And so, all things come to an end. Battlefield 4 Beta, we hardly knew you. Truthfully, I didn’t find myself playing it as much as I would’ve originally thought. The reason is simple, Battlefield, to me, is a game that you need to be in the mood to play. If I’m in the mood for it, nothing can annoy me. But if I’m not, I usually play terribly and get very frustrated as a result. However, this is what I’m writing about. I’m writing about what Battlefield 4 Beta felt like and what I hope Battlefield 4 turns out to be.
My experience with the beta was mixed. Sure, it had bugs, but so what? It was beta, after all. Also, some of these bugs were eventually fixed during the beta period so kudos to DICE. But some of these weren’t and they can be game-breaking. For example, the elevator bug in Siege of Shanghai. Firstly, nobody wants to get stuck in the elevators. But, even more, since you’re going up in the elevators to attack the flag on the roof, you don’t want to be caught stuck by the enemy team, unable to fight back. Also, after the building is destroyed on that map, there is the jumping tank bug. Actually, this can happen with any of vehicles but basically, it propels the vehicle into the air and lets it fall. This, coupled with numerous other bugs that I encountered makes me hope that DICE doesn’t rush this for a release, or they will have a really bad time.
What I liked about Battlefield 4 Beta is, first and foremost, the level design. The maps are no longer flat. There’s a whole new vertical angle on it that changes everything. In Battlefield 3, most enemies would be visible within your screen, even if they were on top of a building, for the most part anyway. But, in Battlefield 4, there was more variation in height due to the addition of very tall buildings in Siege of Shanghai. Now, I realise that not all maps will have the same sort of verticality. Paracel storm, a map that takes place on a small island chain during a storm, requires the players to move around quite a lot. This is due to the fact that objectives have small obstacles and trenches that prevent you from attacking from afar easily. Snipers, in particular need to move around to get better shooting angles often. It’s this sort of level design that encourages objective-based play, since you can’t camp and hit everybody nor can you camp and not be spotted from some unseen angle.
Next, I want to talk about Levolution. Anyone who has been following Battlefield 4‘s development will have, no doubt, heard of this cheesy sounding marketing word for Battlefield 4‘s dynamic level changing system. What it sounds like, is a cheap way of market a form of scripting to get more sales. What it actually is, is something truly remarkable. In many of the maps to come, and some of the maps in the beta already, maps will have some form of triggered event that causes a large part of the map to drastically change. You’ve probably seen the videos of the destroyer running aground on Paracel Storm, for example. Although, it is definitely a scripted event, it changes a large section of the map and adds a totally new section. The same can be seen in Siege of Shanghai. In the beginning of the game, there is a large skyscraper in the middle of the map. This allows players to attack from a much greater height as well as basejump to other objectives. However, the building can be destroyed and this creates a new area made from the debris. It is an area with lots of cover and multiple firing angles on the surrounding objectives. This totally changes the way the map is played. It even moves the position of the objective marker. Additionally, Levolution adds weather effects that can dramatically change the amount of lighting and visibilty the player has available. This is especially noticeable from the air. If you fly the scout helicopter on Paracel Storm, you’ll no doubt notice that once the storm starts to get particularly heavy, it becomes much harder to see targets on the ground. Sure, you can still spot targets at the same distance, but it becomes much harder to physically see them. I’m hoping that this is something that is built up on for the actual release.
Then, there’s the customisation system. It’s a much more streamlined system than Battlefield 3. It’s much easier to swap items in your loadout in the game. Couple that with the battlelog and mobile options, it’s much easier to make changes on the fly. Plus, there’s far more to customise in Battlefield 4. Not only can you customise your primary weapon, you can customise your sidearm, equipment and even vehicle camouflage. Not to mention, pretty much everything can have custom camo patterns.
However, all is not perfect as there are definitely things that I do not like. Such as bugs, numerous as they are. However, I also expect that DICE has all of these sorted before they release.
All in all, this is a game to look forward to. It’s not simply a retitled Battlefield 3. If anything, it makes Battlefield 3 feel like a demo. The gameplay is solid. There’s a lot of customisation and there’s much better planning put into the level designs. Gone are the days of Operation Metro’s deadlocks, and welcome the scenic streets and port of Siege of Shanghai. As a person who normally recommends indie titles over AAAs, I still have to recommend this. Either wait for release, or pre-order it. Your choice. But it’s definitely worth getting.
Battlefield 4 is a game currently under by EA/DICE and is slated for release soon, but no official date has been given just yet.
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