Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Battlefield 4 Open Beta Impressions


October 1st was a big day for me in the gaming world.  GTA V launched it's online mode and immediately crashed, Mechwarrior Online updated with the new Crimson Strait map and crashed.  But the other big thing was the launch of the open beta to Battlefield 4 the next instalment in the war against Call of Duty.

So what's in it?  Siege of Shanghai is the only map, complete with crumbling skyscraper.  It's a pretty impressive map to look at, with an impressive skybox and multiple paths to each objective flag.  The levolution aspects aren't really all that noticeable really, but they do add a little bit of fun to the game at least.  Being able to move through buildings using elevators adds a new level of play for snipers on this map.

Vehicles have seen a couple of changes now featuring a new ammo system which takes some getting used to.  No longer can you keep firing in rapid succession, you now have a limited number of rapid shots and now must wait for a bar to refill before you can fire once more.  It's good for balance but I can see some players becoming a little frustrated with the system.

Soldier loadouts work differently now with aggressive and defensive perks to switch between.  They still cover the same perks from the last game so you gain things like suppression resistance, extra ammo and the like it's just now tied to this new setup.

Combat at the moment feels floaty and less accurate compared to BF3.  The game also suffers from regular frame hitches and lag which I will put down to stressed servers from the large number of players accessing the beta.  But it is worrying if the hitching continues considering the open beta these days is practically the final product sans a couple of bugs.

Visually it still looks pretty, although it isn't a huge step up from Battlefield 3.  Soldiers are detailed but it's a shame to see the new Chinese faction being covered from head to toe like the invisible man.  It just felt lazy unlike Battlefield 2 which at least had soldiers with faces.  It's a minor gripe honestly but it does come off as a little lazy.

Probably the most unusual change is the addition of battlepacks which at first look like DLC packs.  They are in fact very similar to Mass Effect 3's weapon and character boxes using in game points acquired through gameplay.  These packs contain a majority of upgrades and camo patterns for guns.  Soldier camo's are also locked behind these packs, so I guess it gives you an incentive to continue playing to unlock the items for each class and weapon.

There is still a lot to be seen of Battlefield 4 yet and it is shaping up from the beta to be another major hit for EA and DICE.  All they need to do is fix the floaty nature of movement and accuracy of the weapons and the game will be fine.

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