Sitrep, Live From Battlefield 4: It’s like coming home and finding someone fluffed your pillows

Battlefield 4 multiplayer

By 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.

17 comments (Leave your own)

Great article loved that little Jet ski line at the bottom.

Exactly what I expected though.
BF3 with new maps and new features but ones that change the style of play.
Vertical maps..thank you, BF3 with the expansions had a few but most of the players stayed down on the ground acting like it was COD rushing around a corner with a shotty on big open maps.


And the award for the most confusing article I’ve read today goes to… this guy.


As far as I understand it, support gets C4 too in the full release, so that might sit better with you :D

Also jumping off those towers with c4 onto tanks, is rather fun :D


The article sums up the beta fairly.

I’d add that the Chinese faction and new map are a refreshing change from the past 2 games.

Looking back I don’t think Battlefield 3 was much more different from Bad Company 2, main additions then were the reintroduction of 64 player servers, prone and jets. Here we see the return of China, commander mode, larger squads and ingame VOIP.


The one thing I really love is the added flexibility for each class.
Especially with those DMRs and Carbines beeing available to all of them.

Where the hell are my beloved G3 and AN94 though ?!!


Recon is not just a sniper class. More people need to understand this! You have a laser designator, you can choose a semi-automatic rifle or a shotgun and, of course, you have C4 for tank busting and elevator camping.
If you’re spending the whole round sniping you’d better be racking up kills by the truckload. Designating helicopters with an Engineer offsider packing the RPG-7 can really cripple the opposition.


It also depends how much of the beta you’ve played. Without any unlocks, the stock Recon loadout does seem a bit contradictory.

However once you unlock some of the weapons available to all classes (shotguns, carbines, etc.) you can swap the Recon’s rifle for a gun that lets you get in close.

Suddenly Recon has the ability to get in close to C4 tanks, laser designate armour and aircraft for Engineers on the run, and still have a versatile weapon for CQC. It’s the Commando/Special Forces class back in action.


That was kinda painful to read. Maybe I’m getting too old.


I quite like all the things that make a return in Battlefield 4. Even from the Beta it looks to me like it will turn being what I wanted Battlefield 3 to be like. Battlefield 3 is still a fun game in its own right with all the custom maps though I hope BF4 has better maps near release.


BF3 ? custom maps ? Am I missing something ?


Toby, you can shoot your pistol while swimming… the f*** did you miss that?


Sounds like what I expected, which is a good thing. I hope they fix the performance issues before release though, it seems to run at about 25 fps on my PC that could run bf3 on ultra with no problems

Toby McCasker

Murray Hibble,

No way really? After Far Cray 3 I don’t go in the water anymore (sharks maybe)


I would sort of agree its Bf3 ish, but gunplay feels greatly improved, more challenging than bf3 which was easymode- the visual effects are much improved (sadly new Gfx card for me now). Tanks “feel better” to use and take damage better.. not invincible but tough.. And repairing them has improved. (as are most vehicles).

Ammunition in vehicles is much improved with regen required for ammo replen not just reload on reload..

The squad mechanics and “powerup’s” are promoting better teamplay for coordinated squads and teams

Overall i think its a substantial improvement on bf3, but feels familiar, yet not the same – improved in almost all aspects.


If only they’d piss off that horrid client-side hit rego… gotta love me some getting shot around corners and after passing into or behind cover.


Great ‘Toby’ article, i need to get back on this page more :) thanks for the article, interesting points….and jetskis! :D


Murray Hibble:
Toby, you can shoot your pistol while swimming… the f*** did you miss that?

You can do anything “one-handed” in or under the water….

Swimming under water to that damned boat and C4ing it… … BF Gold

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