BF4 Beta Impressions: There’s A Boat On My Subway Station
Problems and Conclusion
While I reserve final judgement for the retail release, Battlefield 4 feels like the game that Battlefield 3 should have been. The refined gameplay isn’t a quantum leap, nor is the inclusion of the Commander and Spectator Modes. These are all things that we expected in Battlefield 3 back in 2011, but they were never delivered.
Most of the quarrels I have with BF4 seem to be rooted in the beta — stability issues, spawn bugs, things like that — but the infantry and vehicle play are incredibly strong and polished. There are nagging issues, of course, like in any multiplayer endeavor; RPGs, the cliche dumb-fire launcher of choice in so many third-world countries, can lock onto vehicles with the help of a sniper’s laser designator? Is that even possible? Why include other lock-capable rocket launchers then? Effectively using the RPG, and adjusting to the rocket curve, is an art form, one that’s ruined by all ths fire-and-forget nonense. It’s a poor choice, and I really hope it’s taken out before the retail launch.
Vehicle ammo management is another headache; gone are the days of unlimited, free-flowing tank shells and 25mm cannon fire. The “unlimited” bit is still true, I suppose, but a tank can only hold something like six shells at once. Once you deplete those shells, new ones regenerate an a painstakingly slow pace. The same goes for attack helicopter gunner rounds. It makes sense (and isn’t a bother) in some vehicles, like the tank, but it severely limits the amount of damage an attack helicopter can do. And since helicopters are more prone to damage from machine gun fire in BF4, the dynamic is frustrating at times.
Camping is, and will continue to be, a problem, especially when certain areas can only be accessed via a camped elevator, or a suicide mission helicopter.
The silver lining for the above balancing problems is just that: they are balance issues that can very easily be fixed in patches, if need be.
Battlefield 4, even in beta form, is big-team combat at its finest. You can tell DICE genuinely learned from its experience making Battlefield 3, and put all that knowledge and feedback into 4. And with Commander and Spectator Modes back in the mix, the game feels whole again.
If Battlefield 3 always felt like an A-minus to you, there’s a strong chance that Battlefield 4 could be the A-plus you’ve been searching for.