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E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo)

Battlefield 4 Hands-On E3 Impressions

by William Schwartz

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One of the most anticipated games of 2013, Battlefield 4, was once again on display at E3, front and center. The shooter is due to release later this year, but convention attendees got to go hands-on in a massive 64-player battle.

The demo gave players a chance to not only experience the next-generation of Battlefield, but also feel the effects of a fan-favorite feature in the game’s returning Commander Mode.

While it was no small feat, DICE once again managed top all expectations that I had for the game, despite it feeling awfully familiar to 2011’s Battlefield 3. It isn’t a bad thing, Battlefield 3 was a game ahead of its time as far as graphics go, and the squad based gameplay is only enhanced by the inclusion of the Commander mode.

On the ground, Battlefield 4 is a beautiful game. Frostbite 3 is pushing out some of the most realistic effects we’ve ever seen on PC or consoles. This isn’t neccessarily something new for the series, fans have grown accustomed to the destructive tendencies of the Frostbite Engine.

In our demo, We got a chance to go hands on with the PC version of the game, and if my memory serves me correctly, the PCs were packing a 7990 graphics card. We were also given the option to choose either an Xbox One controller or the traditional PC controls for our game. I went with the Xbox One controller for a couple of reasons, but for the most part it was due to not having handled the next-gen hardware up to that point.

Controls were once again very familiar. Slipping right into the Xbox One controller, the only noticeable differences that I found were in the constant need to hold the analog stick to run, which carried over into a new swimming mechanic to speed up the slow process of navigating waterways without a vessel. Using the sprint mechanic while swimming now puts the solider into a pull out free-style across any body of water. It certainly makes navigating waterways a much easier task than drifting along.

While the top notch sound and graphics have become mainstays for the franchise, the big addition is in the game’s Commander Mode. The feature definitely adds a layer of strategy to the team based game. The Commander Mode allows one person on each side of the battle to have control of a number of tactical options. They can deliver airstrikes, call in gunships and other high-powered weaponry like artillery barrages at critical points in the game. It makes the game much crazier experience because of the unknown element of when an enemy attack is incoming. If you don’t fear this just yet, just wait for the first time that you are struck down by the Commander in a hail of artilery.

While we didn’t get to go hands on with the Commander features ourselves, DICE had an impressive set of controls on display at E3. At the end of the day, it made you want to take the role of the commander when the game arrives this Fall as a first priority.

Battlefield 4 is more of what Battlefield fans are accustomed to. Those that already have a high-end PC aren’t going to see a huge leap in visual fidelity, at least we didn’t. The notable changes are in the game’s scope, and with Battlefield already being massive in that regard, Battlefield 4 is looking to be the shooter to beat in 2014. Comparisons aside, at the very least, Battlefield 4 is looking like its going to be the biggest and most ambitious Battlefield that we’ve ever seen from DICE.

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