Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Despite the resounding internet hate of the Call of Duty franchise, it appears Battlefield 3 did little to dent the mammoth pull Activision have on FPS gamers around the world. The franchise is going from strength to strength, bringing in numbers only dwarfed by GTA V. It's not like BF3 was a bad game, in fact it was one of the best looking FPS I have ever played. It was a game of highs that also featured many lows, most notably a short uninspired campaign. 2012 from EA brought a lacklustre Medal of Honor title that didn't help EA's cause one bit. 2013 sees DICE return with the next instalment in the Battlefield franchise. Have they finally hit all the vital selling points to take down Call of Duty: Ghosts?
Battlefield 3 was a game that shone on a high end PC, but it still performed admirably on the Xbox 360 and PS3 respectively. Environments still looks beautiful, character models were amazing and it ran smoothly throughout my entire time playing. Battlefield 4 on current gen consoles doesn't receive this same kind of treatment. Obviously being prepped for optimal performance on the Xbox One and PS4, it appears that current gen owners are going to be receiving an experience that contains many cop outs we expect from lesser quality titles.
On the Xbox 360 I experienced screen tearing, anti-aliasing and low resolution textures as well as the perfectly played fog effect to lessen the graphical load on the system. While it is obvious Frostbite 3 is pushing these machines to the limit, the overly ambitious nature of the games destruction has taken a toll. Collapsing set pieces will look beautiful pre and post explosion, but the collapsing pieces will look terrible. Instead of a smooth motion, a wonderful spectrum of graphical mishaps will occur before it settles down nicely again. It's noticeable enough to be annoying and take away from the true spectacle.
I may be a bit harsh as the majority of Battlefield 4 still looks outstanding. Character models are outstanding as we have come to expect. Overall the environments are diverse and full of life, but this isn't just a game. It's from one of the biggest publishers in the world and we expect that top notch AAA quality from them. If certain things couldn't be achieved on the current gen consoles then toning back may have been a valuable choice. Multiplayer maps that don't have all the huge game defining changes as on next gen consoles wouldn't have been a deal breaker since they are well thought out as it is. This game still looks better than most, and you do have to nitpick to find these negatives, but when you are coming up against Call of Duty these things matter.
The audio in this game is as you would expect, absolutely top notch. Characters sound great and the sound effects are perfect. There is nothing better than playing Battlefield 4 with the surround sound pumped up loud! The unique sound of every different weapon coupled with the crunching sounds of a crumbling battlefield makes this an audio orgasm. You get a real sense of thrill that is accompanied by an up tempo soundtrack to really get the heart racing.
Battlefield 4 is a brilliant game that finally merges nearly everything we’ve loved about the series over the years all into one big, epic package that will satisfy nearly any online FPS fan. It does have it’s share of issues, but they don’t get too much in the way. Especially since the focus is more on multiplayer rather than the campaign. But EA decided that they had to have a campaign anyway; which lasts for under 5 hours and comes with the standards we’ve come to expect with the series – quality voice acting, big buildings being blown up, solid production values and over the top action.The maps are nice and varied, from close quarters to large open spaces, coupled with a decent campaign; it does give Call of Duty: Ghosts a run for it’s money, but falls short with it’s rather uninspired storyline. One is left with a feeling if this should have been an online only game?
Multiplayer is where you’ll find all the action and predominantly gamers’ focus. The online play is pretty breathtaking, with a huge range of features coming together – like Commanders, a Battlelog system that finally works nicely, destruction of whole buildings large and small, great visuals, and a solid unlock and gunplay system that really does feel like a near-perfect “average” of everything that has been good about Battlefield games in the past.
Specific to multiplayer, maps have been carefully designed to give tactically inclined players a better chance. If you’re going to roam around aimlessly in a tank, be prepared to face the consequences; even against an engineer! In multiplayer, Battlefield 4 comes complete with some old favorite modes as well as a few new ones to try out. Battlefield fans will be familiar with Conquest, Rush and Deathmatch variants. But the game also comes with some cool new game modes, which are: Obliteration, Domination, Defuse and Commander mode. Commander is my new favourite, with one player given a entire view of the Battlefield and the ability to deliver instructions to teammates. It takes this harmonious teamwork a new level of trust, and those who can work together will be victorious.
Finally, the real revolution, not to get confused with a game-mode, Levolution as, they’ve termed it – is essentially damage effects. No building is safe, it can be destroyed and everything in it will be destroyed as well. Anyway, The damage effects combined with the weather effect give a more realistic feel to the game. The weather often changes, mostly for the worse as battles progress.The weather effects often alter the way you need to play. The wind during the Paracel Storm map, for instance, requires snipers to aim to the left or right depending on the direction of the wind.
Battlefield 4 is pretty much what you expect from this title. Good visuals that would be enhanced on next gen consoles, a countless number of explosions and fun gameplay. Sure, the single player is a bit mediocre and tedious but, that isn't what counts for Battlefield. The multiplayer in this game is amazing and revolutionary, with a whole new element added. Having to plan ahead knowing that how the map looks at the beginning, won't be the how it is at the end is an awesome concept.
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 9/10
Gameplay - 8.5/10
Overall - 8.5/10
Posted by iPhone Reviews at 12:40 AM
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
The ultimate soccer experience is back and better than ever. It's another year and Electronic Arts are back with one of the biggest franchises in gaming history. I reckon it must get hard for the developers to continually innovate after so many years on the same generation of consoles. FIFA 13 was a standout that brought Attacking Intelligence, First Touch Control, Player Impact Engine and Tactical Free Kicks to the sport for the very first time. This is more about fine tuning and calibrating to make a game that is still fun and accessible for both the lifelong player and first time adopters of the FIFA franchise.
When you are making the same game every year on a platform that stays the same you are eventually going to hit a graphical peak. FIFA 13 was a beautiful game with excellent player models and detail in all faces when up close animations are shown. This years game isn't a big improvement on last years title, in fact you could put the improvements at minimal. A few players look more like their real world counterparts, but overall it looks just like last year. This isn't a bad thing though, FIFA 13 was one of the prettiest games around and still is to this date.
The main improvements come in the physics engine and a refinement in the reactions of players. In the past couple of years, players wouldn't follow a set animation in collisions and instead the speed, angle and force of those involved was taken into account. Often you would find a tangling of players bodies or glitches causing unnatural movements that would slightly detract from the overall game. The majority of these are gone and the players react more like their real world counterparts. A few more options have been put into the game like the ability for players to dive to keep the ball in, all minimal changes that just nudge the game a bit closer to the real thing. Overall its the prettiest and most glitch free FIFA yet.
Audio in FIFA 14 follows the same level of improvement that past titles have had. The commentators as always have a huge set of conversational pieces to talk about and react perfectly to whats happening in the game. There are a few new pieces added in, but essentially the same high standard has been maintained. The crowd sound great and a loud roar when you score the winning goal in overtime never gets old.
This years addition to the franchise has a host of key features that merely refine and enhance what we had previously instead of completing rewriting the book. New features include precision movement, pure shot, real ball physics, protect the ball, teammate intelligence, sprint dribble turns and dribble touches. A new addition to FIFA Ultimate Mode for this year is also the incorporation of legends to be placed in your side. A nice touch of nostalgia which has worked a treat in other titles such as the NBA 2K series.
Making the players act like their real like counterparts has been a focus area for EA for this years edition of the game. This is where the new features precision movement, pure shot and shot/dribble physics come into play. Players now feel more athletic, more explosive and have the motion we expect of a world class athlete. I found the game to be an all round faster experience with fast breaks and outbursts of speed a welcome experience. Playing against friends who focus on precision passing can now be taken on with a gutsy burst of speed to take the ball away and manoeuvre your way to goal. I liked this faster paced action and it brought a new level of excitement to what has been called a boring sport.
The ball now reacts better than ever to how it is kicked. Off balanced shots and rushed shots at goal aren't going to produce results anywhere near as clean as a well timed shot. Players are smarter with their positioning and this doesn't just mean the AI. Your own player will position his body in the best possible spot to have clean contact with the ball, just as they would in real life. Messi isn't going to take an ill advised shot if he can adjust his position to improve his chances, and neither will you anymore. Dribbling and passing is now refined so you have better control and less predictability with the top players. The reward for effort is a positive instead of a stupid mistake occurring even when you have performed a seamless move.
I absolutely love, I repeat LOVE what they have done with the menus. For once, I am not dumbfounded about how to find what I want. In a Windows-esque tile formation everything is now easy to find in collections of menus that actually make sense. All your favourite modes have returned with slight variations to career mode in particular. A new hub makes it an easier process and gets you into the action faster. It is all about being cleaner, and smarter which correlates nicely with the position on the field.
FIFA 14 isn't a game changer, but it definitely an improvement all round compared to FIFA 13. A little tweak here and a minor adjustment there have gone a long way to making sure FIFA stays head and shoulders above the competition. This is the most realistic and authentic soccer experience to date. Sure, some players won't like the faster paced action that is generally defined by the Pro Evolution Soccer series. But those who can master control of both the ball and the player will benefit from the fluidity in their game. Those failing to cope will be left behind, but this is where the skill games come in to give us a tutorial of sorts that will actually do more than teach the basics, actually enhancing your skill level. Millions of players worldwide online and the return of all the modes you love will make this an irresistible package.
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Gameplay - 8.5/10
Overall - 8.5/10
Posted by iPhone Reviews at 5:40 AM