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Battlefield 4 review



Our Score



  • Good single-player campaign
  • Impressive multiplayer
  • Varied and imaginative maps
  • Huge action set-pieces


  • Some maps too large for 24 players (Xbox/PS3 issue only)
  • Occasionally struggles on old hardware

Review Price £39.99

Note: This review is based the PC version of Battlefield 4 - for PS3 or Xbox 360 continue to the next page >

It’s an exaggeration to say that the PC version of Battlefield 4 is an entirely different kettle of fish from the Xbox or PS3 versions. The single-player campaign is virtually unchanged beyond the cosmetics, and the feel of the multiplayer action is broadly similar. Yet three things will strike you almost immediately. Firstly, Battlefield 4 goes from being a good-looking console game to an awesome-looking PC title. Secondly, the performance issues – providing you have some half-decent hardware – are a thing of the past. You’re experiencing Battlefield 4 as it was designed to be experienced. Finally, the sheer numbers and enthusiasm of the players make online multiplayer, and specifically Conquest, so much more enjoyable.

Maps like Flood Zone, Siege of Shanghai and Lancang Dam, which seemed vast and oddly empty on the current gen consoles, come alive on PC. You seem to spend more time with squadmates (there’s more chance that one will be alive next time you respawn) and there are more skirmishes going on around the various control points. Of course, it’s not so easy to score cheap points by capturing unattended control points, but then this is Battlefield, not Cower Near A Flag or Camp Out With a Sniper Rifle. Tanks, helicopters and other armoured death machines seem to be everywhere, and the result is a game with a lot more boom, bang and bluster.

It hits you that, on the Xbox 360, Battlefield 4 multiplayer rarely had the big, cinematic, epic feel you get from racing to a checkpoint on a quadbike while tank shells shatter the trees around you, or that you get from a last ditch defence against a squad of enemy troops where victory or defeat come down to the last few health points. On the PC, Battlefield 4 is full of this stuff. It puts the Battlefield back in Battlefield.

On the flipside, some of the smaller maps might actually feel too intense. Operation Locker, with its control points strung out in installations along an ice-capped mountain ridge, can become a ridiculous running scrap over the interior control points, while the outside areas feel like a sniper’s shooting gallery. It’s still brilliant, just because the action never lets up, but it’s questionable how much room for strategy there is on a packed PC server. And even on the PC version a handful of the maps are turning into sniperfests – we’re looking at you Zavod 311 and Golmud Railway.

Curiously, interest in ‘levolution’ – the large-scale destructive events that change the maps – already seems to be drying up. We’ve had several games where, say, the Shanghai skyscraper remains untouched while everyone focuses on the enemy, or where players actually get told not to destroy the levy in flood-zone because others prefer the map dry. It’s going to be interesting to see whether levolution ends up becoming a key part of the gameplay, or ends up as a gimmicky footnote in the Battlefield 4 story.

It says everything that, on console, we’ve moved to playing mostly in Rush, Domination and Obliteration modes, which is a bit like going out for a meal and skipping the main course. On the PC, it’s Conquest nearly all the way. It just feels right.

Needless to say, PC Battlefield 4 multiplayer isn’t an unalloyed triumph. Like many players we experienced numerous crashes and server dropouts during launch day that made it almost impossible to get a game, and matchmaking still has a nasty habit of leaving you on a new server, desperately hoping that someone else will join. Yet things seem to have stabilised over the weekend, and it’s possible to get a decent stream of matches running on a busy server. Doing so through a browser-based server browser rather than an in-game one seems slightly odd if you’re used to console gaming – and makes switching from server to server a slower process – but arguably it’s a more efficient means of finding and joining a game.

It also has to be said that Battlefield 4 isn’t exactly noob-friendly. Where Infinity Ward and Treyarch seem to have devoted a lot of time to making Call of Duty accessible to new players, Battlefield 4 still leaves you with little to go on. If you’re not a seasoned and regular Battlefield player you can expect a painful few hours while you get in the swing of things.

Graphics are the other major reason to opt for the PC version, or wait for the next-gen consoles to hit. Played at 1080p with High or Ultra detail levels switched on, Battlefield 4 can look stunning. God beams, lighting effects, particle effects and textures are all so much more sophisticated and impressive on the PC version, and the simple jump in resolution makes it easier to spot an enemy trooper against a debris-cluttered background. The real world setting and a preponderance of grey architecture means that it’s not exactly the most beautiful game you’ve ever seen – and still no match for the more imaginative Crysis 3 – but it’s incredibly convincing. And when the campaign’s big action set-pieces hit, like the helicopter attack on the factory in chapter one or the planes sliding around the broken carrier in chapter three, the smoother frame rates and added detail make them all the more cinematic.


Battlefield 4 was built for PC and next-gen and it shows. PS3 and 360 gamers still get a fine single-player FPS and an even more impressive online game, but the maps are too big for the limited player count while the scale shows up the limitations of the current tech. Play it on PC, however, and the blockbuster feel and epic warfare of authentic Battlefield come through, with some brilliant maps and polished gameplay. Levolution may or may not be a gimmick, but on PC this is another brilliant Battlefield and one of the best multiplayer games around.

Read our in-depth comparison Xbox One vs PS4

Our Score

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June 18, 2013, 7:09 pm

Battlefield 3.5 in my book, i wonder if they will continue to reduce the multiplayer object destruction like they did between bad company & bf3


October 3, 2013, 12:20 am

Dude it's a whole new engine. Revamped combat, new maps. You must be thinking of COD


October 31, 2013, 4:30 am

It is still Frostbyte with enhanced things here and there. The campaign is awful and sadly not an impressive demonstration of the game on current gen consoles. Waiting for Origin to unlock BF4 to give it a whirl in my medium specced PC.


October 31, 2013, 7:05 am

yup i was right its bf3.5 smoke it mikey


October 31, 2013, 8:17 pm

graphics are impressive . gameplay sucks it turned my favorite game into a sniperfest!! what were they thinking with these new maps


October 31, 2013, 8:22 pm

graphics are great . gameplay is terrible total sniper fest now

Russell hawker

November 3, 2013, 3:10 pm

They have ruined Battlefield, worst version by a country mile. Maps are awful, not chance of a big set piece. Its just a haven for snipers and lone wolf. I imagine the COD crowd will love it while they wait for the next COD. Perhaps the next COD will play like Battlefield and i can switch.

Mike Armstrong

November 4, 2013, 5:47 pm

Blocky,shoddy gameplay and a snipers dream its rushed and bad and its getting traded epic fail for the BF collection.


November 4, 2013, 11:37 pm

I've been playing on the PC and when it doesn't crash the graphics and gameplay is epic. Agree snipers seem to be overpowered though. Hopefully DICE will balance them.


November 5, 2013, 3:45 pm

I take back what i said, knee jerk reaction to the way it was playing at the time. Didn't give them enough time to sort out the problems.
Played it last night for 3 hours and had a blast. It did crash once but i can live with that for now. Running much better now. Gameplay was superb on some maps, less so on others. On the whole really starting to enjoy it now.
Note to self....give it a week before judging.


November 5, 2013, 3:48 pm

Evan, i agree 100%. Its starting to settle down now, big improvement in the stability in the last 24hours. I had it running smooth as button last night, just the one crash. Really enjoyed some of the new maps. Snipers are a pain, too powerful and as ever, people running around using them as close support weapons. Dice should make them nigh impossible to use from the hip.


November 5, 2013, 6:26 pm

"Some maps too large for 24 players (Xbox/PS3 issue only)"

Cons? Really?


November 5, 2013, 7:03 pm

Yes unfortunately on maps aimed at 64 players you end up running around for ages trying to find the enemy


November 6, 2013, 2:39 pm

I bought Battlefield 4 or my son for his birthday, its all he wanted and come to find out he can't play it on his xbox. What a bunch of crap! Oh but you can if you spend another $130 to get more memory. Thanks a lot micrsoft!


November 6, 2013, 3:11 pm

We had this problem last year with our 6gb Xbox 360 Slim. Bought a 120gb replacement hard drive on Ebay £29 delivered. Well worth it as you can install the games to the hard drive so they load faster. Just checked the drives are still available.


November 6, 2013, 3:17 pm

My only real gripe now is the sniper class. Its way too powerful, snipers dominate some of the maps to the point they spawn kill. The sniper rifle needs to be a real pig to handle when firing from the hip. Too many players running around with sniper rifles firing from the hip getting easy kills out doing someone with a lightweight submachine gun or pistol.
Flood Zone map is a real sniper haven.


November 6, 2013, 4:50 pm

A man who admits his errors. Rare beast indeed :)


November 6, 2013, 4:55 pm

I don't believe that this is accurate. Sniper rifles aren't powerful enough, I have shot people 2 times and they were still alive. Also, the minigun on the boats/helicopters aren't powerful either. If you are playing rush, I can understand getting spawn killed during the first set of M-Com stations. Over all, it is an amazing game.


November 6, 2013, 4:56 pm

Why don't you just buy a an external hard drive or spend 20 dollars and get a thumb drive? That will solve your issue!


November 6, 2013, 4:59 pm

Do you know why snipers are powerful? It is because A) sniper rifles have powerful rounds and can easily penetrate body armor. B) it is a lot more difficult to shoot a moving target when you have to adjust your knobs and account for bullet drop. Using a fully automatic weapon 2 feet from somebody, takes no skill.


November 6, 2013, 5:16 pm

I think that is just your frustration for not being able to hit water if you fell out of a boat. Definitely a loser's excuse for doing bad.


November 6, 2013, 5:30 pm

It's the fact that snipers seem to have the upper hand at close range too that's the issue. It was the same in BF3 until they got balanced.
I play as all classes and enjoy the recon class but it's still too easy to aim when I'm being shot as a recon. I fully expect that if I'm being hit by an assault rifle I won't be able to easily aim and pull off a headshot. I can on BF4.


November 6, 2013, 5:32 pm

Buy a hard drive. Problem solved.


November 6, 2013, 5:32 pm

Mods run around for ages trying to find a girl.


November 6, 2013, 5:36 pm

Girls are the enemy?

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