• Battlefield 4 Beta Review

    It has been a few years since the last iteration of the illustrious Battlefield series, but arriving very soon is Battlefield 4 ... So soon, in fact, they have gifted us a sneak peek at the game. Recently, the beta was offered to us all and many of us frothed at the mouth impatiently to get the chance to answer some of life's hardest questions, such as: "Will it have real working VOIP?" "Did they make the game more detailed?" "Will my poor old PC run it?"... Well, my friends, it's time to get comfortable because it looks like they gave us a whole lot more...

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    Battlefield 2 was the online gamer's dream. Deep strategy intersecting with action, determination, and blind luck. The game was so popular that many a gamer had spent 2000+hrs in game; the following was a small yet hardcore player base. After Bad Company 2 came out, some became disenchanted with the franchise. Not knowing the background of Bad Company they had been hoping for a successor to their fabled Battlefield 2. Despite its charm and addictive game play many of the veterans once again returned to the battlefield of Battlefield 2, jaded by the lack of VOIP and strategy, they consoled themselves with the concept of Battlefield 3 being the true successor. Enter the older brother of our current generation: Battlefield 3. Hyped as a COD killer, the team at DICE aggressively created a campaign to take a bite out of the stale franchise's ranks. They displayed incredible game play and graphics that made many people swoon. The hardcore (and jaded) fans asked all the questions that were simply not going to happen. In fact, the points of most contention were VOIP and Commander Mode. The beauty of Battlefield 2 was the strategy mixed with the action. When it was released, many played despite the lack of deeply wanted features, but those fans never forgot and continuously fought for the introduction of any of those features.

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    Battlefield 4 has a Brobdingnagian task of commanding the respect of its willing ranks and reminding those veterans who loved the old school Battlefield 2. You see Battlefield 3 was a great success despite the desperate cries of those hardcore Battlefield 2 fans. So, Battlefield 4 must unite both fronts and the biggest question was can that be done?

    In a word, yes. But there are compromises that in my mind don't affect the game enough to be completely different. For the hardcore Battlefield fan, the commander returns. He's a tablet toting boss that can make or break the round with an arsenal that is truly remarkable; sadly, none of the assets can be blown up or defended. However, the developers sidestepped this by adding strategic flags (some flags will allow him to have UAV access, etc.). The commander has VOIP to squad leaders and will ultimately be the biggest addition to Battlefield 4. New players will have a hard time to start understanding that he has the best view of the situation. VOIP is back. Oddly, neither Bad Company 2 or Battlefield 3 had VOIP, a wrong which has been righted. It's clear and just as quick as any third party VOIP program. Old schoolers will happily not start up a third party VOIP program, and new players will be confused by the voices talking to them. I spent 2 minutes talking to my squad leader the other day — his opinion of the game evolved that fast, too — it went from "wow what a great team death-match" to a "happy to get the flags and hold key points. Strategy took a lead, and he was raving about the real interactive team situation. You see, without VOIP, how are you supposed to plan and discuss ideas? How can we discuss the ability to distract a tank to C4 him?

    The map we are playing is a city map (not really my cup of tea), but it shows you what the final product will be like... Large stretching metropolis with a key center point. Levolution allows you to not only create small inconveniences such as barriers or lights out but also allows large map changing options like leveling an entire tower. The action is slower than Battlefield 3 and feels more genuine. The guns are meaty, and the 40mm has never sounded so good. I felt like Arnie in T2 firing that sucker at enemies. The normal mode isn't nearly as obnoxious as it was in Battlefield 3 — the overlay enemy markers from spotting remain, although not nearly as easy to Q spam and then eliminate, the health re-gen is so slow I really don't feel it changes much, and the friendly fire off makes for easy spray and pray situations. The commanding system for squad leaders is 100% improved. Simply tap Q on your objective and then explain to your squad why you think holding A is a great idea (it's not). Overall, the game play feels very similar to Battlefield 3. For those who are searching for a more sedate pace of battle, you will be better suited to the Arma 3 engine as this is all out, balls to the wall war.

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    You will need to have a beastly PC for this... My poor computer has met its match and my upcoming upgrade will be a welcome addition the next wave of video games. CPU stuttering, issues with graphical drivers, and more await you upon installing this. New gen PCs (2 years and below) should be fine. The game looks incredible. I mean, insanely detailed and beautiful. The shadows, explosions, and lighting are all rendered in absolute gorgeousness. The sun has thankfully been "nerfed", I feel more in tune with the map now that I don't get blinded every time I look towards a certain flag. There are so many angles; I never feel like I'm being churned in a grinder a la Metro - I foresee many across-the-river battles in the future with this map when players get comfortable with its layout. The sounds are simply the best in any game, and I cannot put words to how good this game sounds.

    To conclude, here's the low down on Battlefield 4 beta:

    Old Skooler (Battlefield 2) fans:
    You will feel happy the VOIP is back. The lack of functioning commander mode means you'll have to buy to try. The action will feel very arcade-like compared to the ALMOST simulatoresque Battlefield 2 action. The map will feel smaller (you can run all the time now), and that's actually not a bad thing as often the problem in Battlefield 2 was the obnoxious walks from flag to flag (try Day z if you like walking in game — it's a veritable hiking simulator!). You will feel like they dumbed down your beloved game because they have, slightly. There are no more assets to blow up, uncaps remain from Battlefield 3, and the vehicles feel too clunky in comparison to the Battlefield 2 series. However, they are trying to give you the best of what you had. 5 man squads allow for better strategic play, VOIP allows you to ask the snipers to actually push up, and the regen isn't that bad (although I'll admit it is unrealistic). They have made the true successor to Battlefield 2 but have streamlined the entertainment factor to allow for a broader audience. Yes, this isn't Battlefield 2 with better graphics, aiming, and physics, but it is an amazing game and one that I feel new comers and old schoolers will enjoy playing.

    New Skewler fans:
    Get ready for the best game of the series. It blends the best of every single Battlefield game into one. You will fight alongside some hardened veterans who may complain about how they (EA) ruined Battlefield — don't worry, they will most likely love this game as much as you. The complexities added from Battlefield 3 are truly astounding. You will swim underwater, drive through walls with tanks, set traps like no other game will allow, and the action you'll endure will often leave you breathless and laughing with joy. Forget Battlefield 3 as this is the real game, now. You will have to adjust to actually communicating, but very quickly you'll discover the reason these vets are so damn passionate about this game series. Buckle up! This is Battlefield 3 on crack.

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    As long as the beta represents the game fully, it will be absolutely amazing. Old school and new school unite to make a modern day online gaming orchestra of death, destruction, and awesomeness.

    You can also join the discussion on the BF4 beta here. Stay tuned for for a review of the full game by Max along with server info for a TeamplayerGaming server when BF4 officially launches!
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. Potemkine's Avatar
      Potemkine -
      An extremely good write up, Maximus. You nailed, everything.
    1. maximusboomus's Avatar
      maximusboomus -
      Thanks Pote - I am honestly surprised at how well they got the game sorted - even with my terrible performance issues the game FEELS like a winner already!
    1. Vexon's Avatar
      Vexon -
      Quote Originally Posted by maximusboomus View Post
      Thanks Pote - I am honestly surprised at how well they got the game sorted - even with my terrible performance issues the game FEELS like a winner already!
      Like a true BF2 sequel.
    1. Viktor_Olin's Avatar
      Viktor_Olin -
      Nice review, max. Hell, any review that uses "Brobdingnagian" is a step above the rest!
    1. triggerhappy2005's Avatar
      triggerhappy2005 -
      Nice review, Max.
    1. Muqtar's Avatar
      Muqtar -
      Well done Max, I agree with nearly everything you said except for Brobdingnagian.
    1. maximusboomus's Avatar
      maximusboomus -
      Haha thanks guys! The one thing I will say now after playing it at decent frames is the annoying death behind walls seems to have gone - a big leap forward from bf3...