Battlefield 4 is one of the launch titles for the PlayStation 4 and one of the best games a person can buy to glimpse at the type of graphics the new system is capable of. Battlefield 4 not only offers the appearance of the latest graphics to look at but also has a much better single player campaign and story than its predecessor and also a very developed multiplayer component in the game.
Battlefield 4’s single player campaign has you play as Sgt Daniel Recker who is involved along with his crew in a special operation squad known as “Tombstone”. The campaigns context occurs in the year 202o at a time when there is a high level of tension between the United States, Russia and China. It seems that a Chinese Admiral named Chang seeks to overthrow the Chinese government with the promise of Russia’s support if he succeeds and if so leading to potentially a large conflict with the United States. It is up to operation Tombstone to gather intelligence on these developments and stop this alliance from occurring.
When playing the story it’s slightly difficult to grasp everything that is going on in the world you are placed in and I didn’t think that the game did its best to let the player know the context of what they are doing. The focus of the players position as played with Recker is on the battlefield. The way Recker interacts with his team, mainly, Irish and Hannah is the true story of this game. You go through various missions with these two who bicker about trust, comradeship and loyalty as you go along with them in each mission. Interestingly the character of Recker seems to be a silent protagonist and says nothing throughout the game. You simply watch and listen to the other characters on the battlefield. Irish or Hannah will speak to you but you only ever really respond through nodding, or choosing an option. I don’t particularly mind this type of storytelling method of your character being silent but it does shift all the emphasis of the story on the characters you listen to and follow for the whole game.
Luckily I grew to quite like following and listening to both Irish (Sgt Kimble ‘Irish’ Graves) and Hannah (Huang ‘Hannah’ Shuyi) and found their characters to actually develop as the story progressed. The actions and sequences that they both took throughout the campaign led to the formation of their character and by the final mission and end of the game both had quite well developed stories which by the end added a lot of value to the Battlefield 4 campaign. When the single player campaign ended I wanted more and found I enjoyed being in operation ‘Tombstone’ with Irish and Hannah. The military themes in this game were strong and by the time credits came, each action taken by military personnel is clearly felt through the final actions the player must take. Also adding a female squad mate with you in this game made Battlefield 4 a lot different to other FPS games in the past which are typically filled with a strictly male cast of characters.
The other element of the Battlefield 4 campaign story that was also well done was the voice acting of each character in the game. Hannah voiced by Jessika Van and Irish voice by Michael K Williams really did carry this game with their voice acting. Many of the other military actors to me seemed spot on with all their voices in this game. The Chinese enemies were also great and the interrogation scenes or even just the conversations were quite chilling to watch and play through. Overall the campaigns story, characters and structure were strong and much better than what most would expect from the FPS genre.
Gameplay wise Battlefield 4 is excellent. The big stand out feature in Battlefield 4 is the water effects. Both from the way the rain looks, the way the puddles form in the streets and finally the way the ocean moves in the game. The water in battlefield 4 is impressive! The ocean battles are epic, the waves are very realistic and the splashes from gunfire hitting the ocean are insanely good. Any time during the campaign when there was water around was always a time where Battlefield 4 was at its best.
Movement and shooting gameplay is simple and easy and the enemies in the campaign aren’t particularly difficult even on hard mode. Guns have good sound effects and the explosions on screen from grenades or other explosives are very realistic and will result in a lot of dust and dirt emanating from the explosions source until the dust settles back into the ground.
The only issue I had with the gameplay is that while I was following the characters around with my squad and they were chatting with each other. Sometimes when they would walk around they would go right through me and push me aside. It does break a lot of the realism if the characters are following the script and walking through the player and not reacting at all while they are pushing me forward because i’m standing in front of them. Sometimes a player may also find themselves being pushed out of cover when a squad member wants to use the same spot. Other times I also found that even though I had a whole squad with me, it seemed as if the enemy AI was only targeting my character in a lot of the game and I didn’t really know what my squad was doing at all.
On the PS4 during my single player playthrough of this game it also crashed 3 times during the campaign. I simply got an error message saying an unknown error had occurred and the game had to close. Luckily it doesn’t take long to start the game on the PS4 but it is annoying if the game crashes during a play through. I had to play through entire sections all over each time it occurred. Worse yet, I have experienced a lost save file of Battlefield 4 for the single player campaign which seems to have not been properly backed up by PS+ even when I recovered the online save file. The last time it was updated was the 29th of November (when I started the game) even though I had finished the campaign by the 1st of December. Having a save file deleted and the game crashing is very disappointing.
Moving on to the multiplayer which initially had some issues of lag and textures not loading in the environments on day one, they seemed to have since then been fixed. Multiplayer is very fun in Battlefield 4 but is very similar to what the multiplayer was in Battlefield 3. I don’t think there was any innovation in the multiplayer from the previous game, other than a larger map and the inclusion of 64 players in each game which is a lot more fun. Not much new aspects are added. This isn’t really bad though as the multiplayer in Battlefield is very good and will keep many players entertained for months easily.
There are 7 different game options for multiplayer which include conquest, team deathmatch, obliteration, rush, squad deathmatch and domination. There are two additional game modes called air superiority and capture the flag that are not playable unless you purchase the DLC at extra cost. Players can choose from 4 different weapon classes for multiplayer which include assault, support, recon and engineer each with their own weapons and specialties. Joining a game is quick and easy on the PS4 and the maps and games load quickly which is always good to have. I don’t have any issues with the multiplayer other than what was happening on day 1 but since this is gone now I don’t regard it as an issue.
Overall Battlefield 4 is an excellent choice for a new game to have for you PS4 or on any of the other platforms (although previous gen players may not be blown away by the graphics as much, I suggest skipping it in previous gen systems if you can and go for the PC or PS4 or Xbox One versions). Its main draw for a player looking to buy is the new upgraded graphics and the great gameplay experience that battlefield offers which is mixed with explosions and all types of environment effects. The campaign story and characters are strong for the FPS genre and the multiplayer is great as well. I was overwhelmingly impressed with Battlefield 4 and was incredibly entertained throughout my playthrough on the PS4. But I have to be honest to my readers, players who are victims of the technical issues may get frustrated and it’s these issues which are the reason it receives an 8.5/10 from me and not a 9 as my final score it’s very annoying to have multiplayer issues, game save losses and unknown errors which close the game and take you away from the experience. Battlefield 4 is a very good game which is unfortunately weighed down by a few technical faults which I hope can be recovered through a game update in the future.