In case you didn’t know, there’s a new 17 minute trailer for Battlefield 4. It’s running on PC and shows a section from a single-player level. I understand that some people are unhappy that they didn’t show off multiplayer, but singleplayer gives them a chance to show off the new Frostbite 3 action (multiplayer visuals are often less impressive without the set pieces and extra special effects) and gives them a chance to wow us at E3 with the multiplayer reveal. The video is above, and after the break we’ll discuss some of the things it shows us that you might have missed.
First of all, based on my predictions, I’m still fairly optimistic. They surprised me with the new engine (although it looks heavily based on Frostbite 2) and there were no weather effects present (unless you count dust) but that could still be to come.
In terms of new things, near the beginning a notification pops up in the top right corner announcing another player set a new high score for a level. This appears to be the evolution of Battlelog, and as somebody who loves leaderboards and finding out what my friends are doing in game, I think it’s a smart move. I’d guess it can be disabled if you want it to be more immersive, but it links in with the community features shown off at the PS4 reveal.
Graphically, it’s impressive (watch the video at 1080p) but still definitely Battlefield. Destruction and particle effects are looking much nicer and lens-flare is still present in abundance. Right near the end of the video there’s a shot of a boat and the water looks absolutely stunning. This is running on PC, but I’d expect to get similar quality visuals at 30fps on consoles, with PCs obviously getting the full 1080p60 (or more).
In terms of gameplay, I know it’s just a campaign trailer, but I didn’t find it as boring as others have suggested. The Battlefield 3 campaign was pretty terrible, and I can’t remember a single character. Within 17 minutes DICE have made me care about the characters in this trailer, thanks to some top-notch voice work and animations. The squad aspect of it brings back memories of the excellent Bad Company 2, and in many ways I think DICE are trying to bring the two franchises together.
In the video we see squad commands being given, the player sprinting around using a grenade launcher to open up new paths, and far more of the destructible environments that were often absent in the third instalment. The gameplay seems fast and punchy, with appropriately paced firefights and meaningful interactions with other characters. I’m hoping there’s a little more choice than is presented in the video, as the narrative seems to be suggesting you have some agency, but I’m looking forward to having a campaign with characters that mean something.
Other than that we can see this is definitely an evolution of the series rather than a radical change. There’s a female soldier towards the end, there’s a decent variety of environments, there’s a couple of new weapons, and evidently with China being involved there’ll be a collection of new vehicles too. I’m impressed with the reveal and I can’t wait for more information over the coming weeks.