Traditionally it has never done as well as its rival Call of Duty but inclusion of large-scale destruction promised to shift the dial and truly immerse the players into the gaming experience.
The campaign follows a standard saving-the-world storyline with the main character, Sergeant Recker and his tombstone squad doing everything they can to prevent war between the US, Russia and China. While it feels more open than the linear BF3’s campaign, the story is still relatively shallow and falls short of other story driven shooters like Spec Ops: The Line.
The level design in the campaign, as it is in the multiplayer, is incredible. The large-scale destruction of structures is incredibly immersive and for example, falling out a building as it comes crashing down around you, is one of the highlights of the game. Unfortunately, the campaign is incredibly short at just over four hours and doesn’t give enough time to connect emotionally to the story or characters.
Most players will spend the majority of their time in multiplayer and it doesn’t disappoint. Once again, players engage in large-scale battles using a multitude of vehicles like tanks, aircrafts and boats to dominate an opposing team. Traditional modes of Conquest, Rush and Domination are joined by newer modes, Obliteration and Defuse (all largely self-explanatory) and traditional modes like Team Squad deathmatch. The Commander mode also makes a return and gives a single player the ability to order weapon drops and missile strikes as their team requires.
BF4 still has four classes (assault, engineer, support, recon) though some of their class abilities have been changed to, hopefully, give the game a better balance. While the game offers loads of customisation of weapons and gear, it is well balanced enough to ensure players that are new to the title won’t struggle too much.
All the maps are beautifully designed and as mentioned before, the large-scale destruction or “levolution” plays a big role in-game strategy – from making new entrances to buildings by destroying walls or raising barriers to block vehicles, all the way to tearing down massive structures like skyscrapers and dams to change the layout and location of control points. The destruction is awe-inspiring and brings a new level of immersion to the genre. BF4 has some of the best multiplayer combat maps I’ve ever played.
Unfortunately, the graphics on the Xbox 360 had frequent frame-rate issues and low-resolution textures. Positive reviews of the hardware performance on the Xbox One implies that the game seems to have been designed for the Xbox One and downscaled significantly for the 360.
Overall, the multiplayer is enjoyable enough to invest deeply in this game. Level design is excellent and the combat, particularly on the larger maps, is enjoyably chaotic. It is a worthy successor to the franchise.
The good: The large scale destruction of the environment a.k.a “levolution” is jaw dropping; massive multiplayer maps; huge customisation of weapons; new vehicles’; minor difference to class abilities bring better balance to the game.
The bad: Short campaign; graphics are not up to scratch on the 360.
Time to completion: 4 hours (campaign)