• Is Battlefield 4 as good as Battlefield 2?

    Is Battlefield 4 as good as Battlefield 2?

    No. (But don’t stop reading. I’ll explain why).

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    So the question on everyone's lips…

    About a week ago, Battlefield 4 was unleashed upon us. Plagued with spotty VOIP, crashing servers and hackers already appearing, many are looking at the launch asking if the game is a worthy buy. Many games these days under tight deadlines are released unto the world only to be tormented with horrendous problems. ALL of the prior releases of Battlefield had these problems. DICE also has been patching and fixing as fast as they humanly can, in order to fix this. Keeping this in mind, I will review the game fairly; as if it ran as smoothly as the Beta did after patch 2… So I’m really going to focus on 3 areas of Battlefield importance, communications, strategy, and the ever coveted commander seat.

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    First of all, let's talk about the core of the game. The engine is beefy like a triple A grain fed steak. The ability to collapse large parts of the map is jaw-droppingly fantastic. Levolution, as they are penning it, changes the battlefield right before your eyes. Entire buildings are leveled in front of you, streets flooded and radar dishes destroyed. This really amps up the gameplay as a strategy to capture flags can change. Graphically the game is jaw dropping. I honestly can say I feel a part of the battlefield and only a few times did I step out of bounds, the ingenious systems they have in place is making the play area more enticing. Gone are the overtly linear maps of battlefield 3 and we are greeted with a much more satisfying blend of groupings and spacing. The maps feel bigger than in Battlefield 3, and the areas where flags lie are well thought out rather than some weird line up of points. There's something for everyone, action or strategy you’ll get to choose. The sound is… well… erm… OK, I did promise I wouldn't bring it up but I can’t help not ignore the fact the sound is great but the cutting in and out kills the experience. When it's on, it's awesome. I do find the “floounk” of the Underslung grenade so beautifully satisfying. Game play wise the game is pure action with moments of clarity. The action can be so disorientating that it can feel completely chaotic. Then, you’ll somehow loop around it all and be in awe as a storm pummels the island, birds fly away, and a squad gets destroyed by a heavy machine gun raining down from a boat. That boat will sweep and set eyes on you just as a recon sniper surfaces to detonate the C4 she just planted on the boat. All of this happens in real-time. Every time you play a map, it’ll feel like those insane action movies from the 90’s we all adored as kids. There lies the magic of this game; the organic way it molds the game into a living experience.

    Communication is key in any teamplay orientated game. Ever since Battlefield 2, DICE seemed to either forget or neglect VOIP. Players who loved playing in a team were forced into third party systems like mumble or teamspeak. DICE seriously ball dropped on those moments — Bad Company and Battlefield 3 would have been so much better with internal game VOIP. So here we are partying likes its 2005 with real in game VOIP, when it works (alright now I’m done; no more referencing those nasty issues which will probably not plague us for too much longer). Key communications within the squad work sublimely. Pushing objectives and helping your squad mates can make the difference between a win and a loss. Teamplayergaming.com is my regular stomping ground, and that is the number one objective of the players there. Communicating with your squad is not only a major aspect of the game, but the ability to chat and make new buddies online is the backbone of many online communities. Sure teamspeak helped with that, but players who honestly don’t know how to use teamspeak would spend hours aimlessly hopping server to server. So all of the above players and the new ones will love that the VOIP is back and is working pretty damn fine.

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    Strategy is a major part of war games. A command structure is key. The commander discusses openly with the squad now, he transmit orders to the squad leader, the squad leader accepts the order or chooses to do his own thing. She then tells her squadmates what point to attack or defend. Those players can choose to help or not. Word to the wise, the first option of following the call will be the best way to win the rounds. Sure maybe there's a cool battle about to erupt around you at the point you’re currently spawned in on, but the way that command chain works may result in you leaping into a better battle, one with the upper hand in your favour. Lonewolves are a lot less effective now with the communications rolling through the squads. The squad leaders are the backbone of the army. They keep the squads rolling into action, their grunts make or break the game, controlling them is their responsibility, and you’ll find as a squad leader, more often than not, you’ll be keeping your squad engaged and on point. Forget to communicate for a few minutes and your squad, unless well trained, will wander off like puppies into the fray of war. Squad leaders when not being asked (told) by the commander to attack a certain point are responsible for directing all that awesome firepower of their 4 soldiers to a single point. A simple tap of “Q” on the point will mark an enemy or a flag to attack/defend. The Commarose is still there — although its usefulness is somewhat debatable right now as most players are concentrating on learning the map and figuring out where those shots are coming from to realise the guy beside them needs ammo. Depending on the server squad leaders are your only point to spawn on in the field, so keeping them alive is #1 importance.

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    The commander is an eagerly awaited position re-addition to the game. His job is to simply help his team win the round. The addition of the commander happens as DICE introduces tablets and other touchscreen devices into the fray. This is quite ingenious. The common soldier gets a “battlescreen” if they wish on their phone, TV, second monitor or tablet. They have a map that shows the entire battlefield so they can navigate the action quickly and effectively. If a commander gives you a UAV, you’ll see the field clearly using that screen. Commanders can now command from the tablet, you have many options including missiles, HVTs, and scans of the areas to help seal the fate of your side. You can only communicate to one squad at one time, selecting them and being able to talk to the entire squad. Perks appear as you capture flags, so players need to hear their commanders and move on those points. You see the beauty in this? You see in order for the commander to help you you must help him; he’s not on the field and he cannot “cap” C to gain those UAVs or take A for the Missile blockers. So with that awesome addition the flags now have real time meanings. You want a UAV? Help the commander hold it. The strategy of map jumping with a good commander will disappear. You’ll be forced to hold ground and fight since if you lose that flag, you’ll open your side up to a disastrous asset loss. Akin to Battlefield 2's assets but simplified. I will concede that the joy of blowing up a commander's "eyes in the sky" is something I will miss a little. However, those flags will be key, especially when people start documenting the requirements of each map. Overall, to make the strategy emerge fully you must have a commander, and the joys of this will become more and more apparent as people step up and feel what the seat means to them.

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    Battlefield 2 was actually a bit simpler in some respects, sure the strategy was a tad deeper, and the 6 man squads were nice but really most of the actual gameplay stuff was simple. You see, the biggest change they bring to this game is the gameplay. In Battlefield 2 you could hide behind a wall, or duck into cover if a tank rolled up on you. Not any more, armor will destroy that building if you decide to hide away, and don’t think as armor you are safe. Now players can bring down the ground from under you and rain fire upon you in all new creative ways! Unlimited sprint makes sure the action is paced, the short sprint was definitely a strategy thing too - but more often than not it just meant you walked everywhere, which made the map feel huge. Battlefield 2 was never a true battle sim (if you want an army sim go play Arma III; it's sublime, massive, and really really realistic). The arcade madness of Battlefield 2 returns. Fighting in ridiculous circumstances and coming out alive only to get more enemy pouring in through the windows of a building really cranks up the adrenaline. Some maps are naturally going to get action at certain flags (Flooded streets and rooftops are prime examples). Let's not even discuss the weapons. They have so much customization that it almost becomes a detriment! The gameplay is so intoxicating you’ll often shake your head at the “How did I do that” moments. The levolution makes small additions that are very welcome, from popping lights out in a room to raising barriers. You’ll soon grow to love the awesome ways they have made the maps come alive!

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    History lesson time:
    Grab your chairs as we head back to 2005, a year where the Chicago White Sox were world series champs, Brad Pitt left Jennifer Aniston for Angelina Jolie and Mariah Carey was in the top 10 lists. This was also the year Batman Begins came along. I sat down to watch that recently and compared to today's films it was a little dull, the acting a little wooden and the plot a little too farfetched. I was naturally disappointed. I remembered the film from the cinema and adored it, but years have gone by. Now the gritty Elysium and the Heavy hitters like Captain Phillips have come and made our cinema experience more visceral, action packed, and deeper. I am feeling this way about Battlefield 2. I remember the amazing nights of action, fun and insanity. Problem is that's the rose coloured glasses talking… You see what I forgot was the horrible arty spamming, tanks getting held up on fences, and infantry being so hard to kill due to horrible hit boxes and clunky run-n-gun system. Battlefield 3 was a very arcadey game. This drew a large following, and DICE’s plan of creating a Battlefield game more for the masses was a true success. I see the third in the series as a stepping stone. Yes, Battlefield 2 was a nerdy and awesome game. The layers of strategy and action were simply perfect, the gameplay was a bit clunky, and sure there were glitches. But, overall it still remains one of my favourite games ever. Battlefield 4 steps towards that but also keeps a healthy amount of user friendly environment. The strategy is less than that of Battlefield 2, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as more often than not players failed to see the values of the strategy. Teamplayer Gaming used to be called Texas Teamplayers. It was here I was introduced to real teamplay and an incredible amount of comradery; this was made possible by Battlefield 2. Battlefield 4 takes the best of every single game DICE has made. The action from Bad Company 2, the excitement of Battlefield 3, and some of the strategy from Battlefield 2. The result is mind blowing. Writing this brings goosebumps to my arms as this week I've played some of the most incredible battles in game I have ever witnessed. The theatre of war has been rendered for your entertainment, the chaos of heavy battle is awe-inspiring, and the moments of luck and pure bullshit moments are so astounding that I’m honestly lost for words when I try to recount some of the best moments. What they've created is a platform for monumentally entertaining moments of gameplay, you can create so many moments of pure awesomeness that you’ll find yourself picking up your jaw from the desk.

    Is battlefield 4 as good as battlefield 2?
    No.

    It's better than Battlefield 2. It's the new benchmark of online gaming. It is the new true BATTLEFIELD.

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    Comments 16 Comments
    1. Warprosper's Avatar
      Warprosper -
      I agree on all points..
    1. BuddyLee.'s Avatar
      BuddyLee. -
      Wat?
    1. SuperBadAce's Avatar
      SuperBadAce -
      Nice write up Maxi. I agree also. Glad I bought BF4.
    1. maximusboomus's Avatar
      maximusboomus -
      Even with the issues - as they resolve them it just fortifies the gameplay.
    1. flame's Avatar
      flame -
      Nice article. I am enjoying it almost as much as I enjoyed BC2. Was never a BF2er and was severely disappointed with BF3. I am very happy with BF4.
    1. Kill8ox's Avatar
      Kill8ox -
      Nice article Max but..
      WTF?
      Better than BF2? Do you honestly beleive that? Nothing in the market come any close to it ..except for 2142.
    1. damnbulance.dan's Avatar
      damnbulance.dan -
      Great article Max.

      Kill8box, time to move on. I can list several games that I spent 5+ years actively playing and adoring. Very fond memories included. I don't play them anymore. Technology evolves, as do the games, as do.. yes even the gamers themselves. Well most of us apparently. Quit living in the past. This is a great game. It's not perfect, but still great.
    1. Kanati's Avatar
      Kanati -
      And getting better all the time. I notice today that my "taking forever to load" issue has been resolved. Issues are getting taken care of in relatively short order.
    1. maximusboomus's Avatar
      maximusboomus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kill8ox View Post
      Nice article Max but..
      WTF?
      Better than BF2? Do you honestly beleive that? Nothing in the market come any close to it ..except for 2142.
      Yeah I do man - when the dust settles we'll have the absolute pinnacle of FPS games for many of us for years...
    1. Alundil's Avatar
      Alundil -
      Very nice writeup Max.
    1. Ranger10's Avatar
      Ranger10 -
      Nice write up. Not sure I agree that it's better than BF2 though. I think it has accomplished many of the proven successes of BF2, but it fails spectacularly in the realm of air power. You don't need to make helicopter and jet pilots godlike to "find the fun". That's where BF2 failed. The ground game is where the fun is in BF4. Awesome. But to really reach the epic nature of BF2, you have to make flying fun too. And it still isn't there.
    1. Kanati's Avatar
      Kanati -
      Good. I still hate air power but at least you can, with a few coordinated people, take pretty much any aircraft down with stingers.
    1. Kanati's Avatar
      Kanati -
      In BF2 a good pilot was unstoppable by ground forces.
    1. maximusboomus's Avatar
      maximusboomus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ranger10 View Post
      Nice write up. Not sure I agree that it's better than BF2 though. I think it has accomplished many of the proven successes of BF2, but it fails spectacularly in the realm of air power. You don't need to make helicopter and jet pilots godlike to "find the fun". That's where BF2 failed. The ground game is where the fun is in BF4. Awesome. But to really reach the epic nature of BF2, you have to make flying fun too. And it still isn't there.
      Um... I'd bide my words - I heard players bitching about soviet boom in his jet the other day and how he was destroying everyone... give it time I think those jets will be not as powerful but just as bad!
    1. badprimer1's Avatar
      badprimer1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kanati8869 View Post
      In BF2 a good pilot was unstoppable by ground forces.
      Not quite unstoppable, but devastating nonetheless depending on who was behind controls. Depending on map, at times you could slow down air attack with mobile aa. Or, if you were Chosen, a tree was your best defense against him.
    1. Warflagon's Avatar
      Warflagon -
      Good write up, but i'm only seeing it today.
      Lets post it up on FB already!