Battlefield 4 is the 13th Instalment in the Battlefield Series, utilising the 3rd incarnation of its Frostbite engine to make the best looking game in the series to date. But does it live up to Expectations or is the series as stale as a year old loaf of bread?
The story is a direct sequel to Battlefield 3 and is set 6 years after in the year 2020 and whilst the American/Iranian conflict has ended tensions between Russia and America have escalated to the point where the slightest provocation could spark another Global war akin to that of 2014. Admiral Chang (the main protagonist) comes up with a plan to unite China and Russia and lead an unstoppable attack upon the US and make the Chinese Russian Alliance the dominant superpower. Enter your character Sgt Daniel Recker, a member of Tombstone which is a US Special Operations Squad who stumble across Admiral Chang's plot and do everything in their power to stop it. All in all it sounds like a typical battlefield story. The Campaign can be completed in around 5 hours if you don't scour the map looking for all the collectibles which just happen to unlock weapons in the multiplayer mode which is reason enough to do so.
The multiplayer is where all of the substance is, 10 maps 7 game modes and all of the usual unlockables, ribbons, medals, assignments, weapons and their upgrades e.g. new scopes, under slung grenade launchers. The game has the same 4 classes that were in BF3 but there is greater weapon customization between them as carbines and DMR's can now be used by all classes. The Squad limit has been increased to 5 players which is a very welcome addition. There is also a new feature added to the maps called Battle pickups these are powerful weapons lying around the map which have limited ammunition and do not replace your current weapons. The counter system has been revamped allowing you to reverse frontal knife attacks getting the kill yourself and penalising your opponent for attacking you head on with a knife if you succeed.
The Game Modes are as follows
Conquest - For people that do not know what Conquest is, its Capture the Flag Mode
Defuse - Two teams have to defend their own objective whilst simultaneously trying to take the opposing teams. The snag is everyone gets one life, Fallen players can only be revived once per round.
Domination - Smaller based version of Conquest, Infantry only.
Obliteration - Randomly Spawned bomb which both teams fight to control must be taken to an enemy controlled point, armed and then protected until detonation.
Rush - Objective based Game mode, Blow up the MCOM stations to advance the map whilst the enemy team defend them.
Squad Deathmatch - Small Scale Team Deathmatch, Multiple Squads make for a fast paced frantic game.
Team Deathmatch - Large Scale Team Deathmatch, 2 Teams battle for Dominance.
All of the ten maps are new to the series with later DLC adding four Battlefield 3 maps. Each of the maps contains what EA are calling Levolution. There are certain things in each map that can be used or that can completely change the map either for good or for bad for instance on the smaller scale you can use a lift or touching a car may set off an alarm alerting nearby enemies of your presence to the larger scale of whole buildings falling down opening up the map completely or on the map Flood Zone you can destroy a part of the map flooding the map, making most of the vehicles with the exception of boats useless.
The game now has what EA call Battle packs these are either Awarded or Bought and give players random items such as Skins, Items or Unlocks, I'd love the idea of these if they weren't micro transactions but I can also see why as a company EA's goal is primarily to maximise profit from their titles and micro transactions is an easy way to do so.
Making a welcome return to the series is commander mode which is unlocked at level 10 and allows a player to control the whole team issuing orders which if followed fill the squad asset bar that allows you to further assist your teams with supplies, use a UAV to show enemies locations if they enter an area and fire missiles at an enemy position but these expend the bar. If the commander isn't up to scratch then you can issue a mutiny order and if enough votes are cast then the commander is told he isn't doing his job and has a small window of opportunity to perform better before he is given his marching orders and someone else can take his place. The new-comer than has a grace period where he is immune from mutiny. Sadly, Commander mode is only available for 3 of the game modes Conquest, Rush and Obliteration which is a shame but it's understandable why this is left out of the smaller game modes as it would unbalance the mode.
The game still has the feeling of being a Multiplayer game primarily with an added Single player campaign to teach you the basics and brush up your skills for when you get online. The main problem is that shortly you will be able to play with 64 players online and have even better visuals if you get the next gen version so it feels as though current gen gets the short end of the stick.