Returning from four years of absence, I still love Battlefield 4 as I did before
I first played Battlefield 3 (BF3) on my old PS3, which my uncle sent as a gift from the USA. It was my first BF ever, and I immediately got hooked on the franchise. Right after finishing the campaign, I booted up Battlefield 4 (BF4) and played multiplayer daily for three months straight in the summer of 2017 before returning to school. Then I forgot about it, and also my PS3 got fried due to a lightning strike, so I didn't have the chance to play again.
Four years later, I finally got my hands on the Steam version and relived the experience in all of its glory. Let’s address the big elephant in the room: is Battlefield 4 still as good as I remember, or perhaps my nostalgia has clouded my thinking?
Single-player campaign: Mediocre at best
While the campaign isn't the worst thing ever, it’s nowhere as great as the rest of the game, and particularly the previous campaign of BF3. The action and gameplay are entertaining; however, the story leaves much to be desired. Involved characters are bland, forgettable and ruined even more by the dummy and useless AIs that always yell at Sgt. Daniel Recker - the main protagonist, every five minutes to do something despite him being their squad leader. Definitely not worth getting this title just for singleplayer alone.
Multiplayer, do people still play in 2021?!
Yes, and with good reason. Multiplayer experience is where BF4 really shines and there are numerous active servers filled with players in 2021, even in Asia. Plenty of different game modes to spice things up, with iconic ones like Conquest, Domination, Team Deathmatch, and Rush. In addition, there are a total of 33 distinguished and beautiful maps, including the DLCs.
Conquest mode is by far the most sought after experience in almost every available server. In this game mode, there are two opposing factions, each team has a fixed amount of tickets, and one match usually lasts about an hour or less. In order to achieve victory, your team must drain the enemy team’s tickets by killing them and capturing their objective sections. You can technically run around fragging enemies or camping in one spot the entire match and be on the highest rank in the leaderboard, but still lose because teamwork is required to dominate the battlefield, thanks to its soldier's classes, designed to compliment each other.
Assault: Frontline soldiers armed with assault rifles, several types of grenade launchers, and also filling the role of a medic - healing and reviving other down teammates.
Engineer: Their role is always required in any game mode with vehicles thanks to the exclusive handy repair tool and an arsenal of powerful anti-vehicle launchers.
Support: Proving suppression fire with their high ammo capacity light machine gun and, most importantly, resupplying ammo to his teammates. He also has a few support-exclusive toys that are fun to use like the mortar, claymore, C4 and even a big shield.
Recon: Features bolt-action sniper rifles, respawn beacon, observation tools to locate the enemies and a flying drone to harass and interrupt their position.
You can also form a squad with other players on your team to focus on different objectives, and cooperating with them also gives bonus benefits for each squadmate’s field upgrade perks. Therefore, it’s always encouraged to work with your squad instead of playing solo. My personal loadout is Engineer armed with ACW-R carbine, RPG and the repair tool, hopping in a tank, playing the objective, hopping out to repair while my tank mate covers me or vice versa if they are running Engineer too.
Levolution - truly is a revolutionary trademark
Have you ever played a game and been disappointed that you can’t damage the buildings when you blow them up with explosives? Not in Battlefield 4! you are given the luxury to do so as almost every wall can be demolished with enough fire-power. Explosive shots from tanks and aircraft will leave dents on the ground, making it harder for vehicles to traverse, but also a hiding spot for infantry. Everything you see in battle, from random bullets to rockets fired missing their targets are all real, coming from actual players.
Each map has its primary levolution feature. for example in the Siege of Shanghai, after damaging the four main pillars of a skyscraper, it can collapse, resulting in a change of its surrounding environment, making it easier to capture its objective with the cost of a good defensive position.
The battlefield is full of vehicles and weapons for you
Gunplay is easy to learn but hard to master, and there are a considerable amount of guns. Each weapon is unique with its own damage, fire rate, recoil, firing sound, so it’s always exciting to test, customize the guns and find out which one suits you the most. The best guns are the ones that you enjoy using and make a comeback from a losing battle with. Rocket launchers have different velocities, some require you to aim manually while others are locked on target, but the enemy will be warned of it, so mastering that RPG shot to blow up an unexpected helicopter is one of the most satisfying feelings in the game.
Be not afraid of helicopters! Keep calm and blow them up to pieces 💥
There are many solutions to deal with aircraft, the easy methods are using Lock-on launchers like Stinger, but the enemies will know its coming since there's a warning beep. The harder but more satisfying execution is to blow them up with RPG. That feeling when your aiming pays out is amazing!
It's not just guns you have to play with; there are lots of vehicles including anti-air and anti-infantry ground vehicles, and even jet aircraft. These machines complement each other well, just like the soldier classes.
Atmospheric sound design to make you feel like you are in a chaotic battlefield
Sound design is underrated in Battlefield 4. Without all the voice lines from soldiers, it wouldn’t be as much fun and “realistic” as it intends to be - an action arcade FPS. The most common dialogues are when your teammate is down, the soldier will actually yell about it like “We got a man down here”. Or when being fired upon and unable to move around, they will yell “I’m being suppressed over here”. Other audio queues like footsteps and water splashing are very clear, so you might want to pay attention to your surroundings before your opponents can sneak up on you.
Counter knife-attack, you either love it or hate it 🔪
Melee executing enemies is just as easy as running up to them and press F on PC. Your opponent will have a less-than-one-second window to counter it. Only works for front attack, any other angles like sideways or the back they won't have a chance to retaliate. It's not always consistent and sometimes buggy, which can lead to both models stuck in the animation, and only god knows who would win the brawl 🤣
Yes, I have horrible aim.
Battlefield 4 performs well on my medium rig: Intel I5-10400F at 60°C, 16GB of RAM, GTX 1650 SUPER 4GB at 76°C, with Windows 11 OS. Everything runs smoothly at ultra settings with consistent 60FPS.
There’s this weird bug I encountered when joining a server, sometimes the screen just fades the interface away, leaving only the background, and stays like that indefinitely. Opening Steam Overlay doesn’t work so I have to close it from Task Manager; other than that, everything works fine.
For Asian players out there, I got you covered
I’ll admit it, at first, I couldn’t find any playable servers in Asia, so I gave up and sent a refund request. Understandably, it was refused since I already had eight hours of playing the campaign so I told myself I need to be more patient and it eventually did pay off. I found about five to ten playable servers being played daily with a player count that hits maximum around GMT+7 after 9 PM. However, they are mostly conquest servers with some team deathmatch and rush, but it's better than none.
Final rating: 8/10, an excellent title for any FPS lover
If you are looking for an arcade, action-thrilling, modern FPS with an active player base, Battlefield 4 is definitely worth a shot. Get it on sale, and you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you for reading my review!
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