In the battle of Call of Duty vs Battlefield, I have always been on the side of Battlefield. Not because it is a better game, but because it is the game that suits my playing style most. They are hard games to compare really. One is all about twitch gaming, the other about epic battles and strategy.
Battlefield 4 continues this legacy in an honourable if not ground breaking way. It is a game that both fills me with joy, but also sadness. Sadness because it is a game that proves without doubt that the Xbox 360 is definitely pushing its limits now.
But, back to the beginning. First off, this is a review of the Multiplayer game only – I have not even touched the single player game – I have no interest in it!
If you have played any of the other Battlefield games, this will feel familiar – at least initially. After selecting the type of match you want to play in, you then choose your basic soldier class. Assault, Support, Recon and Engineer. Each has their own specialities and weapon types. Recon is your sniper, support has the heavy machine guns, engineer can repair vehicles and assault can heal other players. A good game will include a nice balance of classes.
Vehicles make a welcome return, with even more for you to hop into than before. You can either try and spawn straight into them, or find them around the maps. One word of warning, initially the controls are set up to be different from the “classic” scheme of battlefield 3. You can set them back, but actually it doesn’t take long to get used to the new scheme.
As with previous games, playing more gets you more. Level up your weapons and your soldier to open up everything for new camouflage to tank modifications. There really is no end to how much you can customise your total load out, but it is going to take time. This isn’t Call of Duty, don’t expect to level up every game!
There are several multiplayer modes. All of them have their unique rules and feel. The standard is Conquest. This is the largest scale game, which has teams of up to 16 players on each side fighting to dominate all of the control points on the map. This is the mode that shows just how limited things are getting with Xbox360. The maps are huge and designed for PC’s and next gen consoles. As such, they are meant to have up to 64 people running around the map. On the 360, it can feel very empty!
However, all is not lost. All of the other modes are smaller in scale and fit the limited player numbers perfectly. Rush, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Squad Deathmatch, Squad Rush, Obliteration, Defuse, Domination, Capture The Flag. For more info on the modes, check out this great FAQ
The most notably new mode is Obliteration. This is best described as Rugby with bombs. Each map has a couple of points that your team has to destroy. At the start of the game, a bomb spawns in a random part of the map. Each team has to fight to control the bomb and take it to the opposing teams targets. Matches can last a really long time and are really intense. Snipers will have fun as most of the action is focused around the bomb, so you end up with tight clusters of players to shoot at!
All of the game modes offer something for everyone, you will find the one that suits you and probably stick with it!
Another great addition is the return of Commander mode. Once you reach level 10, you can opt to be the Commander in certain games. This gives you a map view of the game, allowing you to give orders and send vehicles and supplies to your troops. A good Commander can turn the tide of any match. What’s more, you can actually play via your tablet device, meaning you can play on the move!
Graphically, BF4 is ok on the 360, but nothing all that special. Busy games, with lots going on with the backgrounds can cause some bad slow down. This is especially true when you activate a levels “levolution”. One of the great things about BF4 is how destructible the scenery is. This has been taken to another level with Levolution. Each map has a particular building or area that can be destroyed to change the way the map plays. Shanghai, for instance, has a huge tower that dominates the centre of the map. You can enter this, fight in it and go all the way to the roof via lifts – but you can also knock it down by destroying its supports. Once it has fallen, it kicks up a dust cloud and creates a new central area filled with debris to play in. The dust cloud limits the visibility on the map, seriously impacting how snipers play. This is a great addition as it can change the flow of a game very fast, but the animations push the 360 to the point where you will get heavy slow down during it and on maps where you get the dust effect, this can feel the slow down for the rest of the game.
However, really this is a minor point. Battlefield 4 is still an amazing game, that allows you to do things that no other FPS can allow right now. What other game lets you snipe from the top of a building, then as the building collapses, base jump to the other side of the map, fall through a glass ceiling throwing grenades as you go, then land and capture a base? Battlefield 4 is full of moments like these, truly living up to the “Only in Battlefield” slogan. This is by far my favourite FPS game of the last 18 months or so and even with the issues faced by the ageing Xbox 360, it is well deserving of the high score it has!
Note, these are stock images – not representative of Xbox 360. Also, EA sent the reviewer a copy of the game for review purposes.