rAge 2013: Hands-On With Battlefield 4
Most players on the Battlefield side of the FPS fence are probably engaged with the Open Beta at this very moment. So then, why would you be interested to know that Electronic Arts had a Battlefield 4 stand at rAge 2013, with 24 Alienware Aurora machines? Firstly, playing any preview code of Battlefield 4 at any juncture is just awesome enough to report, and secondly, there are some things you get to experience and do in this preview code that are not fleshed out as much in the beta. Let’s get to it.
Having zero ping while playing any online multiplayer game, especially an FPS, is an amazing thing, courtesy of the fact that the server was set up in the Coca Cola Dome. People who have recently played the game’s open beta should by now know of the soul destroying server lag issue. Having a zero ping is something I will never forget. More importantly, players got to experience the Paracel Storm map and see the map’s weather dynamically change. The map reminds me of a love child pairing between Battlefield 3’s Gulf of Oman and Wake Island; the close combat infused capture points like in Oman intermingling with the vegetation and style of Wake Island. Sadly the map type was Domination, so none of that genre-defining Battlefield branded vehicle combat was there to try out, especially disappointing considering the newly introduced sea based combat. It’s surprising though that at Gamescon–a few months earlier–the preview code had Conquest mode, but at rAge 2013 we were still stuck playing the 24 player Domination mode. I personally wanted to ride along in a new Battlefield 4 seacraft and watch as the Destroyer gate crashed into one of the islands capture points; alas we can’t have our Battlefield 4 cake and eat it before the 31st of October, right?
The actual combat and customisation was still fun and familiar to Battlefield 4. What was different in this preview code, from the Open Beta, is the increased amount of weapons you had to play with and the robust weapon and player customisation options on offer. For example, I chose my trusty M98B sniper rifle and was presented with a scope attachments menu that divided what seemed like all the scopes attachments into Long, Medium and Close-range engagements. The Open Beta only has the Close and Long Range sniper options, with only three scopes attachments. Speaking of attachments, the funniest attachment by far has to be the Potato Grip–a tribute to Azhar.
Without going into detail about all the guns on offer, or the types of customisations you had, I can say that seeing, using, applying custom skins and overall just testing the new feel guns from Battlefield 3 was great. Obviously not all the guns were available to use, like my favourite AN-94, but the ever popular guns like M16A3, AEK 971 and PKP Pecheneg were on hand to deal death.
Special mention must be made of the dynamic sound environment within the game. If you have played the Battlefield 4 Open Beta, the sound of the game and guns will be familiar to you. However, what is missing from the Siege of Shanghai map is the dynamic weather feature; which in this case progresses from from picturesque tropical beach, to ominous storm clouds brewing overhead, to full blown monsoon type weather. It sounded great and added that extra layer to the level of immersion in the game world and environment. Pity we could not witness the swelling waves while riding our jet-skis. Special mention must be made to all those Magnum .44 lovers out there: the gun sounds like it can tear a man in two. It’s an absolutely delicious sounding gun.
There we have it, a short hands-on preview of the Paracel Storm Battlefield 4 code that we could play at rAge 2013. The code has made me fanboy-level excited to play the final retail version, in its entire dynamic weather and levolution infused form.