Gamescom 2013: Hands on with Battlefield 4 on PlayStation 4
I’m currently a bit of an oddity in the gaming world as I’m a huge first person shooter fan and yet I simply can’t get into Battlefield 3. I’ve tried it on both consoles and the PC and the PC version is by far the most engaging; yet it’s still not what I’d call fun.
So it was with a fair bit of trepidation that I arrived for my hands on with Battlefield 4 at EA. We were led into a room with 16 or so screens all playing Battlefield on the PlayStation 4. The rep specifically stated that it wasn’t a PS4 controller running through a PC but rather that in the boxes behind were PS4 dev kits. So we’ll take their word for it.
We were given a brief rundown of how Battlefield 4 is running on the Frostbite 3 engine and that levolution is the future of the world…really that word kills me. Because it’s lacist.
But levolution does actually sound incredible. It’s not only the fact that maps can be destroyed and buildings taken down; no it actually goes a lot further than that.
Imagine running into a building and taking the elevator up to the 10th floor, then when you get there you turn around and blow up the power box taking out all the power to the building. Obviously the lights go out but the elevator is also now out of commission. It won’t work again for the map and the key here is that it is user-driven not triggered. So it won’t happen every time, in fact none of the levolution moments have to happen at all or you could trigger them all.
It’s totally up to you as players to control how the maps react.
Another new addition, or re-addition, to Battlefield 4 is the return of the highly requested commander mode. In commander mode you get to act as a general in the field with a top down view of the entire battlefield where you can help your soldiers by placing markers, dropping support packages or even calling in air support.
Commander mode is not something you switch to but rather it’s an experience you play the entire game in. What’s even more incredible is that you can actually play the entire commander mode on your iPad while your friend is playing in normal FPS mode.
Battle Pick Ups
The last new addition we were told about is Battle Pick Ups, for the first time (that I’m aware) the game will contain special powerful weapons with limited ammo in certain spots on the map. These special weapons can be picked up by anyone but once the ammo is out you are going to have to discard it as that’s all you get.
This will make for new choke points as teams battle to get the upper hand with superior firepower.
But What About The Gameplay?
So after the brief intro we were given time to dive into Battlefield 4 ourselves and the map we played was a simple infantry map with no boats or vehicles. We played the standard Battlefield mode of holding the flags to deplete your opponents tickets and the difference in gameplay was noticeable the second the game kicked off.
No longer are the graphics being falsely enhanced with an overdose of blur and shudders but rather the game is crisp and clear. Your movements are much smoother and the entire experience is just a great all round improvement.
The standard gameplay is still the same with destruction still being a key element but this time it just feels a lot more natural and improved and now with levolution there are a ton of new ideas that you can play with.
For instance in the map we played there were containers in a certain spot near the middle of the map with both doors open. But now you can close the one set of doors to ensure you don’t get sniped in the back while holding the line at the front. But beware as other players can open the back doors, or even worse they can throw a grenade in the front and then close the front doors making a death box. Oh,..and there’s a killcam now, so you can see who shot you in the face.
Much has been said about the PS4 graphics in Battlefield 4 being disappointing but I didn’t have that experience. I found them to be a huge improvement over the PS3 graphics and while everything can always be improved I don’t think gamers are going to be disappointed.
Last but definitely not least the PlayStation 4 controller is a huge leaping improvement over the current PS3 controller. I have made a lot of noise about my hatred for the DualShock 3 and when chatting to fellow journalists at Gamescom it became abundantly clear that I am not in the minority. Thankfully Sony has rectified that and the new controller is now easily as good as the Xbox One controller, if not better.
I’ll need a lot more time on both consoles before I can pick a winner and that says all you need to know really. They are both fantastic.
I can’t wait for the PS4 to release and Battlefield 4 will be one of the first titles I will be grabbing for it. I can’t wait to enter the Battlefield again. With TitanFall and Battlefield 4 in their stable EA Games is set for an incredible start to the next generation.
Oh one more thing… Battlefield 4 will allow for 64 player on next generation consoles – and it will still run at 60 fps.