Battlefield 4 has been out since late October, but it didn’t release for the next-gen consoles until mid November, which is why we waited on reviewing the game. Even with it being a port, this game still deserves to be played on the next-gen consoles or PCs thanks to the improved graphics and increased horsepower, especially the latter which allows for 64 player multiplayer skirmishes.
Battlefield 4 most definitely looks better on the Xbox One than it did on the Xbox 360 thanks to the new console’s abilities. Character models look fleshed out, but unfortunately still behave like robots while delivering dialogue and moving about the game world, which kind of breaks the illusion during the single player campaign. The various environments used in the campaign and multiplayer modes were quite detailed thanks to the improved background textures and lighting effects afforded by the One’s internals. The overall graphical package still didn’t feel like a pure next-gen experience though, which is a direct result of this game being a port for the next-gen systems. It definitely looks better than Call of Duty: Ghosts on the Xbox One, but it’s not as refined as Ryse: Son of Rome when it comes to character appearances and performances.
Like Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 has a single player campaign to compliment the real reason for owning a Battlefield game, which is for the comprehensive multiplayer. The campaign looks pretty, but is utterly forgettable. You take control of Tombstone squad’s Recker as he and his crew try to stop Admiral Chang from seizing power in China and declaring war on the US.
The story follows the events of Battlefield 3, but is so convoluted that you’ll never really care about the big picture. The only enjoyment in the campaign is taking pop shots at the relatively stupid AI en route to your next checkpoint. The gunplay is spot on, and the report sounds from each weapon are lifelike, providing a sense of realism amongst the Hollywood infused chaos, but the overall campaign is much less exciting than even COD: Ghosts’ campaign. It also only lasts about 4-5 hours, so it feels more like an add-on than a fully fleshed out single player mode.
Where Battlefield 4 shines is on the multiplayer battle field. Thanks to the increased power of the Xbox One gamers can enjoy 64-player battles that feel like small scale wars. Most of the key features from the Battlefield series return in B4’s multiplayer mode. The four standard classes return, each with its own weapon suite. The classic game modes of Conquest, Rush, and Domination return alongside a few new game types (Obliteration and Defuse), as well as standard FPS modes like Team Deathmatch.
The 64-player battles are where the pure enjoyment moments kick in while playing Battlefield 4’s multiplayer mode. This is especially the case when you play a conquest match with a full room of players. Charging the enemy’s capture points with 32 other players at once is something all FPS war game fans should experience. I would never dare say I know what it’s like to be in a war zone, but with a 7.1 surround sound system cranked up B4’s conquest mode mimics what I imagine a live battlefield would sound like. The thrill of storming enemy encampments with a legit plan formulated by squad mates is the epitome of teamwork, and when successful the payoff is pure video game enjoyment.
Thanks to the much larger roster of players, Battlefield 4’s multiplayer feels slightly more accessible for gamers who don’t live and die in FPS multiplayer. I’m not ashamed to admit that my FPS skills have waned over the years, and are no match for a 10 year-old’s itchy trigger fingers, but something about B4 just made me feel like I had a chance to contribute to my team even if I didn’t spend 10 hours a day practicing. This is huge for gamers like myself who have limited time to invest into playing games, so the fact that B4’s multiplayer mode can also be enjoyed by noobs and casual gamers alike is a major plus.
Battlefield 4 is the first entry from the franchise to grace the next-gen consoles, but it surely won’t be the last. For a port the game actually looks pretty solid on the Xbox One, and is a definite improvement over the 360 version. The single player campaign is completely forgettable, but still provides a semi-entertaining way to practice the game’s controls and nuances before you start investing hundreds of hours into the multiplayer modes. Speaking of which, they return in full in Battlefield 4, and now that 64-player matches are a reality the multiplayer fun quotient for this title on consoles is extremely high. If you have to choose between COD: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 to play on your next-gen console, you should definitely go for Battlefield 4 if you like a deeper and more authentic war game experience.
Review Statement: The author of this review purchased their own copy of Battlefield 4 for the Xbox One for the purposes of this review.[#ff entbuddha] “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!” [ratings]