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It has been nearly two years since Battlefield 3 left a lasting impression on the FPS or "first person shooter" genre. The game was rewarded multiple accolades like best shooter and best multiplayer game from a multitude of sites in 2011, though through recent months the game has come under scrutiny due to gamers hacking the game using aimbots, wall hacks, and faster bullets, prompting many players to stop playing the game. Well Battlefield 4 is on the horizon with a release date penned for October 29, 2013 and I jump into the battlefield of the multiplayer open beta to see if the game can do enough to pull back some of its forgotten players.
At the moment there's only one map which which is a series of tall buildings and skyscrapers with an ocean bay view and just like its predecessor it looks amazing. There's a large variety in the capture points with loads of places to go and explore on multiple levels and therefore prompts you to change up your plan of attack. You will find yourself making the difficult choice whether to risk a swim to get a new line of approach, or just fight your way around the bay to move onto land. You're vulnerable in water due to slow movement but will be more camouflaged than on land.
I noticed that I was often getting killed from above with the huge skyscrapers housing some decent vantage points for snipers, but these high points mean your field of combat feel different compared to other first person shooters. You’re constantly wondering who, when and when somebody is going to attack, you feel more on the edge knowing that at any moment you can get blown off of the planet and this makes the game really exciting making you want to try to be one step ahead of the enemy. Players can now counter getting melee attacked by the enemy which adds something extra to just getting stabbed in the face with no chance of survival. You can also customize your loadout from Battlelog, and much quicker in game when you're dead and probably the biggest improvement is that you can now double-click to spawn on a teammate or vehicle, something that makes a huge difference if you’re playing in a team or with friends. You also get a live feed of your squadmate, so you can see if it is safe to drop in to there position which shows great attention detail. It is just a bit of extra information that helps with spawning but really adds that extra element of realism.
The graphics as usual are the closest to real I have seen from a FPS, crisp and vivid and almost life like. I did experience an issue where Dxtory told me I was playing at 60fps, but it felt like 20 for a second or so for more than one occasion and I have seen others complaining of this too. I have a 2nd gen i7 and an overclocked GTX680 and 16gb ram so this is probably a software bug that will be fixed in the full release though saying that the game demands a very high end PC to play at a decent frame rate and recommends a Nvidia GTX660 or AMD 7970 GPU, accompanied by 8GB of ram and a decent Intel quad core or AMD 6 core, followed by 30GB hard drive space. If FPS shooters are your thing then now is the time to upgrade your hardware because this game is going to decimate medium end gaming rigs.
The gameplay as usual is great. The game flows through the streets and skyscrapers and feels great when darting around, raising your gun, auto leaning and zooming down the iron sights. the character movements all looked and felt genuine and I felt quite comfortable behind the screen with the way the characters moved and reacted to the mouse and keyboard. I did find flying helicopters a bit tricky at first but got used to it after a few attempts. The early beta has lots of variables to keep rounds fresh. Most noticeably, bollards can be raised and lowered to completely stop ground vehicles from proceeding without someone having to risk getting out and hitting a button to drop them. so you won't get so many vehicles racing to a far off point for a quick cap without having to take a few extra risks along the way.
Overall I found the open beta entertaining and exciting. One gripe i did have is that the multiplayer uses the same battlelog web browser method of matchmaking games which i found confusing and clunky on Battlefield 3, but seems to have made the UI a little easier to understand in Battlefield 4. The servers at times lagged during the beta as well as millions around the world connected and played and again should be fixed post launch. If EA can keep the hackers away from the service and if the single player is up to the quality of the last game, then i can see this game being a roaring success. It has been two years in the making but I think Battlefield 4 will be at the top of throne of first person shooters, taking over the chair from Battlefield 3 and competing with Call of Duty: Ghosts for the FPS crown in 2013. We will just have to wait and see what Ghosts brings to the table in mid November.