PAX Prime 2013: Battlefield 4 hands-on
2011’s Battlefield 3 had the less-than-subtle duty of going after… well, Call of Duty. It was positioned to combat Activision’s ludicrously successful console push, taking the same strategy of “let’s take a classic PC shooter franchise and translate it to consoles.” For the most part, it worked – Battlefield 3 on 360 and PS3 was an admirable effort that saw the large scale action of the series mostly intact on the populist platforms.
However, it wasn’t quite the same, and corners had to be cut. That’s not really surprising, given how incredible Battlefield 3 looks and how old those consoles really are. With Battlefield 4, however, the port job is going to be a lot closer. Hopefully.
The Battlefield 4 demo at PAX looks fantastic, at least compared to the 360 and PS3 games within view of the Xbox One booth. In its current state, it looks like the PC version of Battlefield 3 on mostly high settings, running at a respectable resolution and decent (although not the 60fps promised by DICE for the final console versions) framerate. It might not convince anyone with a good gaming PC to make the switch to console Battlefield, but it will be a massive leap for players coming from the 360 and PS3 versions.
“The Battlefield 4 demo at PAX looks fantastic”The more universal jump is in the gameplay, which, at least on the map on display at PAX, is much wider in scope than Battlefield 3‘s. The Shanghai map is downright massive, and being able to perch on top of buildings and watch other players shoot it out below (or buzz around you with helicopters) feels much grander in scale than anything available in 2011’s game, even on the full-featured PC version. The destruction is now a much bigger part of the overall game, although in my short time with the demo I didn’t see anything quite as impressive as the coordinated effort to bring the road out from underneath a tank from the E3 presentation.
So far, it seems like Battlefield 4 is shaping up to be a huge step up for players previously stuck on the slightly-leaner maps and graphics of console Battlefield 3. Once the current framerate gets ironed out, it’ll be a much more comparable experience with far fewer sacrifices.