The biggest focus of this year’s E3 was the battle between the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. With all of the focus on the upcoming console wars one could almost forget the other epic struggle that unfolds on an almost yearly basis: the war between Call of Duty and Battlefield, both of which have entries at the end of this year.
In contrast to Activision’s Call of Duty, EA had Battlefield 4 playable on the E3 show floor. In fact, they had a giant stand, allowing up to 64 people to play the game at once. Imagine a giant display, in front of EA’s stand, with nothing but high-end PCs for as far as you can see.
With such an impressive display, I could not resist giving the game a go. Battlefield 4 did not disappoint. The game itself looks absolutely beautiful. The textures and level of detail poured into the game are astounding. Be it the large downtown area, or a bridge towering over a flowing river, the game is one of the best looking products on the market.
As you can see from the screenshot above, the game looks spectacular. Playing the game itself makes you feel totally immersed within the battle. As gunfights break out the city will fill with smoke and debris. By the end of your match the level will look... well, like a total warzone.
Battlefield 4 has itself an improved HUD system that more clearly marks where troops, both friend and foe, are located. Some of these indications are provided by the person playing as the “Commander.” EA staff were the only people who got to play as the Commander, so details on this mode is a bit sketchy at present.
With this in mind, Commander mode is a feature returning from the PC only version of Battlefield 2. This mode offers the gamer a top-down perspective view of the map and provides a lot of strategic opportunities. The Commander cannot force actions onto the other players, but he can set up meeting points, call-in support, and provide verbal instructions.
The game mode I played revolved around capturing a series of points while engaging the other team. The objective quickly became the last thing on our minds as we were engaged in a set of fierce firefights. The ability for a skilled Commander to turn the tide of the battle was made very obvious during the game’s demo. We quickly took down an enemy tank, and even managed to flank the other team. However, the enemy Commander noticed our presence and sent out a team to counter-flank our entire team. Having a good Commander on your team is essential and can easily turn the tide of any firefight within Battlefield 4.
Almost everything can be destroyed or interacted with in some form. This fact allows for some interesting combat and tactics. As you fight within buildings, and they are destroyed, you will be alerted to the infrastructure’s instability. If a building is damaged too much it will eventually collapse, which can obviously greatly impact a match’s outcome.
Overall Battlefield 4 is one thrill after another. The game looks and plays incredibly well. While it is lacking in new features, the few that it offers promise to be a real game changer. Look for Battlefield 4 when it hits the stores later this year.