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Joystick: ‘Battlefield 4’ improves the battlefield, but not much else

Published 11:03am Thursday, October 31, 2013

“Battlefield 4″

4/5

Rated M: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC

Genre: First-person shooter

—The latest “Battlefield” title has even more exciting multiplayer options.

—Blowing stuff up never felt this satisfying, nor game-changing.

—Bugs, a disappointing campaign and sometimes wonky controls limit this game’s potential.

“Battlefield 4” is one of those games that people will buy regardless of its relative merits or disadvantages. In effect, you buy the game for its multiplayer mode and have fun blowing up buildings, your friends, blowing up buildings with your friends, blowing up your friends with buildings, and so on for hundreds of hours.

To that end, “Battlefield 4” is a wonderful multiplayer experience for people who enjoy destroying their environs with lots of explosives and war machines. There’s a lot of fun to be had in “Battlefield 4’s” online modes, from interesting kills to personal challenges and a seemingly infinite amount of intriguing ways to affect the map’s mission and environment. But like any shooter, there’s a point at which tedium sets in, and that point seems to come all too quickly in the latest game for the “Battlefield” series.

To begin with, the game requires a massive amount of downloading. You have to download the multiplayer option when you buy the game, which can take several minutes.

The campaign mode is unimpressive, save for a few interesting options you have as the leader of a squadron of rough U.S. special operations soldiers on a mission to prevent all-out war between the U.S., Russia and China. Your squadmates are glib and full of cliches, but they’re pretty useful when you order them to engage multiple enemies, which takes the pressure off your character in heavy firefights. The Engage option is handy, if limited by the game’s somewhat-wonky design.

There are still a few bugs in Battlefield thus far, as I’ve seen AI struggle to cross fields while dropping through the map. It was also difficult at times to identify my enemy using heat-seeking thermal goggles, even if they were close to my position and in open air. And it’s not fun to watch a vehicle I am driving get stuck halfway through a wall or the side of a hill. That’s a frustrating feature of “Battlefield 4,” a game in a far-too-popular series to have this many bugs so early in its campaign.

Barring the bugs, the game’s multiplayer mode is expansive, and incredible in scope. You can change much in your environment through gunfire and explosions, similar to real-life scenarios. If you think bringing down a skyscraper will help your cause, you can blow it up, causing it to crash and create a seemingly brand-new map. Up to 64 players in a room can cause a lot of crazy happenings during matches, and the new Obliteration and Defuse modes, which involve lots and lots of explosives, are a joy.

“Battlefield 4” developer DICE knows what it’s doing when it comes to multiplayer, and players should strongly consider buying the game just for that alone. But don’t expect a fulfilling campaign, or even a fully complete game, until the next update fixes a few things.


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