Bewildered BF veteran Toby wanders around the BF4 beta, being shot at.
By Toby McCasker on October 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm
I’m playing the BF4 beta and so are a lot of you. In this way we are not so different, friends. True, I may be more handsome and have more swag. That’s just how things happen. It’s all in the genetics. Sometimes they’re full of good-looking swagtegrity. Like Battlefield’s.
That’s the thing with this thing: It was already great, what the hell else were the going to do? It’s not like CoD, like, DICE do drastically mess with things and throw interesting curveballs all over the place (please bring back the Vietnam expansion, OK?). In the absence of any major crappiness, though, whaddaya do? You put giant freaking skyscrapers everywhere and you start little Toby on top of one of these things just as it’s all coming down.
All those meaningless jets gave BF3 the illusion of vertical space, but here its authority is absolute. I stood at the edge of one of these Trump towers for a good few seconds after working out I could ding to the top (and some guy camping the elevator put holes in my favourite hockey mask). I was feeling a vibe that only comes with inscrutable change: “I want to jump off here and parachute into the middle of those noobs, but I dunno, is BF4 gonna let that happen?”
In quick appraisal of the series’ history that’s not such a huge deal. There are no huge deals here. It initially feels so familiar that panic sets in: How could you? You were supposed to be beautiful! It’s not beautiful, either. At least, it’s not beautiful in the way you might’ve been hoping, this being a fancy-pants sorta next-gen thingy and all. There are no massive graphical overhauls or polygonal bulking.
The sound design, DICE’s consistently underappreciated forte, is another matter: Crank the surround and you can almost feel the sting of a bullet passing the tip of your ear. Explosions carry ridiculous, rumbling weight via the audio alone. You want to duck and cringe and wonder aloud if anyone’s dead after the dust has settled
The mechanical formula is near identical to BF3, and in that it’s slightly underwhelming – especially if you, like me, are coming straight from BF3 to this. You feel like you just opened your front door to leave the house and then stepped into your own house again, except the couch’s pillows have been fluffed. For the most part, it’s the little things, like the excellent detail of the newer kill-cam.
It’s ironic, ‘cos it’s the critical collective mass of these little things that’ll either tempt veterans with their nuances or alienate them with the fact that they are nuances, and not dramatic statements like killing the Medic and carving his body up for Assault and Support to feast upon.
It’s not just the cool aesthetics changes, like much, much more appealing character models and a Bad Company 2-esque nuts ‘n bolts interface. It’s things like Recon getting C4 now instead of Support, which makes some kinda superficial sense, but is really impractical ‘cos… you’re a sniper, and you’re a million miles away most nights. In fact the tweaks to Recon are some of the biggest, and I’d guess the most subject to change – the fact they can double-scope in with a lot more forgiving stability than BF3 now makes them slight-lee O-P. If I can kill someone by aiming at them, the system is borked.
But y’know, jet skis.
Screens courtesy BF4Central.