The war isn’t over yet. Despite our glowing Call Of Duty Ghosts review don’t think that DICE has thrown snake eyes in the annual shooter battle. Because while COD has been tried, tested, and shouted in our face on PS4, so far Battlefield 4 only has the coal-powered platform of current gen on which to showcase its wares.
It’s hardly bringing a knife to a gunfight, but it is a bit like coming to a gunfight in sweat pants and trainers while the other guy’s in a tailored suit with perfectly complimentary pocket square. That said, Battlefield 4 does look mighty fine when judged on it’s own merits (we’re not ready to say ‘for a PS3 game’ just yet). The lighting model and particle effects in particular show that the developer is doing its level best to wring the hardware’s potential dry.
And yet there are times when it’s oh so clear that this is a scaled-down version of what you really want to be playing. Draw distances are evidently compromised on occasion, facial animations have suffered and, most damningly, there is some truly heinous texture pop-in at times, especially when you reload after dying. There’s also the not inconsiderable issue that this incarnation lacks the PS4’s 1080p resolution, super-smooth 60 frames per second, and 64 player online battles. Bigger and shinier most definitely doesn’t always equate to better, but add these features together and they definitely make a difference.
There are times when it’s oh so clear
that this is a scaled-down version of
what you really want to be playing
This unusually heavy focus on the game’s technical aspects is for two reasons. One, we’ll have a PS4 verdict for you soon. Two, and more pertinently, you already know what to expect here. In fact, if I was feeling really (extra) lazy, I could probably copy and paste last year’s review in here with very few changes.
The single-player campaign is a slightly underwhelming Call Of Duty pastiche, full of shouting men, loud explosions, poor scripting, and genuinely impressive set-pieces. It hasn’t delivered the promised emotional punch, but is still a reasonably enjoyable romp. There’s also too much hunkering down behind cover and some tedious sections that require much replaying, but with some nice concessions to the world of multiplayer, such as squad commands and a more flexible approach to loadouts.
And then there’s the online, which is excellent as ever. Sprawling levels alter dynamically as battles go on, with skyscrapers collapsing or storms wiping out sections of the map, and there’s a slightly more responsive and punchy feel to the gunplay. It’s designed around and rewards teamplay to a greater extent than COD, but there’s nothing here to change existing preferences, which now seem as set in stone as football club allegiances or a proclivity to baldness. (Thanks, Dad.) A good game, but one you’ve played before. The single player is sorely lacking innovation, but the online side is strong like bison, even if the power of PS4 is sadly missing.
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