Over the years, Battlefield has become one of Electronic Arts' biggest franchises, a competitive first-person shooter that peaked a couple of years ago with the best-selling Battlefield 3. With this in mind, it shouldn't be a surprise that the developers at DICE are back with a whole new chapter, Battlefield 4, which we'll play in a few weeks' time.
Like previous iterations of the series, Battlefield 4 will be divided into single player and multiplayer. Both will put your first-person shooting skills to the test, and feature a number of improvements over the previous game that fans and newcomers will enjoy.
Although the single player story is shrouded in mystery – EA hasn't revealed all the details yet – it takes place six years following Battlefield 3, focusing on Sergeant Daniel Recker. He's a member of a US special operations squad with the call sign "Tombstone," which completes missions across the globe in an effort to take down terrorists.
From what we've seen, the single player campaign takes place in a number of dangerous levels, whether you're fighting on a battleship in China that's coming apart at the seams from an explosion, or high-tailing it through the remains of a factory. DICE's new Frostbite 3 technology assures this will be the most dynamite-looking game in the series, especially on next-gen consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Once you're through with single player, you can get to the game's big draw – multiplayer. Like Battlefield 3, you'll have a number of classes to choose from, including Support, Engineer, Recon and Assault. Each member serves a vital role in the squad, backing them up in close quarters, taking out enemies from a distance with a sniper rifle or performing secondary duties, such as repairing vehicles. It helps to know what each soldier does best, though you can obviously choose what class you prefer, as well as the right weapons to get the job done.
Each class also comes with loadouts, and you can customize these however you wish. Some items are specific for certain soldiers, like the Engineer's repair torch, but otherwise, you can set up some sweet gear for each one. If assault is your thing, you can select rifles or go with heavier firepower, like the RPG-7V2. Shotguns and pistols also work effectively, and explosives, well, they still go boom, especially the Claymore mines.
On top of that, you can modify weapons with accessories, including a dual scope and adaptive camo, which helps you blend into your surroundings. There are more customization slots available, so you can add several things to your soldier to round them out.
Vehicles play a huge role in multiplayer, though occasionally you'll use them in single player as well. DICE overhauled the handling so it's easier to fly around in a chopper, laying down gunfire from above or blasting enemies ahead of you with a tank. Even smaller vehicles, like the jet ski, are practical for getting around the huge maps.
For multiplayer, there are a number of modes to choose from, most of which use tickets. You're issued a certain number of these that you can use over each match, respawning soldiers with them. In some cases, you're very limited, like in Rush mode. Attackers may only have about 75, while defenders will have an unlimited amount. Tickets also prove useful in Conquest, with 300 for each side and the ability to "burn" through tickets faster if you control more points on the map. In a sense, it's like Capture the Flag with bigger stakes.
In addition to the dependable Conquest mode and Rush, Battlefield 4 comes with three Deathmatch modes– regular, Squad and Team, the enjoyable Domination mode and a couple of new ones. These include Obliteration, where you work on destroying – or defending -- high-value targets on a map before time runs out; and Defuse, a tough new addition where you only have one life; multiplayer supports 24 players in the Xbox 360/PS3 versions of the game, and 64 on Xbox One, PC and PlayStation 4.
Finally, there’s Battlelog, which allows another player to participate using their mobile device. You'll essentially jump into Commander Mode, where you can coordinate with soldiers on the ground to set up large attacks from above, including gunship and missile strikes. It has a user-friendly interface that works in real-time with the game, providing an advantage to those doing the footwork.
We're only just getting started on the Battlefield 4 party. We'll have more strategies for you closer to the game's release, including multiplayer and customization tips. In the meantime, check out the beta when it launches October 4th.
Battlefield 4 releases October 29th for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC; November 15th for PlayStation 4; and November 22nd for Xbox One.