Playing by myself…
This review is going to be a little different as we will be reviewing the single player side of Battlefield 4 on the Xbox One and then will return to the multiplayer side once DICE and EA have sorted out the well documented problems that the game is having just now. Given that it’s next gen and supports up to 64 players, it’s going to be worth the wait in the long haul.
The campaign in Battlefield 4 sees the player taking the roll of Sgt Daniel Recker “Reck” who is a member of a special operations squad called Tombstone. He is joined by Sgt William Dunn, Sgt Kimble Graves “Irish” and Sgt Clayton “Pac”. They are a gung-ho, no holds barred, get the job done, sort of unit.
The campaign starts off with your unit on a covert op in Baku which is in Azerbaijan. They are tasked with getting vital intelligence from the Russians, but it all goes south very quickly and Tombstone find themselves having to fight their way out of the city and make it to an extraction point on the outskirts.
In a chaotic twist after a huge firefight with a Russian gunship along a coastal road, the squad find themselves trapped in a car plunging into the depths of the ocean and the player is handed a choice. Dunn, the squad leader, is pinned in by one of the car seats and with the car sinking quick, he gives you the order to shoot the glass which dooms him but will save the rest of Tombstone. It’s the only way it can play out, but it’s a hard scene to play through and this is a side of the story mode which returns a few times during the campaign, seeing DICE putting the player in “difficult moments”. Another one of these moments sees you having to leave two trapped sailors as the mission is declared more important than saving their lives.
After the botched mission in Azerbaijan, Reck is made squad leader and it’s revealed that the Intel the squad got from the Russians involves a plan which threatens China. What follows is a globe trotting campaign which sees Tombstone fighting in locations like Shanghai and the Kunlun Mountains, and even aboard a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier as it sinks. Though the campaign is a little on the short side, the backdrops you find yourself fighting in are really a highlight. Add to that the power of the Frostbite 3 engine and they are truly stunning at times. Also, some of the set pieces in the game are equally stunning, from blowing up a dam and escaping from a prison, to finding yourself in a snow covered landscape and a beach landing during a typhoon. Every one has the feel and look of a blockbuster and are true standout moments in the game.
Another really nice touch about the story mode is that some characters return from Battlefield 3, like CIA operative Laszlo W. Kovic and one of my favourite characters Dimitri Mayakovsky, aka Dima, who was one of the Russian spec ops team who failed to stop the nuclear detonation in Paris six years ago. This is a nice touch and roots the story in the same universe as Battlefield 3 and helps link it to the supporting book, Battlefield 4 Countdown To War.
As for toys in the game, you also get a good selection of guns to play with, ranging from assault rifles to snipers and everything in between. Adding to that the campaign has a scoring system which rewards you for getting skill kills, like headshots and multi-kills to name a few, with a bronze, silver and gold which themselves unlock bonus guns, and a collectable system which unlock dog tags you have to find during levels. They are well hidden and you will need a good eye to spot these. The unlocks let you use them in the multiplayer mode and this all adds a little bit of longevity to the campaign mode.
When it comes to the look of the campaign, it looks truly striking from snowy mountains to rain soaked streets and wind swept sea fronts. The game never misses a beat and is a feast for the eye. As for characters in the game, they are incredibly detailed to the point that you can see the sweat running down their face. With the sound, everything packs a punch and carries a beefy weight, from shotguns booming to tank shells being ejected, even down to that Bonnie Tyler track.
As a starting point to the game, the campaign is fun romp and you’ll have a good few hours fun playing through it. Though it’s maybe a little bit on the short side and maybe a little too easy for FPS fans, it is worth looking at before you get stuck into the multiplayer, which itself is a totally different story for the next review.
His leg looks like popped sausage