Battlefield Hardline BETA has become available for PC and once I was informed, jumped straight onto this.
Unlike everyone else, I hadn't seen anything of the demos or trailers and knew nothing about it other than the name. I do this quite a lot so that I don't raise my expectations and can come at it from a neutral viewpoint with nothing but previous sequels (if applicable) to compare to.
To be perfectly honest, I've somewhat lost interest in the series as Battlefield 4 made it difficult for me. The new maps are incredible and they've done a lot with it, however the levelling system is near impossible for someone of my skill level and it becomes daunting and monotonous not being able to get the gadgets I want for my gun because I'm not the right level and I'm just getting owned by everyone else whose hundreds of levels above me. This, of course, enduces rage and I, for one, am not a pretty sight under a fully initiated rage sequence.
Alas, I digress. Battlefield Hardline is going to get many mixed reviews and I imagine they've accomodated for the fact that they're going to lose a lot of die hard fans and be replaced with a new generation. As harsh as that sounds, it shows in this.
After loading my first game, Heist, my initial thought was, "what have I got myself in for?". Origin have stuck to their guns in using the browser to load the game, let's hope that they've upgraded their servers to be able to cope and used the Battlefield 3 and 4 lessons well. The loading screens lead a false sense of security that not much has changed. Into the game and the graphics are of the same quality and style. You know you're playing the Battlefield franchise. First difference is the deployment page. There's money that you earn for each kill and you use this to buy the weapons. You've still got to level up enough to unlock the weapons and then earn enough to buy it. Almost making you work twice as hard but you'd assume if you've levelled up enough, surely you have enough money by now to buy it. That almost makes the purchases irrelevant. I had wondered if it was going to be like counter strike where you buy your weapons every round but it wasn't. Once you've bought it, you keep it. You don't even have to buy grenade refills.
So the game begins, the FPS is a little laggy but that's to be expected. "Protect the Package". Well, that sounds ominous! So, turns out this is a game of Cops and Robbers. Herein lies the debate of this game. There's going to be a lot of people complaining that there's no tanks and proper war time paraphernalia that we're used to. However, had they kept it, there would've been complaints that they've done nothing but add new maps. What they have done is changed the scenario to perhaps more relatable situations. We see cops and robbers more frequently than tanks and soldiers, right?
However, despite this sudden change in path for the franchise, the game is still only a Beta and they haven't yet released the other game modes which could see, although no tanks, other potentially suitable replacements for different game modes. The campaign might also give a better idea as to what it's all about as the campaigns are made first before the multiplayer. So whatever the campaign is, the multiplayer is based around it (although many seem to forget this).
We have to remember that war games are in limited supply and there's only so many scenarios we can create without making any regional conflicts. The gaming industry is constantly under threat from media and politics and turning down a path of cops and robbers means it is less likely to cause controversy in a world that is run by political bullshit. It's not what we want but it's what we have to deal with.
So in light of this, I ask this of you. Keep an open mind. Wait until full release. The Beta isn't much to go on and although it leaves a lot to be desired, there's potential for a lot more to come of it. Just hang tight. They could pull it out their arse yet!
BATTLEFIELD 4 is the year’s most anticipated multiplayer FPS game on PC and it’s easy to see why.
Like previous titles, it’s initial release build needs patching to remove technical glitches and bugs, but the core gameplay remains solid and a promising sign of the expansive enjoyment to come.
I want to make it clear: the PC version is the one to own. Until the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are both released and have established a solid player-base, there’s no other platform that can host up to 64-players with such stunning visuals and strong local community support.
Additionally, current generation consoles can not be considered the same game, despite the name and presence of maps, because they only cater for a maximum of 24-players at one time.
There is an overwhelming sense that DICE has spent a lot of time refining things, as Battlefield 4 feels punchier than Battlefield 3.
The controls feel tighter, the visuals have more polish, the guns feel well balanced, and the way that levels change during combat thanks to a feature called Levelution adds a fascinating dynamic to a genre that has long endured static maps.
The campaign has been improved in Battlefield 4 and serves as the perfect, if lengthy, tutorial for newcomers.
The features you learn by playing the campaign will help make you a better team player in Battlefield 4′s multiplayer.
There’s a real emphasis on spotting enemies in the single player campaign. Pleasantly, I was then surprised to see nearly everybody using it in multiplayer matches.
I was disappointed to find that the points I earned during the campaign didn’t count towards my multiplayer level. I feel it should, perhaps as an incentive to both play and finish the campaign.
I’ve noticed that some critics feel that DICE shouldn’t bother with the campaign. However, I’d like to say that I feel it’s a great showcase of the game’s new features, and it also serves as a practice arena that allows players to sharpen their skills before heading online.
Furthermore, the visual might of the Frostbite 3 engine deserves the campaign treatment. I’d much rather Battlefield 4 than Bad Company 3 – that’s for sure.
On the matter of visuals, this is simply the most gorgeous game available right now, providing your PC can run the game at High or Ultra.
The water rolls and produces waves as you’d expect in real-life, with light bouncing-off it as you’d expect to see at the beach or out on the ocean. It’s no longer just a flat texture sugarcoated with a few tricks. Rather, it looks like an organic and dynamic object in the game.
Lighting is emphasised and sometimes overdone, but I feel that it’s Battlefield’s style to throw in a few massive light flares here and there. It did so in Battlefield 3 to great effect, and I can appreciate the look and feel that developer DICE is going for.
The numerous Frostbite engines have always been about destruction, but that aspect has often been limited to cover and the odd building so that players don’t entirely destroy whole maps.
As I mentioned previously, to balance expectations with reality, DICE has introduced Levelution, a term to describe game – and map – changing events triggered by player combat.
Want to take out the supporting pillars of a skyscraper? Sure, but watch out because it’ll collapse killing everyone in it or immediately near it. And it’ll also coat the map in a fine layer of white dust.
Or how about a beautiful island setting? Surely nothing can go wrong there with so few buildings, right? Wrong. How about a hurricane mid-game that sends a ship crashing into shore, taking out anyone who gets in its way. And day essentially becomes night, changing the dynamics for players who have to rethink how they play the game with lesser visibility.
I do love Levelution, especially when it alters the gameplay and challenges you to respond with a different play style.
But I still think it’s a stepping stone towards the goal of ultimate destruction. Perhaps we’ll have to wait until both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have become embedded in households before all versions receive the ultimate Frostbite experience that I know the engine is capable of.
Multiplayer is back with a vengeance and in the fittest form I’ve witnessed since Battlefield 2.
Squads with up to five men (or women) and on teams on up to 32 players must work together to achieve objectives – whilst dealing with both the enemy and any Levelution changes.
This time around, DICE has once more acknowledged vehicles as one of the series’ strengths.
As a result, players now have more toys than ever before to drive, fly and ride.
Overall, the game felt well-balanced, and I had greater issues avoiding snipers than I did any particular vehicle. And thanks to the large maps, tanks were especially easy for infantry to avoid.
In terms of presentation, not much has changed between Battlefield 3 and 4.
I still can’t enjoy the browser-based Battlelog despite its glut of information.
Call me old-fashioned, but I like my game to load and feel complete. Using a browser cheapens the experience and makes the game feel more casual than it should.
Fortunately, you only have to use it to launch multiplayer. Once in a match you’ll remain in an in-game lobby if you continue playing that server.
In summary, Battlefield 4 is an FPS gamer’s icing on the moist cake of gaming that has been 2013: make sure you feast on it.
Yes, there are bugs, but none are particularly gamebreaking. Rather, they’re an annoyance that I know will soon disappear thanks to DICE’s determination to deliver an awesome experience to Battlefield fans.
So, if Battlefield 3 was an excellent return to form, then Battlefield 4 is the consolidation of that work plus additional refinement to core gameplay to create what is, without doubt, PC gaming’s best multiplayer FPS right now.
I Give this Game 10/10