Battlefield 4 – PlayStation 4
Platform: PlayStation 4
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: November 15, 2013
Genre: First-person shooter
Nerd Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Reviewed by Scott PM
The day was November the fourth, near midnight of the fifth, of the two thousand and thirteenth year of the Common Era. I pulled into the parking lot of my neighborhood GameStop, anticipation tingling my body and soul. The time was near; the PlayStation 4 was about to drop harder than a phat beat in a nightclub. There were few titles that launched with the PS4, including Knack and Killzone: Shadowfall, but the game I was looking forward to the most at launch was Battlefield 4. Actually, my most anticipated launch title was Watch Dogs, but that’s a whole other story now. Battlefield 4 was the only experience coming to the PS4 early on that I was sure would be good and fun with multiplayer. It was my easiest purchase for the PS4. Boy, was I ever disappointed.
Before I get too deep into my reasons for not being satisfied with the game, I’ll get into the basics on how it’s played. It’s your typical first person shooter: access to various primary rifles and shotguns, pistols, grenades, and gadgets. You can pick and choose what weapons and gadgets your online classes wield. The controls are reminiscent of just about every other FPS out there, and they handle better than most of them. The main competitor to Battlefield 4 is Call of Duty, for those few of you who didn’t know that. Two of the big differences between the two games are map sizes and vehicle use. Battlefield 4 offers very large maps and access to vehicles ranging from tanks to jets. Call of Duty has smaller maps designed for close quarters combat where the only vehicles available are AI controlled kill streaks or the gunner seats of various air vehicles.
What Battlefield 4 offers that Call of Duty doesn’t as well, is a comprehensive class-based system, where each class serves its own function on the battlefield. You can play as the Assault Class, which functions as a healer with access to assault rifles and grenade launchers, the Support Class, which has access to light machine guns and ammunition drops, the Engineer Class, which has access to personal defense weapons and can repair vehicles, and the Recon Class, which has access to sniper rifles and various scouting gadgets. Mixing and matching your class and weapons/gadgets to react to changes on the battlefield (and working closely with your teammates) is important if you plan on winning online matches.
I didn’t play the single player campaign. I know, some of you may wonder how I can judge this game when I didn’t play the single player. I would like to retort by saying: “who plays the Battlefield single player anyway?” Don’t answer that, but really, if you’re only drawn to a game by its single player experience, I can recommend better ones. I know, how can I say that without hang played the campaign? Probably for the same reason you don’t buy Call of Duty for its rousing story.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll get into my reasons for being disappointed. I expected there to be some problems getting things off the ground. It was a new game on a new generation of consoles. Of course there would be issues. There were plenty of problems with the PlayStation 4 itself, and I waited through them patiently. The PS4’s major issues were fixed early on. Battlefield 4, on the other hand, had its issues carry on for weeks and months. Server latency issues plagued the game early on, making it impossible to not only find servers but to stay in them until the end of a round. Certain games modes weren’t accessible. The ambient sounds wouldn’t play on certain maps. Textures wouldn’t appear at all. You were dropping from servers left and right and losing all progress for upgrades and new weapons. And it wasn’t even limited to multiplayer; single player campaign saved data would corrupt on a daily basis, eliminating any progress you made. In short, the game was unplayable for the longest time.
Over the course of the following months, patches were released that were supposed to fix the game. It took at least three months for the game to be what I’d call playable. Only recently have they released a patch that was substantial enough to “fix” the game, according to some. That’s almost eleven months after its release. Eleven. Months. That is totally ridiculous. A game should not take almost a full year to be considered fixed. A game should be released in a full, complete form. While some months playing were worse than others, the entirety of the eleven months was filled with potential game breaking issues.
This isn’t to say I haven’t had fun with the game. I wish it were simple: bad game plagued by glitches. Truth be told, I know the game has had game breaking glitches because I suffered through them for those months. I must have clocked a hundred plus hours across different DLC packs. And I enjoyed myself a lot of the time. I rarely played without my friends, so I’m sure that had a huge impact on how I view the game, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enjoying myself at times.
If you had asked me in the first three months if I’d recommend the game, I’d say no. If you’d asked me in the first six months, I’d say no. If you asked me now, I’d say no. Why? They’re making a new Battlefield game: Hardline. That means most resources can be expected to be routed to Hardline. Yea, they say they plan on keeping up with patches and updates, but, then again, it’s also taken them more than ten months to get the game to be next to bug free, so I don’t exactly trust them. If they weren’t making Star Wars: Battlefront, I’d consider boycotting them until they apologized. But that’s not the world we live in, so I won’t be grandstanding on the issue. I give the game a six and a half out of ten. It would be a nine and a half, but I subtracted three full points for the headaches it’s given me. Others dismissed the early issues and gave Battlefield 4 a good score, figuring the problems would be fixed quickly. They weren’t, and I don’t believe that a game that has taken this long to fix should get off so easily.
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