Battlefield 4 First Impressions Preview, With 17-Minute Gameplay Video
Written Wednesday, March 27, 2013 By Lee BradleyView author's profile
EA and DICE have just unveiled Battlefield 4 in San Francisco and we were right there in the auditorium having our ears blown up by the demo's insane volume levels.
You can watch the entire gameplay demo for yourself below, as EA has released the whole thing for you to dribble over, but it's worth covering the stuff you didn't see too. Specifically: Executive Producer Patrick Bach and EA Games vice-president Patrick Soderlund's presentation.
While Soderlund's focus was on bigging up EA's Frostbite 3 engine, saying that the tech is helping Battlefield 4 usher in a “new era of interactive entertainment” and that there is now “nothing holding us back,” it was Bach's talk that was perhaps most interesting.
The executive producer revealed DICE's goal in creating Battlefield 4 was to make the game more human, dramatic and believable.
To that end you'll see in the demo that efforts have been made to develop the game's characters more fully, there are tense moments like the leg cutting scene to ramp up the drama and... well, we're not sure which part of the demo was supposed to communicate believability. The bit where the building collapses underneath the protagonist and he escapes unscathed, perhaps?
Which brings us to one of our issues with what they've shown of Battlefield 4 so far. Why on Earth is EA attempting to sell the game based on its storytelling and relation to reality?
Battlefield 4 is one of the most beautiful games we've ever seen, with lighting and particle effects that'll melt your eyeballs. The explosions, the fire, the foliage and the destruction look insanely good. This is a very, very pretty game. But instead EA is talking up Battlefield 4 like it's deep, like it's art.
Let's not kid ourselves, Battlefield 4 promises to be - temporarily at least - the most gorgeous, powerful and technically advanced shooter in the history of the medium. What it doesn't look like is device for proper storytelling. Why doesn't EA just say, “Dudes, in Battlefield 4 you'll be able to blow the shit out of everything is the most fun way ever! Seriously, we're taking stuff going boom to the next level.” It'd feel far more convincing.
How EA talks up the game is probably irrelevant, however. What really matters is how it plays. And that's another issue. While it's obviously pretty, Battlefield 4 doesn't look like it's bringing anything new, gameplay-wise. The destruction on show is impressive, and may offer up a few inventive gameplay possibilities, but other than a significantly ramped up sense of spectacle, Battlefield 4 looks like business as usual.
Beyond that, there's also the matter of what EA didn't say. Despite expectations that Battlefield 4 would be announced for next-gen consoles, there was no mention of platforms whatsoever during the game's reveal. Not even a hint.
The demo we were shown (the one you can see below) was obviously running on a beefy PC, so we can only presume that EA is holding back for the announcement of Microsoft's next Xbox. But like we said, that's nothing more than presumption. Time will tell.
There was also no mention of multiplayer, beyond some references to the way that single-player is borrowing mechanics like squad commands. We'd love to see more of that too. It is, after all, the series' main draw for most players.
There's a long way to go before Battlefield 4 releases later this year and we'll no doubt learn a lot more about it in the lead-up to release. Truly, it doesn't get much bigger than this, both in terms of popularity and scope. This is a huge game.
However, we'll need a little longer to discern whether Battlefield 4 has more to offer than just a pretty face.