no one else has managed to compete.
The fourth in the series manages to strike, maintain and improve the balance with a certain amount of confidence that you would expect to find.
The improvements are more minor than major however.
It’s been two years since the release of “Battlefield 3” and that was an incredible shift from the prior “Battlefield 2.”
It would be very difficult to radically change anything from 3 to 4.
It certainly follows the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” policy.
This includes a good portion of the gunplay and movement system that was such a step up in “Battlefield 3” from the predecessors.
While not explicitly rehabbed, it is refined, as animations are smoother when transitioning and have a greater sense of momentum.
From storming a beach with your choice of armament over your head to keep from getting wet, to swimming in a raging storm, the animations help sell the immersion.
The gunplay has also been tweaked.
The rifles feel controllable, yet powerful. Pistols are now a viable secondary and submachine-guns are simple and useful in close-quarters.
Second, the mechanics are new customizations available to the player.
You add a variety of sights, grips, stocks and barrels to your weapon of choice.
This also applies to the vehicles available. You can add a nice snow camouflage to your obvious tank or change the ammo types to be more effective against air, land or sea.
The vehicular options are more or less the same as “Battlefield 3,” you get your basic ground attack and air superiority jets, tanks, infantry-fighting-vehicles and variants of attack and transportation helicopters.
The newest edition to the line up is the new boats.
“Battlefield 4” has a profound emphasis on naval combat this time around, with most maps allowing flooding or large bodies of water to engage in epic boat and air battles.
Technically it shows its vibrant colors of innovation.
Leading this title is Frostbite 3 engine, a powerful and robust engine that allows this game to be the best looking graphically this year.
It creates dynamic waves and wind, allows full destruction of most anything and is optimized to run on most computers.
The major critique of the previous “Battlefield 3” was its atrocious single player, the first in the series, and this follows suit.
Even if an improvement from the previous, “Battlefield 4’s” single player is an absolute waste of time.
The story is forgettable as it follows the cliche of the American super squad against the entire Chinese PLA (Peoples Liberation Army).
The whole thing feels like a cobbled together enigma of an addition that has no right to exist in a series that dominates the online scene.
The multiplayer facet of the “Battlefield” series is the main attraction of the title, and with it is a load of innovations that lead the genre.
Well designed maps are key to a multiplayer focused game. Bad maps can mean poor flow of combat and unbalanced sides. This can hurt the longevity of a title.
Fortunately, “Battlefield 4” seems to have some of the best maps since “Battlefield 2” with huge variety and interesting design.
The most important part is the new maps in multiplayer, which include the 10 maps shipped with the game.
With variety, these are some of the best maps available to this genre.
The flagship of this specific title is the “Levolution” aspect, which hurts my tongue to even pronounce the awful marketing ploy.
Even if it is an awful name, it’s a great idea that puts it in a unique stance.
It allows players to change the look or feel of the battlefield by trigger events that effect the map in many different ways.
An example of “Levolution” would be on the map Flooded District, a fantastic map that takes place near a damaged levee of water.
Destroying the levee causes the water to rush into the map filling it with water, changing a vertical infantry map to a sailor’s paradise with new avenues to explore and take advantage of.
Game-modes have been revamped with new ones with some intriguing, if unoriginal types.
One of them is Obliteration, a bomb focused mode where your team is attempting to get a bomb to the enemy base and, well, obliterate it.
Another is Defuse, with a similar style it focused on smaller maps with a no respawn rule, making it more intense and slow paced than the other modes.
“Battlefield 4” uses the same basic formula from the behind titles and only improves in areas that greatly needed it, such as the user-interface, which as been of overhauled and made simpler and cleaner so it does not get in the way of the action.
Other UI changes are relatively minor and only affect things cosmetically, which is a bit disappointing when expecting top of the line innovation.
More often than not the story of minor changes is what defines the multiplayer, simple tweaks where needed and few major when desired.
With a forgettable single-player and fantastic multiplayer it is big, beautiful and bold and it leads from the front in mechanical and technical innovation.
“Battlefield 4” manages to differentiate enough from its predecessors to be a competent and beautiful game with a unique and dominate monopoly on the large scale combined arms gameplay it provides.