Opinion: Battlefield 4 Beta Experience

Dice’s latest entry in the ever increasingly popular Battlefield series is proving to be quite interesting following the conclusion of the open beta on Xbox 360 and PS3.  The beta for the next-gen title set to launch on October 29, 2013 offered fast paced, riveting action.  Players participated in Domination or Conquest on the Siege of Shanghai map.  This expansive map allowed players to utilize vehicles, parachute off of buildings, and even level an entire office tower.  Siege of Shanghai provided players with three capture points with capture point B being far more interesting than A or C as it was on top of a high rise.  Players could take elevators to the top of the high rises, parachute to the next capture point, or attempt to use one of the many vehicles on the map to reach their destination.  The most interesting part of the Siege of Shanghai map was the ability to collapse the middle tower and change the B capture point.  Players needed to navigate through debris or swim to the new B capture point.  Unfortunately, the debris also left a rather large cloud of dust that effectively washed out the colours of the map and reduced visibility.  Apart from the glitches, the map felt very cohesive with an excellent layout.

Vehicle controls felt as difficult as in Battlefield 3 and were just as unforgiving for the smallest of errors.  Ground controls differ slightly from Battlefield 3 and were hampered by glitches as med kits or defibrillators would not deploy correctly.  The HUD also displayed incorrect burst settings for guns as players cycled through the various shooting options for their gun.  Overall, movement and bullet tracking was decent; however improvements will be necessary prior to the launch of the final version.

While the map flowed exceptionally well and created an action packed atmosphere, the glitches were exasperating even for a beta.  Spawn points are a continued nuisance in Battlefield 4 as players often found themselves spawning directly in front of an enemy or becoming trapped within the spawn area.  Unfortunately, mismatched matchmaking led to the latter becoming a regular occurrence in some lobbies during the open beta period.  These concerns have been acknowledged by Dice and will be addressed in the launch version. 

Visually, Battlefield 4 does not belong on current generation consoles as it quickly became evident that the graphics are drastically scaled down for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions.  Areas of the map took an exceptionally long time to render and would appear block like or distorted at times.  Many players experienced long load times, stuttering, and, often, consoles froze altogether as a result of the current console generation being unable to handle the requirements of this next-gen launch title.  I had many friends stop participating in the beta as a result of their console continuously freezing while my console froze approximately 4 times during the open beta.

The Battlefield 4 beta provided excellent insight into the latest entry to the Battlefield series.  If Dice can resolve the current issues surrounding the beta, Battlefield 4 will be an exciting multiplayer experience.  I recommend waiting for the next-gen version of Battlefield 4 for players who are looking for a vastly different gaming environment visually.  A list of changes coming as a result of the open beta can be found on Dice's Battlefield Blog at: http://blogs.battlefield.com/2013/10/thanks-for-bf4-beta-feedback/

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