This review was written before the most recent Battlefield 4 PS4 patch, however, all the issues still exist and we feel the review is applicable to the current state of Battlefield 4.
Twinfinite is a small site driven by passionate writers that aspire to bring great content to the internet. In fact, we are so passionate that when publishers don’t send us review copies of games, in most cases someone on the staff will buy it and review it. Regrettably, that is the case with Battlefield 4 and I. I bought Battlefield 4 the night the PlayStation 4 was released so that I could review it, and as of right now the game is unplayable. A patch has been promised from EA, but that doesn’t help people like myself, who have already purchased a brick. We talked briefly amongst the staff about what the Battlefield 4 review should be, if I should wait for the patch to review, or review as is. Unanimously the decision was if it is being sold, it can be reviewed. My reasoning behind this little anecdote is to iterate my frustration with a publisher shipping something that I can only eloquently articulate as garbage. This review is of an incomplete, broken game and that is unfortunate.
My Battlefield 4 issues started in, but were not isolated to, the campaign. Several different times my game crashed to the already infamous PlayStation 4 blue error screen. No big deal, right? Just restart the game and continue shooting baddies on your quest to stop China from invading America. Wrong. Two of the three times I encountered the crash screen on PS4 my data was corrupted. As of right now I have played through the first few missions of Battlefield 4 three times, and I more than likely will not return to the game due to these technical issues, but I can give you an opinion on what I have played so far.
Battlefield 4 follows special operations squad Tombstone as they try to stop a looming war between the United States and China. Dice has painstakingly built an momentous mirror of the real world, but have filled it with a narrative that isn’t a tenth as impressive. Imagine Adam West’s Batman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, and that accurately sums up my current feelings on the Battlefield 4 narrative. Recker, the silent protagonist you control, is surrounded by incomprehensibly, poorly written characters. For example, Irish, a character played by the brilliant Michael K. Williams, is supposed to be the empathetic member of the team, but he just comes off as a whiner and plain ol’ annoying. At one point in the game after a fellow squad-mate is maimed by a fallen building he says, “he’s the bossman damn right he is going to be okay.” The scene is meant to be dramatic, but I laughed at the horrendous dialogue.
The game also repeatedly tries to annotate on the evils of war. The attempts fall flat, however, and in my experience came seemingly out of nowhere. Imagine just coming out of a fire fight, some NPC commenting on the evils of war, then going back to a fire fight. Hopefully, the game capitalizes on these annotations, but what I played of it felt hollow.
What Battlefield 4 excels at is wide-open arenas that combines vehicular and on-foot combat, and out of the three missions I was able to complete none of them took advantage of this. Instead, I ran from corridor to corridor aiming down the sights shooting at enemies coming from spawn closets, until I got to the next spectacle filled scene. One mission takes advantage of Battlefield 4’s strengths, nonetheless, it was the mission that consistently crashed.
Frostbite 3 is an incredible engine; everything is detailed and destructible. Down to the threads in Recker’s gloves, everything looks exceptional. The Levolution system in Battlefield 4 is unparalleled in it’s destructibility, but indestructible dead ends are littered across certain paths in the campaign that spoil some of Levolution’s gravitas. The game also failed in letting me create my own destruction. Most missions were centered around a crafted set-piece, instead of dynamic destruction that players had agency over.
As a console gamer I tire of hearing PC gamers constantly talk about how superior Battlefield 4 is on their platform of choice. The next-gen version of this game was supposed to be my redemption. Finally a chance to see Battlefield running at 60 fps, and a complete 32 vs 32 conquest mode. However, like the campaign portion of the game, online is riddled with bugs. Most of the game modes like rush and domination work, and you can get into a match, although nine times out of ten the game will crash. Conquest is suffering the most from this; servers are unstable, audio drops out in the middle of a match, most matches lag so much they are unplayable, and it crashes more often than the other online modes.It is all very frustrating that the marquee game mode Dice has been touting since the games announcement for next-gen consoles does not work.
Battlefield 4 is a game with so much potential that is unfortunately suffering from instability, and the only emotion besides anger I can take away from my time with it is buyer’s remorse.
[-Battlefield 4 is broken and EA should be ashamed for releasing it]