The Battlefield series is known for being centered around player choice. With diverse upgrades and gadgets that can be altered to fit a particular play-style, the game frees you up to play in a way that allows for personal style. This coupled with the awesome vehicles create a destructive and fun experience that is Battlefield. EA Dice’s Battlefield 4 continues with the tradition of personalised play along with the inclusion of vehicles that people had expected out of the Battlefield franchise.
A rather unfortunate stigma that First Person Shooter games are known for is the lackluster single-player campaign. This is a connotation that Battlefield 4 tries to combat with somewhat debatable success. It seems as if the characters in your squad were each given a distinct personality that gives noticeable distinction between squad members. While the effort to make each character unique is appreciated, the execution could have used more time and detail. Pretty much every character seems to fit firmly into a broad stereotype without being given an opportunity to branch out. The simplicity of the characters is actually highlighted by the game, placing you into scenarios that attempt to create a connection between you and them. This feels a bit too forced, almost as if the developers knew the characters were not too interesting on their own and had to create a reason for you to connect with them. Yet even with the simple characters, the game does put much more focus on the single-player campaign. The scenarios presented to you are interesting and exciting to play out, and while the characters are too simple it does seem that some attention was put into them.
What most people look for in a First Person Shooter is the multiplayer section of the game. In this aspect Battlefield 4 does not disappoint. There is the standard variety of weapons which will determine your basic play-style. On top of this, the game allows you to pick upgrades and gadgets. These are seemingly minor compared to the weapons you choose, but they still help to further customization. While all these inclusions do make it fun to develop your character, most feel now feel unoriginal. Even if the options given were once a unique and novel addition, the system failed to evolve as the genre continued to improve. What resulted is a way of customization which ultimately feels unoriginal and simply a continuation of what was already done without significant improvement.
A unique distinction between two modes of play is with or without vehicles. The vehicles make you feel invincible. The games become more about who can be the biggest force of destruction possible. In contrast, game modes that have no vehicles are much more strategic. You have to communicate with your teammates in order to succeed, often creating a plan and setting up designated positions. There will inevitably be a leader who takes charge and creates a plan for everyone else to execute. With that, you now have the choice of following orders, proposing a better one and taking the place of leaders or going rogue in a way that you believe will benefit the team. Each course of action has the potential to benefit or hinder your team’s odds of winning. This makes games a lot more dynamic and exciting as a result. It creates different types of fun depending on how the game carries out. The game could consist of two teams who both follow their leader’s orders, where the team with the better plan wins. Or it could slowly devolve into a shooter fest from one or both sides. Both types of matches provide their own breed of fun, and learning to adapt to unfavourable situations will keep you on your toes.
A fun mechanic included in Battlefield 4 is the environmental effects. While having destructible environments are nothing new, there are larger and some more subtle changes which drastically affects play. You can take down buildings which provide too much cover for enemies, or even start a flood which blocks most methods of travel. The subtler changes can come from something like a haze from a storm. This makes long distance sniping significantly harder, making close quartered combat more favourable. The environmental changes will force you and your team to adapt as a group and change up your tactics on the fly. This eliminates the same strategy mentality people have in other First Person Shooter games. You simply can no longer look for the same building to set up the same sniper spot every time, when there is a possibility that someone had blown up that building. It adds to the dynamic play that Battlefield 4 seems to want to create, with the challenge being to adapt to the changes around you.
Battlefield 4 takes steps in a general direction in which the First Person Shooter genre needs to take.
With a higher emphasis on the single-player mode, the game tries to break the convention that First Person Shooter games are only played for the multiplayer. While the execution is not the best, the attempt is appreciated. What the game excels in is its multiplayer component. It allows you to play in a style that you want, with a selection of weapons and items. Then the game thrusts you into situation you would never want with the changing environment. The challenge of the game becomes equally about how to adapt your form of play into new situations, rather than completely being based off previous First Person Shooter games. Battlefield 4 tries to liven up the First Person Shooter genre by adding and improving areas of play. Fans of the genre will appreciate these efforts and the unique game it has created.
• Individualistic style of play
• Changing environments
• Fun varieties in multiplayer
• Mediocre story