Battlefield 4 Review: Multiplayer At Its Finest
Weapons, Customization, Battlepacks, and Conclusion
As for weapons, the types and variations are all here, with some tweaks of course. More powerful guns finally have some tangible accuracy downsides, and are much harder to control at longer distances. The AEK-971, my go-to assault rifle in BF3, is still a powerful and quick rifle, but it’s rate of fire keeps the powerful rounds from acting like a laser beam. Spraying at full-auto in BF3 could net some long distance kills without much fuss, but that’s no longer the case in BF4. The finesse game comes into play, and aiming skills feel like they’re rewarded heavily compared to previous Battlefield games.
The sheer customization can be daunting at times, although many of the new choices are pure aesthetic. There are four different laser sight options, but none are better than the others. One is red, one is green, and one is a Predator-sight-looking device, but they all have the same impact on your gun. The same can be said for the different kinds of sights and suppressors.
Battlepacks are the newest component to the loadout system in the Battlefield franchise. Every few levels, you’ll earn a briefcase with three items inside. It could be weapons, weapons add-ons, camo, XP boosts or vehicle add-ons. Like crates in Team Fortress 2, there are varying levels of rarity and worth. Some items are rarer, and the same can be said about certain kinds of Battlepacks. While I’m not crazy about the system, it’s important to remember that no items are blocked off from certain players. If you’re playing Battlefield without the Premium add-on, you can still unlock every weapon, add-on, and camo avaiable to Premium users, be it through the level progression or through Battlepacks. An item might take you longer to find in a Battlepack than a Premium member, but it’s still there to find.
“That’s the name of Battlefield 4′s game: The combat you love, refined and updated for the next wave of PC and console hardware.”
When your soldier is finally fine-tuned to how you like him (and eventually her), the refinement in the multiplayer really starts to hit you. Battlefield 4 is an evolution of Battlefield 3, and there’s nothing wrong with that. This is something Activision does with Call of Duty, but frankly, the additions between the last several CoD offerings cannot touch the improvements and tweaks between Battlefield 3 and 4 (this excludes COD: Ghosts, as it has not been released yet). The graphics are a sharp improvement, especially when it comes to air effects. Classes and loadouts are familiar, but so much in the way of customization has been added in.
Vehicle controls feel tighter, especially with the helicopters, and the addition of dynamic mobility damage makes tank skirmishes all the more exciting. The Commander is a brilliant re-addition, as is the Spectator mode (check out our beta impressions for more on Spectator Mode). Battlelog is another refinement — you will instantly recognize BF4′s browser page, although information has been reorganized. The layout is familiar, but more user-friendly. That’s the name of Battlefield 4′s game: The combat you love, refined and updated for the next wave of PC and console hardware.
The single-player component of Battlefield 4 is one of the most forgettable campaigns to hit the PC and consoles in 2013. The tech and plot are there, but the character growth, writing, and an awkward third act peg it as a stumbling triple-A experience. But it’s not that simple, is it? Let’s be honest…none of you are reading this review to find out how good, or lacking, the campaign in Battlefield 4 is. Despite the campaign shoehorn, most likely handled by EA executives on high, the Battlefield franchise has always been about putting 64 players into a server, and letting them act out battles on the grandest of feasible scales. This is where Battlefield always shines, and BF4 is no different. Battlefield 4 will be one of the best multiplayer experiences available over the next two years, assuming Battlefield 5 follows in 2015.
Battlefield 4 isn’t perfect — its campaign definitely sees to that — but the multiplayer component is one of the best you’ll see in 2014.
- BF4 Multiplayer is one of, if not the, defining multiplayer experience of 2013.
- Diverse, vertical, and inspired level design, both in the campaign and in multiplayer.
- Commander Mode is finally back, and better than ever.
- Sharp, improved graphics; Frostbite 3.0 looks great on PC and the next-gen consoles.
- Battlelog is intuitive, and a breeze to use.
- Forgettable campaign you can afford to skip.
- Weapon damage needs tweaking. Some are over-powered.
- Premium and Battlepacks can come off as a Nickel-and-Dime scheme.
Final Score: 89/100
Disclosure: Battlefield 4 was played and reviewed pre-release during a multi-day review event hosted by Electronic Arts.
Game Front employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.