Battlefield 4 Gameplay and Performance Preview

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EA took the wraps off Battlefield 4 this past week, offering players a chance to experience a taste of what the game offers via an early beta. We've spent time with the game, tested its early performance, and come back to report the findings. AMD, of course, has been talking up the Battlefield 4 combination with a vengeance, highlighting the features of its new Mantle API and close partnership with DICE, Battlefield 4's developer. At the same time, however, this is just a beta -- while we'll be checking performance and commenting on game changes, this isn't a full review of the final product.

What's New and Different:

We can, however, still talk about some of the changes. The first question people are going to have is, "Can I jump from BF3 straight into BF4?" The answer is absolutely yes. It's not just that the game is designed to be approachable, but that it plays almost exactly like its predecessor.

That said, there's a lot of clean-up around the edges that improves the experience. Many of the vehicle and weapon models are the same, but the particle effects, colors, and explosions of the new maps are brighter and clearer. The audio engine appears to have been significantly boosted; sounds are sharper and gunfire is more satisfying. The weapon loadout screen is easier to navigate, and the tactical map you see in between respawns shows you what's going on at the various spawn points or in available vehicles. It's a vast improvement over BF3, and gives you a clearer idea of whether the vehicle / person you're about to spawn on will be dead two seconds after you hit "Deploy."

Health (both player and vehicle) regenerates very quickly in the beta, substantially reducing the need for medkits. The beta's single map, Siege of Shanghai, features a gorgeous demonstration of what EA/DICE call "Levolution" -- the idea that the game map can change dramatically depending on player actions. If you're familiar with the Battlefield series' destructible terrain, this is a further extension of the concept. No, buildings can't be completely leveled ala Battlefield: Bad Company 2, but the idea behind Levolution is that players can cause enormous changes within specified areas of the map, thereby shifting the balance of power on underlying terrain.

EA's official Levolution demo and gameplay demonstration.

EA/DICE's Levolution system is also responsible for the fact that these new maps are more interactive than their counterparts. Players can go up and down in elevators, open and close choke points, and manipulate more environmental objects than was previously possible in BF3.

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BrandonRiedel one year ago

now if only they would deal with the HUGE STUTTER LAG issue.

RWilliams one year ago

Great article! I am not a Battlefield fan, I admit, but the graphics and gameplay never cease to impress me. I hope that with the single-player campaign, the devs finally fixed the script issues. I gave up on completing BF3's SP campaign because the issues just became so momentum-breaking.

As minor as it might be, networked water is one of the features of this game that has me intrigued. The fact that you know that your friends will be seeing the exact same waves as you is pretty cool, and really adds to the realism.

thunderdan602 one year ago

I love the battlefield series and play mainly bf 3 now. I tried the beta. Its good. The problem is my rig is old so I don't know if the issues I have had are hardware related or beta issues or a combo of both.

RicoFrost one year ago

Running NVidia cards have reported low FPS when using windows 7. Windows 8 users are not getting the stutter lag issue or low FPS due to the new directx. You get much better FPS on windows 8 then you do Windows 7, BF4 also prefers HT do keep it on.

Maybe the xbox one will have and advantage over ps4.

lipe123 one year ago

Barring the improved terrain damage this REALLY is BF 3.5.

Those basic options like being able to form a squad out of game and join together pretty much completely negated BF3's online enjoyment for me and friends.

The fact that there still is no proper menu and server browser and they are sticking to the miserable battlelog website **** isn't helping either.

Cannot even change keybinds until after you join a match, get killed half way through changes and everything resets again.

Honestly not impressed with the huge price tag for fixing the existing game. There should be a discount to existing BF3 owners for getting the fixed version of the game.

jun one year ago

Lipe, I found BF3 pretty fun. Yes the browser thing is odd, but w.e I got over it. And CoD basically does the same thing everytime. You know what they added this time? You can lean over corners! I always wanted to do that in BF3.

Joel H one year ago

1). Since I tested on my own system, W8 wasn't an option. And it remains a distinct minority as far as gaming is concerned. If there's a problem there, it's on Nvidia to fix it. Dont' draw conclusions until the shipping game, and later drivers, and consider these figures a preview.

2). I also hate Battlelog. And having to wait between matches to change things like key bindings is really stupid. Maybe it's an anti-hacking thing, or a limitation of the beta, I'm not sure.

3). I'm not sure why being able to play with friends would kill BF3 for anyone.

I don't think you can call this the "fixed" version BF3. It's an improved version, certainly, but if you bought BF3 for $60 in 2011 and played for two years, it's hard to argue you haven't gotten your money's worth.

HanyangXu one year ago

Honestly, Levolution is not that impressive. It's simply not creative. It's more like a big red button to press whenever you get bored/things are going your way. Tbh, it's just not dynamic at all.

JonathanBaker one year ago

I think Levolution is a decent idea, would like to see how well it really works in practice. Is it something that works with MP or just SP?

Will525 one year ago

An excellent review.

BigKihd one year ago

Great article thank you for the read

Drendrar 11 months ago

Love the game so far even tho its pretty much the same as BF3.

If you have BF3, then you dont need to buy this, unless you want to spend 60$ on 20% better GFX.


Krasniye 9 months ago

I heard BF4 was super buggy, but it looks fun! Hopefully after 6 months of it being out they fixed the problems.

palaadin 3 months ago

looks like most of the issues are out of the way Cool

thomas.gershman 9 months ago

Months later, still playing this game, upgraded my GPU around 2 months ago, the graphics are amazing. Even when you play on Medium settings it is still a blast.

AlbertoGarcaAlcolea 9 months ago

When this game will optimize it deserves?

content and development is very good, but if they can not make it work better begin to lose customers.

ChristyGermain 6 months ago

Hey can someone actually fix the BF4 issues with the game first please?

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