Battlefield 4 (Xbox One)

Battlefield 4 must rank as one of the most flawed game releases ever.

Certainly in my living memory, I don’t remember any other game that forced me to instil moments of rage within my living room so prolifically and absolutely that I wanted to put my foot through not only my game copy and the Xbox One itself, but also my Panasonic Plasma which had, by all accounts, done nothing wrong at all!

EA have been named the worst company in the USA for two years running and not without merit. Their failed DRM mechanisms for Sim City caused millions of people to vent their furious frustration over the internet by the cement bucket load. And nobody likes a conglomerate. Initial reports show they’ve been voted out of winning the title three years running, clearly there are more evil corporations in the world, but boy did they deserve it.

You see, the game is actually spectacular. It looks incredible for a start, showing off next-gen graphics for a launch title with nauseating ease at a full 60FPS. If you are a seasoned BF vet, then gazing upon the majesty of this game for the first time will be a sight to behold. The water effects alone were so realistic I found myself just staring at them right until I stopped a bullet. With my skull.

Add to that the new ‘Levelution’ scripted scenes that occur mid game, then there’s a suitable amount of creative input added. When the storm finally hits in Paracel Storm, there’s a real present sense of excitement as the thunder cracks, the skies darken and the waves become so high that effectively piloting a jetski becomes almost impossible. So there are clear changes to your strategy required once these scripted events take place.

There are flaws though. It’s going to take a long time to sort out the balancing issues, of which there are a lot of. Some maps, such as Lancang Damn, allows enemy infantry to take control of an Anti Air Vehicle, park it in their base and take out any aircraft from the otherside of the map. There’s a list of them and no doubt Dice are working to get through them, but I fear that despite how fantastic this game actually is, they may have missed the boat.

I’m a Premium owner which means I get all the packs when released together with some Premium event stuff such as double XP weekends etc.

There’s a fantastic flow to the game. There’s very little that comes close to the captivating and rewarding feel of capturing a bunch of flags with some friends knowing you’re dominating the map. Giant, towering skyscrapers are all accessible, either by helicopter or by lifts which are often booby-trapped. Capture a flag on top of one of these skyscrapers then realise the foundations are being hammered by a bunch of tanks at ground level. Just as the building starts to topple and fall, you jump off and skydive the whole way down – this. Literally. Never. Gets. Old.

The launch was a catastrophe though. The game would simply not work, game saves would disappear, resetting status, you couldn’t get onto servers sometimes, the game would crash right in the middle of a battle and lock your Xbox down, needing a hard reset. I think this damaged the game so much that many players gave up.

I’ve persevered and it’s a welcome continuation of BF3. Better graphics, new maps and the inclusion of Levolution has added a new gameplay dynamic that can change and shift the focus of the game. For now, this will do thank you.