Battlefield 4
E3 2013: Battlefield 4 Multiplayer Hands-On Preview – Shanghai Boom
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Battlefield is back, baby! Well, back to its truly best that is. As much as we loved Battlefield 3 we couldn’t help but feel a bit perturbed by the lack of environmental destruction that we’d fallen in love with in Bad Company 2. You know, like levelling a whole town on the Arica Harbour map during a game of Rush; that kind of stuff never got old. Sure, Battlefield 4 might not be that mental when it comes to destruction… Oh, wait, scrap that. You can bring down a chuffin’ skyscraper. Yeah, it’s slightly more mental.

Forget the crappy buzz words like “levolution” that DICE tried to shove down our throats when it first unveiled the multiplayer at EA’s E3 press conference, because it’s more than just a buzz word. Battlefield’s 4 destruction is a game changer.

Amid the hustle and bustle of E3, amongst the kerfuffle on the show floor we stepped up to go hands-on with 64-player multiplayer madness, set in Shanghai on a map they’re calling Siege of Shanghai. First up, 64 players is finally coming to consoles - well, next-gen consoles that is - so no longer will console players feel like they’re getting less of a game than PC owners. Again, to reiterate, that’s next-gen owners I’m talking about. Combine that with 60 frames per second, and the next-gen Battlefield showing is already infinitely better than that on the ageing current console architecture.

Conquest was the name of the game - you know, Battlefield’s iconic territories style mode - and working as part of a team was as necessary as ever. Like any good Battlefield map, Shanghai is a sprawling map with various different sectors, whether it’s interiors of certain buildings, back alleys, bridges, river banks, wide-open streets, rivers to trek across, a subway to fight through, Shanghai has it all. Then there’s your usual array of vehicles, from tanks, attack choppers and armoured APCs. That’s all you effectively need to create what DICE has coined as “Battlefield moments,” and rightly so.

I’m not going to bore you by saying that “the controls are responsive, tight and there’s the usual fluency about them.” It’s Battlefield, you all know how it controls – like one of the best FPSs on the market. What I will touch upon though is the unpredictability and cause and effect that the new destruction mechanics have on the flow of play. But first, an amusing story.

While 2012 was the year of the bow and arrow, 2013 looks set to be the year of the bollard – yes, the bollard! We’ve all seen how Watch Dogs uses them to change the scope of its combat, but Battlefield uses them in a slightly different way that can cause just as chaotic outcomes.

Rather cleverly, DICE has placed bollards with a control panel on the numerous bridges in Shanghai, which is all well and good if you rock up to a bridge alone. Should you be ambushed when going for the panel – like we did to a pair on unsuspecting tanks – then you know it’s just not your day.

Hiding unwearyingly by a panel that retracts a set of bollards to block access to our half of the map, a small group of our team sat armed with rocket launchers – with our own tank just out of sight – waiting patiently for our chance to get the upper hand in the large scale warfare that shook Shanghai. A minute or two passed, nothing, and this group of people who were unable to communicate – no headsets, see? – or coordinate with one another must have been on the same wavelength. Not one of the six-or-so strong group budged an inch. Then, all of a sudden, a convoy of two tanks rocked up to the bridge, obviously keen to get our “A” territory under their control. Big mistake.

The two tanks stopped for a second, completely inactive, almost like they argued amongst themselves about who was getting out to flick the switch. Then, rather cautiously, one enemy soldier jumped out and headed for the panel, with no of way knowing what anarchy was about to descend upon them. At that point, just above my right shoulder a large calibre round sniper bullet whizzed past as if it was late for an appointment, and wham, all hell broke loose.

That breaking of fire led to one of the most epic ambushes I’ve ever experienced in Battlefield. Simultaneously we all leapt from our cover with rocket launchers locked and loaded, pinging as much devastation at the tanks before they knew what hit them. Bang! One tank went up in flames and at that point the other tank knew he was in for a world of hurt and retreated rather quickly. Still on the same wavelength though, everyone – almost in tandem – reloaded their launchers and launched a volley of rockets to see off our foe. A win for us, not only tactically, but mentally. Now we could push forward as a group, using our tank as the battering ram to capture the well fortified enemy outposts. Victory was sweet.

Then there’s the moment that you first witness the destruction of a ginormous skyscraper, something that isn’t scripted by the way. It’s down to the player (or players) to bring that one down. What was once a beautiful city with a bright blue sky beaming overheard suddenly became a hot zone of destruction and chaos. Not only was the creaking and crumbling of the falling skyscraper a terrifying experience, but the plume of smoke that billowed out from the rubble as it hit the ground reduced visibility, and that once majestic skyscraper that was perfect cover from all the aerial chaos that ensued suddenly became a maze of debris that lone shooters could hide themselves in.

It not only changes the face of the map visually, but it changes the complexity of the tactics too, meaning that it can be a last resort to turn the tide of a match if you’re up against it. You’ll never forget that first moment you hear, feel and see a skyscraper in Battlefield 4 come tumbling around you. Spine-chilling stuff, especially if it’s you that brings it down.

That right there is Battlefield 4. Frenetic matches that switch from taking down choppers and watching them crash into skyscrapers, to bollard ambushes in an instant. And that moment when the skyscraper comes down and changes the face of the map, that’s when you’ll have to stop and pinch yourself to see whether it was real. There’s no doubt in my mind that Battlefield 4 will put Battlefield 3’s multiplayer to shame when it ships in November. The only problem now is we have to wait all that time for it.

Battlefield 4 is scheduled for an October 29th and November 1st release on current-gen consoles in North America and Europe respectively, while also coming on the next-gen at a later unspecified date.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 264
Comment #1 by Stealth David
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 12:58:48 PM
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I wish it was bad company

Forum Posts: 19
Comment #2 by Len lfc
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 01:01:22 PM
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Here is the only reason I want a next gen console day 1!

Forum Posts: 84
Comment #3 by Lazy_FAQer
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 01:01:41 PM
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Got this preordered on XB1!

64 players is going to be amazing, can't wait!!!

Forum Posts: 115
Comment #4 by Mittens2317
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 01:12:54 PM
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Tbh, Owen Wilson was brilliant in Behind Enemy Lines. And, bit of useless trivia... the sniper dude (Sasha) is who Niko Bellic was based on...

...and yes, I realise that the Owen Wilson thing was a Shanghai Noon reference, but still, Behind Enemy Lines is a fucking excellent film.

Forum Posts: 194
Comment #5 by SGT H0US3
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 01:13:05 PM
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64 64 64 zoo lane

Forum Posts: 175
Comment #6 by Yourburntstar
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 01:48:08 PM
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utterly breathtaking.

Can't wait to get my Xbox One Day One Console.

Forum Posts: 36
Comment #7 by ENVY021
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 01:51:17 PM
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@2 same here
@4 yes it was
@5 IS THAT WHAT THEY SAY!?! I can never understand it, granted I HATE THAT SONG/JINGLE but it bugs me that I can't understand what the hell they're saying. Now that annoying song is going to be in my head the rest of the day at work.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #8 by Peter File
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 01:53:25 PM
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Lol good stuff mate.

Forum Posts: 327
Comment #9 by JT Fever
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 02:32:06 PM
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@7 regarding @5 i think its from a kids TV show called 64 zoo lane, i watched it with my kids a few years back, although i never heard it on 360 maybe cause we didn't have 64 players.

As someone who only switched from COD to BF for the last outing i am still in awe of this gen cant wait to see these next gen types of battles unfolding.

Forum Posts: 176
Comment #10 by FXH Reaper
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 03:25:56 PM
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That ambush you described is the whole reason I love the Battlefield series, when you experience it for the first time you are hooked.

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #11 by MyNameIsWill
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 04:21:34 PM
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Normally I'd say nice PC screens... xD

Forum Posts: 194
Comment #12 by SGT H0US3
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 04:48:06 PM
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@7 I know its annoying sorry bout that but when i ever here 64 in any sentence i automatacily here that song, Never even liked the cartoon.

@8 thanks.

@9 your spot on there matey.

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #13 by Jack Flak
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 05:59:59 PM
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@4 Too bad Shanghai Noon was total garbage.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #14 by asilent boom
Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 07:05:33 PM
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@1 Don't worry, we'll get another Bad Company game eventually.

@2 Same here.

Can't wait for this and to see what other map changing destruction they have in store for us. Will easily sink 500 hours into the MP.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #15 by AsianPet
Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 03:55:14 AM
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I'm really glad that this article confirmed that the destruction of the skyscraper is player-controlled rather than being scripted. Good piece.

Forum Posts: 31
Comment #16 by davesuk
Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 05:23:07 AM
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Forum Posts: 455
Comment #17 by Selections
Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 11:07:41 AM
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So whats the bet the first week of release people are going to go for taking down that skyscraper rather than doing the mission objectives! ;)

Can't fucking wait for this game. This paired with the One will keep me happy for many, many months.

Forum Posts: 161
Comment #18 by Mad Man
Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 05:06:57 PM
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My only question is when is the Beta gonna be launched? I'd like to get into the warzone soon. I know it sounds like a stupid, but I want in dammit!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #19 by asilent boom
Saturday, June 29, 2013 @ 07:33:37 PM
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I can't wait to see what some of the other "levolution" events are on the other maps. I'm hoping for a huge dam breaking in the middle of a giant land battle, which turns it into a huge island hopping, naval battle.

This is the game that's going to make me buy a next-gen console at launch. I can't pass up 64 player MP.

Forum Posts: 161
Comment #20 by Mad Man
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 04:29:52 AM
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@#19 I like the sound of that; that would be a huge game changer.

Forum Posts: 66
Comment #21 by BrownCrusader
Sunday, June 30, 2013 @ 08:16:14 PM
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Ooo, Bf4.. can't wait for this. I'm liking the sound of the upgrade to player count...oh and the Multiplayer destruction.

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #22 by Wing X Custom
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 07:08:13 AM
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64 player gloriousness! Finally within reach.

Forum Posts: 27
Comment #23 by CS15
Monday, July 01, 2013 @ 01:36:35 PM
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v b

Forum Posts: 8
Comment #24 by USSwisconsin64
Tuesday, July 02, 2013 @ 12:21:20 AM
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Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts, World of Tanks and maybe just maybe a new Ace Combat will take over my life :)

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #25 by The Cipriani
Tuesday, July 23, 2013 @ 09:43:21 AM
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online shooter ! omg that's a totally new idea I cant wait to buy it, then buy Gold, then buy all the new maps, then buy the VIP pass, then spend months running around doing the same thing over and over.
New ideas guys come on ! lets get some invention going !

Forum Posts: 981
Comment #26 by Tai_MT
Saturday, July 27, 2013 @ 09:48:10 AM
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Obvious troll is obvious. Must've picked up his "leet skillz" at 4chan, for all the subtlety it has.

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Game Info
Electronic Arts


US October 29, 2013
Europe November 01, 2013

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