Review by guest writer Patrick Freeman, host of Ratchet Retrocast
I’ve kind of taken a break from FPS pc shooters for a few years. I quickly got burned out on Quake and Unreal, and console gaming took over my life. After some time I slowly fell back into the FPS for the PC, starting with Team Fortress 2, or as some of my friends like to call it Hat Fortress™. That was soon followed up with Borderlands as a Christmas present from a friend and then Borderlands 2. The above mentioned FPS games are the cream of the crop. I’m not saying this because those are the only games I’ve played. The sentiment is repeated time and time again through various online articles. So to say that I am spoiled walking into world of Battlefield 4 is like saying Hitler wasn’t a nice guy. Understatement.
My first impression with BF4 lied in the graphics. I recently built a kick-ass gaming PC with tons of ram, a nice quad-core, and a GeForce GTX680. This game uses all of it. TF2 and BL2 are cartoonish and nice looking, but BF4 is ultra-realistic by comparison.
I played the single player mode all of 15 minutes before I became bored with the gameplay. But that’s not where the Battlefield franchise made its name. So I sallied forth with the mild training of the single player mode into online play. Playing online was immediately different. The thing that blew me away first was the sense of scale in some of the maps. It didn’t appear massive from the overhead map, but you wouldn’t know it running around and hunting enemy combatants, especially in the city-based combat zones. Debris and glass crashing down around you as you run for cover is a regular thing.
I intentionally chose servers that had low numbers of players. There’s nothing worse than hopping onto a server where 42 better players shoot you in the head simultaneously, causing a rage quit and chucking rocks at the kids playing in my yard. Picking up the basics was a lot easier than I would have thought. Being knew to Battlefield, I thought there might be a definite learning curve to overcome, but instead I just ended up hating my other team mates. (Noobs!)
I love playing support classes. In TF2, I play the engineer, and in Borderlands 2 I stick with the sniper rifles and shoot people from far, far away. I was immediately drawn to the engineer and recon classes in BF4. The recon class comes with a sniper rifle and a pair of binoculars that can “paint” enemy vehicles. An engineer comes with a rocket launcher or any vehicle that can fire laser targeted missiles. In the 3 on 3 match, everyone ran for the vehicles first, so I sat on this hillside hidden in bushes highlighting targets. Despite my other teammates mucking everything up (they just continued to fly helicopters into buildings with extreme prejudice) I really started to enjoy myself.
I eventually made it into other maps with more experienced players (thank goodness). I had engineers performing battle repairs to my tank while firing at enemies in the opposite direction. Another engineer with a rocket launcher camped out on an island with me as I played recon, and targeted any vehicle that dare approach our tiny island. I even had helicopter pilots let me on board and then deposit me on the tallest buildings so I could snipe and target vehicles for them. It was glorious!
Gameplay isn’t perfect, however. I saw one enemy trying to sneak up to get the better of me on the other side of a fence. I unleashed a machine gun barrage from my tank that would have made ED-209 from RoboCop proud. Yet my target escaped only to sneak up behind me and stick a C4 up my bum (not literally), blowing me up to kingdom come. I later took refuge behind a fence only to get nailed by a sniper moments later. I would certainly not let small things like this take away from the overall enjoyment of the game. I still have yet to figure out how to customize loadouts and weapons but I feel that will come to me as I play more and more. I would certainly recommend this game to novice FPS players. Having a microphone to talk to your team is a must. And whatever you do, don’t be THAT GUY. You know who you are and what I’m talking about.
Battlefield 4 is accessible to novice FPS gamers, but beware the dude-bros who take pleasure in executing your immediate end, and those who just want to attack skyscrapers just to see them collapse on EVERYONE. The single-player campaign can be snore-inducing, leaving multiplayer the only true reason one should ever play this game.