E3 Hands-On Preview: Battlefield 4 Multiplayer
After watching the live demo during EA’s press conference I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Battlefield 4’s multiplayer. EA had a 64-player station set up at E3 and I got a chance to play a few games. I walked away more hyped for this game than ever before as the multiplayer was simply outstanding.
Let me first say that the game plays and feels much like other Battlefield titles. Vehicles control very similarly, each of the classes they had were pretty much the same as they didn’t want to reveal anything just yet, and controls felt as good as ever with maybe a bit more kick on the guns (and maybe less accuracy while hip firing as well). One of the first things I noticed was the huge improvement to visuals–not only on the characters and vehicles–but the surrounding environment as well. But enough about that, let’s talk about the match itself.
The demo took place on Shanghai and just like the press conference it was a conquest match with Commander Mode. Commander mode is being brought back and now gamers can use a tablet to command the team to attack certain objectives and also call in air-strikes or uav drones. Players who follow the commander’s orders will receive extra points and it will unlock more abilities for the commander such as the air strikes and gun ships.
In theory the commander mode is incredible, but in practice I’m not so sure how well it will work. In the multiplayer session I played, no one but a small group of players followed the commander’s orders on my team and half the time you couldn’t even hear the orders, yet we still won. If you have a group of people willing to listen to the commander, and a commander who is also really good at strategizing, then this mode could actually be a lot of fun. That’s a big if though.
The best part of the Shanghai map is that the center capture point (C) is situated at the top of the tallest building in the map. With this captured you’re able to spawn there and parachute down to almost any capture point in the map. It also gives you a great vantage point for sniping. Capture this area is key to victory but you have to defend the bottom of the building as well as the top.
In my playthrough the enemy team captured C early on and quickly got out to a huge lead. After my squad gathered, which can now have up to five players, we attacked the ground level of the building, taking out a few players and then rode the elevator to the top of the building. Once we got up to the top there was a massive fire fight going on, and this is where you really see the huge improvement to visuals and framerate.
Debris was flying everywhere, bullets whizzing across the screen, along with the occasional rocket as well, and it’s hard not to get lost in the aesthetics of the game the first time you play it. Everything just looks amazing, from the characters to the buildings and down to the smallest detail inside the buildings. I was able to quickly take out a few enemies while using the elevator as cover, but we were unable to take the territory because in order to get there you have to run out into the open and they just had too much cover.
What happened next was just incredible. You’ve seen it happen during the E3 stage demo, but actually seeing it in the game was completely different. Instead of continually trying to take over the top of the building, my team took out the support beams of the building and caused it to collapse.
I was caught in the building, actually fighting at the top, when this happened and had no idea it was going down due to E3 just being too loud to hear anything. There were some graphical issues when the building collapsed, but what it did to the map afterwards was just as cool as when it collapsed. There was a huge cloud of smoke and debris that lingered for a long time surrounding that entire area.
This made it really hard to see anything more than I’d say 10-15 feet in front of you depending on how close you were to the building. Not only that, though, the capture point moved to the ground level in the middle of the collapsed building, so now our team could immediately go capture that point.