Battlefield 4 Hands On

Battlefield 4 Hands On
 
 

At the EA booth at E3 I had the chance to sit down with a copy of Battlefield 4 and take it through its paces. Displayed proudly at EA's press conference this year, it is obvious that EA are banking on this classic franchise to draw in the hardcore shooter crowd.

After being shown a brief demonstration video that reminded all the noobs in the audience how to handle themselves in a full-on firefight, a large group of gamers - 64 in fact - was ushered in front of teched out PCs in the middle of the show floor. We were playing through the multiplayer mission that was shown in EA's trailer - the United States army was marauding into Shanghai and was trying to take down the Chinese National Television station, which is located in a prominent skyscraper.

 
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After selecting and customising my class (there were four to choose from: assault, engineer, recon, and support) I got straight into the action. The first thing that was noticeable was how smooth the experience was - there was little delay between deployment and some intense shooting action. This is helped in part by the addition of "squads" into the Battlefield 4 multiplayer experience. There are groups of around 4 to 5 players that are banded together as a team. Using your squad to best effect brings with it clear advantages - your squadmates show up on your minimap so you always know if are supported and you can choose to deploy to your squadmates when you respawn. It's a neat innovation that means that the pace of the Battlefield 4 experience remains fast and action orientated.

The second major new feature is the inclusion of the "Commander" class. This is a player who is sitting over the battlefied and is directing squads and units to new locations and objectives. Through a top down strategy map style interface, they can see the ebb and flow of the fighting - and where there are weak spots or choke points. They aren't just a passive observer though - by squad members completing orders that the commander has given, they earn points that can be spent on game changing weapons, like Tomahawk missles or high altitude gunships.

As my game rampaged on it was a little difficult to respond to or keep track of exactly what it was the Commander wanted me and my squad mates to do - but in the hands of an experienced player giving orders to a clan there is scope for some really awesome tactical gameplay.

The combat itself was fast paced and intense. The flow of the battle and the ability to deploy right into the action meant that there were several loud and violent mini battles happening all the time throughout my hands on. These were an awesome opportunity to see some of Battlefield 4's weapons in action, ranging from the classic assault rifle to high tech grenade launchers. These mini battles gravitated around the key buildings in the map keeping the action centered on the map's overall objectives. They were also an opportunity to show off the game's physics engine. Many environments were destructible and as they were shot at, stormed over and blown up they responded authentically. When Alan Bell was playing the game, he described seeing a shell zoom past a tank, hit a tree, and topple it. As the tree fell, its branches shook and its leaves rustled in real time. Physics like this ram home the carnage of war.

The map I played through also strongly emphasized vertical play. Several buildings can be entered, and you can take elevators to the top of them to rain down bullets on soldiers in the street below - until someone in a helicopter blows you away from the sky. Although getting up that high was a slightly surreal experience. There's something a little strange about running around with bullets flying and then hopping in a quiet elevator with 4 other heavily armed dudes. All it needed was some dinky elevator music to start playing.

However, odd elevators aside, the most intense part of the game came when the Americans managed to destroy the central tower. This didn't end the game - but it did change it. The streets became littered with dust and debris, giving different options for cover. Line of sight was also drastically reduced, as the haze of the collapsed building clogged your vision. And this was all rendered in stunning detail.

Battlefield's graphics and high frame rates really rounded off the combat experience and kept your head right in the game. The sound design was also amazing. Guns popped and cracked, shells exploded, tanks revved and roared. The sound in Battlefield titles is usually pretty good, but I was blown away by how authentic and immersive Battlefield's audio was. And when the central part of that map's combat experience is the destruction of a massive skyscraper it's damned important to get your graphics and audio marching in sync. Thankfully, Battlefield has.

However, it remains to be seen how fluid the combat is in different environments. The map I played through was mostly urban, meaning compressed street warfare. This meant that the action was mostly soldier to soldier, and tanks and other vehicles didn't feature as much as they would in other maps. However, when they did they were tactically useful and incredibly deadly. In the middle of the map there was a river crossed by a bridge, the booming tank battles there were a sight to behold, and their burning carcasses gave added cover to the swarms of infantry running past in support.

Overall I was really impressed with the Battlefield 4 map that I played through. The multiplayer madness of the franchise's 64 player maps creates an experience that is chaotic, fast-paced, and fun. The title will come out on October 31 in Australia, so hopefully it makes the hop over the ditch at the same time. Because if the final experience is anywhere near as good as the hands on experience I had at E3 kiwi gamers are going to want to snap it up quick.


Battlefield 4
+ Visually impressive, chaotic mutliplayer combat
- Unclear how the Commander will take control
"Kiwi gamers are going to want to snap it up quick."
- Battlefield 4
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Comments Comments (31)

 
Mach1_9pants NZGamer.com VIP VIP
Posted by Mach1_9pants
On Friday 14 Jun 2013 6:49 PM
-9
Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeef! BF, BF! Oh yeah Love me some Beef. I've played every single version of BF on every platform. Although this looks like Battlefield 3.5 rather than the jump from BF2 to BF3, I can't wait.

*Knifey knifey, dip dip dip: BF knife drinking games, when you knife someone, all your buddies have to take a drink. Best way to play :P

http://g.bf3stats.com/pc/yWcuSdho/machpants.png
http://g.bfbcs.com/12867/pc_MachPants.png
http://g.bfbcs.com/12867/pc_Mach1.9Pants.png

:D
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Alta_Ranga
Posted by Alta_Ranga
On Friday 14 Jun 2013 9:55 PM
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I've seen a lot of BF3.5 comments. If that's true then I've been playing BlOps1.1 for the last seven months.

Can anyone confirm if the 64 player MP is for all platforms? I doubt I'll be able to afford a PS4 before mid-2014, which means I'll probably end up getting this for the 360. Will I be able to get all these lovely BF4 upgrades (textures, frame rate, 64 players, etc) on my old console?
 
 
 
Syn-Ryn NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Syn-Ryn
On Friday 14 Jun 2013 10:20 PM
1
14 June 2013, 09:55 PM Reply to Alta_Ranga
I've seen a lot of BF3.5 comments. If that's true then I've been playing BlOps1.1 for the last seven months.

Can anyone confirm if the 64 player MP is for all platforms? I doubt I'll be able to afford a PS4 before mid-2014, which means I'll probably end up getting this for the 360. Will I be able to get all these lovely BF4 upgrades (textures, frame rate, 64 players, etc) on my old console?
Nope, you're stuck with 24 players and 30 fps.
 
 
 
dark_hadou1 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by dark_hadou1
On Friday 14 Jun 2013 11:12 PM
-
correct me if I'm wrong, but 64 players is the same size as the MAG multiplayer servers isn't it?

If so, I can imagine this being a pretty full on experience, especially if they allow mouse and keyboard to be used on console
 
 
 
LoftyDog NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by LoftyDog
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 2:02 AM
2
" It's a neat innovation that means that the pace of the Battlefield 4 experience remains fast and action orientated."

can you really call it an innovation when its been in the BF series for over a decade now? just sayin
 
 
 
LoftyDog NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by LoftyDog
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 2:03 AM
3
14 June 2013, 11:12 PM Reply to dark_hadou1
correct me if I'm wrong, but 64 players is the same size as the MAG multiplayer servers isn't it?

If so, I can imagine this being a pretty full on experience, especially if they allow mouse and keyboard to be used on console
mag is actually 256 players
 
 
 
KILL-TONE
Posted by KILL-TONE
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 11:46 AM
2
After seeing the trailer, this is truly the first and only time i can apply the overly-used phrase.... "That sh*t is cray"
 
 
 
predatorhunter NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by predatorhunter
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 1:16 PM
-
64 players that would be epic.
 
 
 
nos4r2d2
Posted by nos4r2d2
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 2:43 PM
-
That last screen-shot looks photo realistic.
 
 
 
Khaos_Kiwi NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by Khaos_Kiwi
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 4:37 PM
-
Wow. They seem to have fixed all the problems I had with BF3 and are adding or improving everything else! Can't wait for 64 players at 60 fps on PS4!
 
 
 
onlyhsh
Posted by onlyhsh
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 5:44 PM
-8
commenting for the sake of so
 
This comment has been down-voted by the community.  
 
Super-Pangolin NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by Super-Pangolin
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 8:25 PM
-
Not quite the MAG scale of players-per-match, but this Commander idea sounds a lot like the OIC role and is something I always thought worked quite well in a shooter. Looking forward to seeing how it's implemented.
 
 
 
kiwibadboy NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by kiwibadboy
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 10:45 PM
-
Why all the hate? It's better than COD, which is the same every year.......
 
 
 
cloud-core
Posted by cloud-core
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 10:55 PM
-
I'll be waiting for the PS4. Can't really see the point playing 12v12 for a few months on the PS3. DICE have been very up front that the maps are designed for PC/nextgen so who knows how well it'll adapt for PS3/360.
 
 
 
chunky
Posted by chunky
On Sunday 16 Jun 2013 2:13 AM
1
I think DICE has a real opportunity to make BF4/3(lets face it it is the same essentially) what it should have been as a true successor to BF2. BF3 suffered from removing so many significant teamwork elements and licensing issues preventing them fixing things like VOIP (only allowed to provide via battlelog rather than built ingame) etc.

Looks like squad orders are back in aswell, more specific than BF3's and hopefully not as dodgy (ie BF3's bugs where an order simply did not work).
 
 
 
AudaciousGnome NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by AudaciousGnome
On Sunday 16 Jun 2013 12:21 PM
-
Can't wait to experience 64 player madness on the PS4!
 
 
 
PE0PLEKN0WME NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by PE0PLEKN0WME
On Sunday 16 Jun 2013 12:22 PM
-
OHMERGERD! I Want This BAD!!
 
 
 
predatorhunter NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by predatorhunter
On Sunday 16 Jun 2013 1:34 PM
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15 June 2013, 10:45 PM Reply to kiwibadboy
Why all the hate? It's better than COD, which is the same every year.......
I agree with you here.
 
 
 
Deanology NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
Posted by Deanology
On Sunday 16 Jun 2013 2:01 PM
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Now this is a game that is a must buy for me.
Quality fun.
 
 
 
JohnWatters
Posted by JohnWatters
On Monday 17 Jun 2013 9:15 PM
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PS4 Here we come. lol
 
 
 
BigC NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by BigC
On Wednesday 19 Jun 2013 2:31 AM
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Can't wait for this game!
 
 
 
BlackShade
Posted by BlackShade
On Wednesday 19 Jun 2013 4:00 PM
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Its pretty amazing how they made that huge building come down like that, twas awesome and the way they blew up the support structures underground for that tank, again twas awesome! :D
 
 
 
atipuss NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by atipuss
On Thursday 20 Jun 2013 7:36 AM
-
Epic!! Cant wait.must learn how to fly this time :D
 
 
 
tom_nz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Silver
Posted by tom_nz
On Thursday 20 Jun 2013 1:06 PM
1
Hmmmmm, preorder now? Anyone know the pc specs required?
 
 
 
KAZUYA NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
Posted by KAZUYA
On Thursday 20 Jun 2013 7:11 PM
1
damn, think id need to upgrade my pc for this
 
 
 
Callum_Rist
Posted by Callum_Rist
On Friday 21 Jun 2013 10:06 PM
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I loved bf3 so i cant wait for ps4 just so i can play this. I hope it is as good as it looks and sounds. =) =)
 
 
 
sick_wierdo
Posted by sick_wierdo
On Sunday 23 Jun 2013 3:44 PM
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I skipped Battlefield 3, so I will definitely be picking this up on PS4. Looks amazing...
 
 
 
ademorg NZGamer.com VIP VIP
Posted by ademorg
On Sunday 23 Jun 2013 7:41 PM
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This looks so awesome.
I will be getting this when it comes out.
 
 
 
KATANA
Posted by KATANA
On Monday 24 Jun 2013 8:17 PM
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Looking forward to this one, I am still having trouble though putting Battlefield One down
 
 
 
Alta_Ranga
Posted by Alta_Ranga
On Tuesday 25 Jun 2013 6:50 AM
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14 June 2013, 10:20 PM Reply to Syn-Ryn
Nope, you're stuck with 24 players and 30 fps.
Thanks for the info. =)
 
 
 
sonny6894
Posted by sonny6894
On Saturday 29 Jun 2013 10:22 PM
-
That's an awesome write up of the game! It has got me so excited man that's awesome! Just can't wait to get my hands on this game!!!! I can just imagine playing this game non stop.. All I need to do now is get a new console to play it on.. Playing it on the current gen is just not fair to the game!