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Customer Review

25 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Battlefield 4, A Skill-Free Zone, 17 Nov. 2013
By 
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Battlefield 4 (PC DVD) - Limited Edition (DVD-ROM)
I bought Battlefield 4 on a last minute whim, as I didn't want to miss out on the first expansion, and I've regretted it ever since. I've played most of the Battlefield games since BF1942 but I've never experienced anything like the problems I've had with this one, which many other people have also experienced. Yes there have always been bugs and issues here and there at launch on previous titles but this one has been pretty much unplayable and still is even after the first patch.

First and foremost of the problems is the frequent crashing that is well known about. For me it crashes after about half an hour of play and then every few minutes if I try to reconnect. There is also a persistent problem with the audio feed, which causes most of the audio to go missing apart from very close range sounds. Neither of these problems have been fixed by the first patch.

I could almost put up with these technical problems if the gameplay was good but there are so many problems with the gameplay as well, some old and some new, that really destroy it. The one that seems to have got a lot worse on BF4 compared to it's predecessor is that far more games are now totally one sided and dominated by a group of hardcore gamers who stay on one team for game after game. On these games no matter how well you play you basically have no chance to compete because there are constantly choppers,tanks and boats roaming around every control point shooting at you almost as soon as you spawn. This has been a problem since they introduced the continuous profile, as groups of players and clan members just want to build up their stats and not have a good and fair game but DICE (the developers) have never done anything to deal with it, and now it has got ridiculously bad. To me a simple solution would be to just balance the teams based on player rank but DICE don't seem interested in dealing with the problem at all.

Another big problem that's far worse than BF3 is spawnkilling. It was a problem at the start in BF3 but they introduced spawnprotect which seemed to largely solve it, however there doesn't seem to be any spawn-protect in BF4. On top of that it seems that you physically spawn a split second before you can actually move or see what's going on, so it's actually like a reverse spawn-protect effect. The enemy seems able to see you before you can see them and many times I've been killed before even being able to move. On many games being spawnkilled accounted for more than half of my deaths, which is pretty ridiculous.

As well as these problems there are still quite a few other technical problems that are interfering with gameplay. Hit detection is still not quite right and since the patch I keep getting a distracting blur effect over the screen quite frequently, which I assume is something to do with network smoothing.

As for the single player campaign, it's a very short, very silly(story-wise) and not very challenging. The BF3 campaign was actually quite a lot better in my opinion, it at least had some decent believable characters and dialogue whereas the BF4 campaign seems like it was made for children.

Good points about the game are the graphics, which are very good and generally run very smoothly for me on my mid range graphics card on high settings. The game physics have also been upgraded and give more realism to collapsing buildings and water effects - especially the giant waves on Paracel Storm, which are amazing. The map designs generally seem quite good to me, despite the criticism they've received. It seems that they've basically designed a new version of the most popular BF3 maps and added some new types like Siege of Shanghai, that have added height as a new dimension. However all the hopping about on skyscrapers does seem a bit too much like a platform game to me.

It's a pity DICE did not put the same thought and effort into the gameplay and technical side as they've evidently have put into the graphics and physics, if they had this would probably have been a top game from launch. As it is, it's a very flawed and pretty much broken game. Maybe future patches will fix the many problems but I'll not be wasting my time with it until they do.

Update:15/2/14
I decided to give Battlefield 4 another go over this past few weeks knowing that most of the bugs have been fixed and so on, and also to see if my original assessment of the game was too critical.

Most of the bugs have indeed been fixed so I was at least able to have some constant game time without interruption and gauge how the gameplay compares to battlefield 3, as I've been playing that instead this past couple of months. Overall I still think Battlefield 4 is a much inferior to Battlefield 3 in terms of gameplay, though quite a lot better in terms of graphics, but to me the former is far more important.

I will say that I no longer think battles are more one sided in BF4, compared to BF3. I think I got that impression because the Battlelog service wasn't displaying the battle info for each server for some time after launch, so I was often joining battles that were well advanced and quite one sided.

The main reason I still think BF4 is inferior to BF3 is that the gunplay is much less sophisticated and Battles are much less tactical. In BF4 you just basically have to point and hold the trigger to kill at short to medium ranges, with pretty much every gun, however if you do the same in BF3 you'll likely miss most of your targets because your gun will end up pointing at the sky. In BF3 each gun has to be mastered by judging how long you can hold the trigger and still fire accurately, over short, medium and long ranges. When you do master a gun, particularly assault rifles, you can genuinely become lethal at all three ranges but not in BF4. In BF4 assault rifles are now pretty much useless at longer ranges as they are so inaccurate - unless you want to fire single shots, which is very unlikely to get kills. On there other hand, pretty much every automatic gun is lethal at short and medium range, which effectively means all combat boils down who sees who first or who has the more powerful gun.

The other part of gameplay that I think is inferior is the tactical element, as combat in BF4 is generally far more random than BF3. In BF3 I generally always have a good idea where to go to encounter enemies and there are plenty of larger battles involving 10 or more players. However in BF4 (in the bigger maps) far more of the combat involves just a few players and its far more sporadic and piecemeal. Players are usually much more spread out across the map, so you never know when you're going to encounter enemies. The Battles don't have the same team-game feel to them as BF3, they just feel like a load of players running around a big map haphazardly encountering each other.

Much of the criticism I've read about BF4 has been about how it has become more of an arcade shooter, similar to Call of Duty, which initially I wasn't sure about but I now think is true. The game has been dumbed down a lot compared to BF3, which basically means any inexperienced player can buy the game, start playing and get plenty of kills. Plenty will think that's a good thing as BF3 can be a particularly punishing game for new players, since they cannot compete with the skill level of experienced players. However to me that's what makes a good game, you may be rubbish when you start playing but you can advance your skill level and start to dominate weaker opponents. I want to be able to master gunplay like I did in BF3 but BF4 simply doesn't allow me to do that, so I don't think it will have any lasting appeal for me like BF3 has had. I have given it an extra star because it is at least a largely bug-free game now, and the graphics are noticeably better than BF3, especially the lighting.
-That said, the maps are still very "sticky", in the sense that you seem to get caught on the tiniest obstructions constantly, particularly debris of various kinds. Also jumping over broken walls and the like is still very frustrating as it usually take two or three attempts to get over - even completely destroyed walls. So the game is still not as bug-free as it could be.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Nov 2013 22:15:26 GMT
Shelton says:
Totally agree, also sick of the constant promoting of the DLC when they clearly haven't got the actual game working, also notice that the console owners are also bitterly complaining of problems, yet neither DICE or EA seem overly bothered, I pre-ordered this like yourself for the china rising DLC inc. in the price, shalt make that mistake again with an EA game

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2013 08:14:49 GMT
D-Grey-Man says:
I completely agree with you, I have given up on the game now, its just a waste of my time this game, I can't wait for TitanFall now, it can't come soon enough for me :D.

Posted on 16 Dec 2013 21:04:45 GMT
T. J. Patton says:
Has this the same spyware associated as with BF3?

Posted on 20 Feb 2014 14:33:56 GMT
josh says:
Mate you should start a blog for your reviews. Do not usually read them but talk about SPOT ON and it's not just because we are from the same country.
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