Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Battlefield 4: Single Player Campaign - Final Round Review

Battlefield 4 drops you straight into one of the most memorable introductions a modern first person shooter has had in years.  The story is anything but original, but the well written dialog is delivered with such passion from the actors to give it the much needed momentum, providing something more than a tacked on campaign to a multiplayer game.  The characters are relatable (even if your character doesn’t speak) and feel sincere, their dialog ranges further than what is to be expected from an FPS single player, touching on things like the difficulty of telling a fallen comrades loved ones they’re not coming home.  There are even a few Easter egg style conversations to be triggered that are pretty funny; my personal favourite would be about the fortune cookies.

Visuals for the campaign are slick, but suffer from a few texture pops that can be rather disturbing; sneaking up on an enemy for a silent take down reveals a porcelain face staring you down that can be nightmarish to anyone suffering from Pediophobia (the fear of dolls).  I’m unsure if the face textures take time to pop in or if they are designed that way, as all enemies in my trek through the campaign suffered the same problem.  The expressionless, porcelain faced enemies only seem to have issue up close and are unnoticeable at any distance further than a knife take down.

A major issue the campaign suffers from is only present during intermission cutscenes, where dialog is meant to be you are met with silence.  Sound effects still there to bring the scene to life, but everyone’s lips are flapping with no sound to be heard (maybe they’re whispering, who knows).  Thankfully, this has no effect on the in-game dialog (the more important of the two) and with subtitles on nothing can be missed.

Combat is much the same as the previous title, with a few additional weapons and tweaks to the recurring ones.  The controls are as tight as ever, making your desperate sprint for cover a more practical option; diving into prone as bullets tear you to shreds can actually save your life this time, unless you’re hiding behind a flimsy wooden wall in which case you’re screwed.  Destructible cover is present almost everywhere, even more so than last time, and is a practical asset against your enemies who now react to the pounding your grenades give their hiding place.  Level variations take you from rain slicked building tops to snowing mountain prisons, while layouts have your standard waste high cover and watch towers.  The dominant colour remains blue and shades of black which has become Battlefield’s visual signature, yet DICE has made the game visually appealing while not altering the formula too much.

Coming from a long line of games that focus on multiplayer, it is nice to see Battlefield take a more story driven yet realistic approach to the single player.  If you enjoyed the gameplay of BF3 then you will be right at home with the minimal alterations to combat and fairly realistic approach to a modern war story.  Huge destructible set pieces and interesting, if not clichéd, support characters with a relatable main cast round out a fun, Hollywood action movie style campaign that is well worth your attention; if you can look past the bugs.

Final Round Rating  -  7.5/10

 - Will Flynn

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