bf 4

The destruction is incredible

The Frostbite 3 game engine takes the destruction of the environment to a new level. When a tank punches through a wall, it looks more realistic. You can fire a tank gun at a concrete structure and make it collapse on top of the enemy. That kind of advanced graphics and physics technology enhances the gameplay by giving you new options as a player. It isn’t just eye candy. It’s an integral part of the game. You’ll see outstanding examples of the Frostbite 3 engine in action, including a warship splitting in half, a building collapsing, and a dam bursting.

DICE has been selling this feature in its pitch to gamers since the debut of Battlefield: Bad Company in 2008 with the original Frostbite engine. But when things break apart now, they don’t look as blocky and fake. Walls crumble much more realistically. The U.S.S. Valkyrie, an assault aircraft carrier, becomes a major battleground for Tombstone as the ship is ripped to shreds via combat with the Chinese. The mission in Shanghai atop a glass skyscraper becomes a cacophony of shattered glass as Tombstone fights to rescue a politician who opposes Admiral Chang.

Frostbite fantastically models rain and wind effects in a scene where Tombstone assaults an airfield in an attempt to ground the Chinese air force. Tombstone is captured and has to break out of a prison. In one scene where they’re trying to escape, you have to shoot at lights or shadows in order to take down the enemy troops. That’s just one more example of cool lighting and shadowing that adds to the overall experience.

Battlefield 4's cool environments

Above: Battlefield 4’s cool environments.

Image Credit: EA

New ways to play multiplayer 

In multiplayer, you can play as the Americans, Chinese, or Russians. Battlefield 4’s big advantage is that you can participate in large brawls compared to Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer. As many as 64 combatants can fight at once. And Battlefield 4 brings back the Commander Mode of Battlefield 2142, where you can be the commander on the battlefield telling your troops where to attack and dispatching resources to them such as air drops. The commander can order missile strikes on certain parts of the arena.

The multiplayer maps also feature dynamic events that change the nature of the battlefield, such as a skyscraper that collapses in the middle of a match. That collapse kicks up a bunch of dust and denies snipers their easy perches. The map goal at the top of the skyscraper becomes much more accessible for attackers. You can also engage in distracting tactics such as firing a fire extinguisher into a room, cutting power, or setting off  car alarm when you walk by it.

In direct melee fights, you can counter attack to defend yourself in close combat. You can also dive underwater to avoid detection by enemies, and you can shoot with a sidearm while swimming.

Multiplayer also features modes that should cater to the Call of Duty crowd: Domination, where you try to hold three flags on a map. There are a couple of other modes that give you more ways to fight such as Defuse, where you have to defuse a bomb or set it off.

When you play Battlefield 4 multiplayer on next-generation consoles, the experience is awesome because — when you can log in properly — the graphics look great and the action unfolds at high speed. You don’t have a trade-off anymore between speed and graphics. You can hide in the shadows of a map and ambush someone in the light. You can use a fire or smoke screen to hide your movements from enemies. Those kinds of tactics are only possible with outstanding graphics.

Battlefield 4 rain scenery will disorient you.

Above: Battlefield 4 rain scenery will disorient you.

Image Credit: EA

Cool graphics that will shine on both the PC and next-generation machines

There are plenty of points in the game where you’ll stop and say, “Wow.” It amazes to me how much intricacy is involved in bringing images of destruction to us in our video games. The sounds of bullets whizzing by and seeing puffs of dirt and dust pop up to obscure your vision is a common experience in Battlefield 4. And it adds to the immersion and realism, making you feel like what it might be like to be in a real battle. In this respect, Battlefield 4 has raced ahead of other combat simulations in delivering realistic 3D graphics with all of the accompany physics and sounds that make it more visceral.

With Battlefield, a gaming PC has always been the best way to play with the most outstanding graphics. But I loved the experience of the game on both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. These consoles deliver a great experience. Usually, multiplayer graphics are unacceptably bad compared to the single-player campaign. In this case, I had no complaints about the graphics on the next-generation consoles in multiplayer combat.

It’s about making difficult choices

The story will likely surprise you in the end. But there’s one thing consistent about the way the tale unfolds. You discover new things about yourself and the characters in your squad based on the tough choices that they make. The unit is held together not just by discipline but by their faith in their comrades and their ability to trust — or not trust — fellow soldiers. The plot of the story takes twists and turns. The best thing I can say about it is that it isn’t as hands-down ridiculous as the plot of Call of Duty: Ghosts. But the consistent theme that recurs during different parts of the plot is whether you’re going to make the right choice under pressure and either save or doom your comrades in arms.