Battlefield 4 Review: Multiplayer At Its Finest
Single-player Review, Continuted
Unlike previous efforts on the single-player side, BF4’s campaign uses most of what you’ll find in the multplayer. The vehicles, weapons, and user interface are all 1:1, while previous campaigns felt a bit segregated from the MP experience. Most of the weapon unlocks are earned in each mission via Bronze, Silver and Gold point markers. Some rare weapons are hidden in the missions (two to three per level), while others are simply enemy guns picked up after firefights. You can switch guns and gear via weapon and gear stashes, which pop up a little too frequently for my liking. No one likes an ammo hunt, but having weapon crates in every other room or alleyway is Easy Mode in an FPS.
While ammo shows up in spades, AI is running on empty. The enemy AI on Normal Mode is your usual duck-and-cover variety, but thankfully there are no wave-after-wave enemy moments. And speaking of AI, your squadmates have a penchant for stealing your corner cover, automatically pushing you out into a firefight. Those are three or four deaths I would love to have back, you elbow-throwing ingrates!
“The complexity behind Irish is deflated by weak character writing and an at-odds relationship with Hannah that is cringe-worthy at times.”
The settings, character foundations, and improved graphics (the latter of which we’ll cover more in the multiplyer section), are all let down by most everything else in the campaign. The complexity behind Irish is deflated by weak character writing and an at-odds relationship with Hannah that is cringe-worthy at times. The fates of certain characters are almost inconsequential, despite whatever interesting story leads to their survival, or lack thereof. The squad is supposed to be a band of brothers, but Battlefield 4 makes some of those characters into red-headed stepchildren towards the end.
What truly vexes me about the campaign is the complete lack of a tangible anatagonist. General Chang, the Chinese military mind behind the war, is a complete and total phantom. Even SPECTRE’s Blofeld showed up in the Bond movies once in a while, but Chang is a name, and only a name. You don’t even get a radio transmission or video clip. I wasn’t expecting (nor am I asking for) some Call of Duty moment where you go all slo-mo while putting a slug between Chang’s eyes, but if that moment is a 10, Chang’s presence in BF4 is truly a zero. You can’t mention a character like Chang as much as Battlefield 4 does, and not have him show up meaningfully in the flesh.
Ultimately, any promise seen at the beginning of Battlefield 4’s campaign quickly evaporates. Weak character development, even weaker writing, and an unfulfilled plot simply amount to a mediocre product. Even the ending — no spoilers, don’t worry — feels inconsequential. My takedown of the campaign is indeed harsh … but that’s not why most of you are here. It’s certainly not why I’m here, and I’ve been Battlefield-ing for over a decade.