BF4 Beta Impressions: There’s A Boat On My Subway Station

Vehicles, Commanding, and Spectating

Vehicle play has also seen an overhaul, with more attention paid to control finesse and battle damage. I like how vehicles feel in most of the previous Battlefield titles (the hover tanks and walkers in BF 2142 being the exception), but BF4 proves there’s always room for improvement. The tank and APC play like their 2011 counterparts, but the helicopters are another story. With so much skyscraper navigation going on, the tightened air controls are immediately appreciated — there were a few helicopter rounds where I never saw a death, all because I instantly clicked with the attack choppers maneuverability.

Battle damage has been tuned up, too, across the board. Scoring mobility hits with an RPG means slower movement, even if the vehicles health is over 50. Where you hit the tank is important again, an art form that was largely lost in Battlefield 3.

One of the Battlefield franchises best features is the Commander role. The quarterback that calls all the shots, drops the supplies, directs the traffic, the right Commander doesn’t guarantee victory, but s/he smooths out the ride. The slot is currently restricted to EA and DICE employees, and several have been making the rounds in different servers. With the Commander’s birds-eye view, and an open comms line with every squad leader on the team, coordinating flag pushes and flanks is a snap. It’s like poetry in motion when viewed from the spectator slots.

Speaking of Spectator Mode…it’s pretty fantastic, I think. You can spectate any ranked server, and toggle between first-person, third-person, free roam, or map view. The controls (see above) are incredibly straightforward, and the Red vs Blue team overlays make a shoutcaster’s job very, very easy.

Battlelog is largely the same as in previous EA games – color scheme aside – except for the addition of Battlescreen. If you have a tablet handy, or you’re lucky enough to have two monitors hooked up to your PC of choice, you can enable Battlescreen to give you a full-screen-size mini-map experience. All the information shown in your in-game mini-map is available on the Battlescreen, but in 1920×1080 (or whatever your display resolution is).

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11 Comments on BF4 Beta Impressions: There’s A Boat On My Subway Station

Raven

On October 3, 2013 at 4:05 pm

This is by far THE best review I’ve read so far on the beta release.

Unfortunately PS3 only has a scout heli, tanks and jeeps, no boats, no attack heli, quads or jetskis.

But its still fun as hell once you get used to it.

Keep up the great reviews!

balerion

On October 4, 2013 at 6:53 am

“too easy to kill with a sniper rifle up close”?……… Are you ing kidding?.. it’s a god damn sniper rifle.. sniper rifles blow limbs off in reality and are one shot kills almost every shot..

max

On October 4, 2013 at 8:29 am

i don t understand why ur pics are so ugly, the fact thats its a beta isisnt the real reason, my graphics on bf4 are maxed out and the game looks amazing, u should tell the ppl that ur CPU suck ass instaed of blaming something else, thats why ur pics are ugly.

Devin Connors

On October 4, 2013 at 11:04 am

@max

1) An Intel Core i7-3770K and an Nvidia GTX 780 “suck ass”?

2) I’m running the game on Medium settings because there’s no point in running a beta on max settings. I’d rather turn settings down than deal with instability, crashing, etc.

3) You should never judge a game’s graphics by its beta. It’s not a final build, and it’s unfair to the developer. That’s why my preview skips out on graphics quality, for the most part.

4) Start proofreading your comments before posting here again, please!

Thanks for reading,
Devin Connors

SupremeAllah

On October 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

All logical points made there, Devin.

I turned my settings to match what I had played BF3 on, and found that it kind of ran like crap sometimes.

So turned them down to medium, and had no performance difference.

I concluded that it’s related to the stability of the beta, not my PC power itself. Sometimes it will be perfectly smoothe, then other times it chops up out of nowhere and for no real reason. Again, I attribute that to the beta status, as not everything has been fully tweaked yet. Even on higher settings, texture differences are minimal, and you can tell they aren’t complete yet.

As far as gameplay, there are some nice additions from BF3. I’m admittedly not a fan of the “tank reloading” issues. Also something I noted (again, probably due to beta status) is that if you keep clicking the fire button before a new shell is loaded, it seems to reset the counter, which is extremely annoying. But having your shots actually matter as far as where you hit vehicles is nice. The downside is, when shooting choppers with tanks, they don’t seem to be as effective as it was in the past. I even encountered an issue where shooting the chopper with a tank shell would hit, but would not damage it at all. That used to happen on occasion in BF3 as well, and sometimes (but less often) in Bad Company 2.

But when the shots do connect, they don’t seem to be one shot kills anymore, which I would think they always should be when it’s Tank shell vs Helicopter.

As to your comments with the sniping, I agree that something feels off about it. It almost seems like it fires its projectile like a railgun instead of like a bullet. It’s hard to explain, but it doesn’t feel like the traditional sniping that we are used to.

But random slowdown issues aside, this game is looking to be very good as far as keeping the battlefield feel while updating some things. I do look forward to more water combat, but hopefully it isn’t limited to what we’ve seen. I’d like it to go back to the 1942 days where you could control Destroyers and move the Aircraft Carrier.

Pedro

On October 4, 2013 at 11:51 pm

umm Max , the GPU not the CPU handles most of the load for games, I have a gtx 690 and core i7 and it still kicks my machines ass, even with the beta drivers ( I am running all on max though except 2Xmsaa) maybe you should play the game on your ps3 and let us know how it looks.

Glocktopus

On October 5, 2013 at 9:16 am

Great review and I appreciate your feedback based on more knowledge about the gameplay then most people in comment sections. Thanks for leaving graphics out of the topic. I assume they will be way better then past titles upon release and I’ll leave it at that. I’m interested to see how using dmrs and carbines across all classes will improve gameplay. Engineers stuck with pdw’s is interesting and I look forward to see how this plays out. I love the levelution and the ease crossing the map via high jumps is just such a game rush I’m blown away. Gunplay needs a little tweaking but I’m sure a few patches will touch on this. As a huge fan of BF and unlike most I did like BF3 a lot. I’m looking forward to BF4 immensely.

pnut

On October 5, 2013 at 11:55 am

I for one am very disappointed with the beta the second i enter a game it freeze’s then i need to shutdown my pc just to end the program not even taskkill works don’t think im gonna buy it after this i always try before i buy but this is simply a joke!

Donkey

On October 7, 2013 at 10:09 am

BF1942 was a solid start. I give it an 8.

BF2….Meh. It gets a generous 7.

BF3 is everything BF2 wasn’t plus it actually looked good. I give it an 8

2142 – Titan mode wasn’t perfect, but it was far from “poorly executed”. Squads podding up… fight into the cargo bay…fight down those long corridors (reminded me of beginning of the original Star Wars)..auto-turrents firing away…blow the reactors. Not to mention Mechs, snow speeders (in the expansion), Goliath…nothing like it before or since. Perfect 10 and best of the franchise.

BFBC2 so so so close to perfect. Well balanced and rush mode added Joint Ops style linear play. Introduced the stabbing, violent knife kill FTW. This was the start of the Frost engine was have seen up through BF4. Gets a solid, “almost”-perfect 9

BF4 – enjoying it so far. I like the idea of fighting in skyscrapers. Vehicles and weapons are much more balanced with the limited ammo. Menus, awards, loading screen, battlelog are all 100% BF3 with new window dressing. Music is blah. BF had that cool grinding industrial sound. This sounds kinda generic boring, but at least it isn’t Dubstep.

To be honest, it feels more like a BF3 mod than a new game. That is not neccessarily bad. Like McDonalds, I am loving it.

Oh, and wow pnut. B…E…T…A….that spells BETA, because it is, you guessed it, a BETA. DEEEEEEEEEEEEEERP.

Ron Whitaker

On October 8, 2013 at 5:35 am

@Donkey: You forgot the best infantry combat game in the Battlefield series – Battlefield: Vietnam. It was the most well-balanced of the series, and my personal favorite.

Donkey

On October 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm

@Ron: I tried it but at the same time it was released another large-scale-war game called “Joint Operations” came out. It blew every other war game away so BFV got little play time.

Back to BF4 demo…

LOVE LOVE LOVE the counter knifing. Sniper rifles up close are silly (1 shot shoot-from-the-hip kills). Other than that, pretty balanced. I still have friends who cannot play due to stuttering (Core i5 issue or something), but the game has been great for me (i7, GTX 670).