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).