So EA unleashed Battlefield 4 after a few ‘leaked’ screenshots and a short trailer (none of which worth linking here). The big reveal is topped off with a 17min video of gameplay… from the campaign. I guess it’s worth noting that this game coincides with EA’s new version of the powerful Frostbite engine, which I’m similarly indifferent about. You can get hype if you wish, Battlefield 4’s media dump so far is a big bowl of Meh Flakes. Care to know why?
Not Speaking My Language:
Call me crazy (and you should), but I’m one of those guys who love Battlefield for its multiplayer. Wild, right? A franchise that broke ground with it’s epic multiplayer (chiefly the strategically satisfying Conquest Mode), is now revealing itself to the world, for the fourth time this console generation, with its campaign. And for the fourth time in a row, I have to completely ignore their hype campaign until they eventually drop the multiplayer trailer and bullet-point details. Think about how surgical and thought-out are these hype campaigns for AAA games, you can bet a lot of thought goes into them. From surprise ‘leaks’ to media dumps that keep journalists busy that entire week, publishers do not take it lightly. So it’s with a heavy heart, as a Battlefield fan, that I once again see them open with honestly the least appealing aspect of a Battlefield game.
Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at this point; I mean this is the fourth go-’round. And maybe I should just square with waiting a bit longer for the info I really wanna read and see. But I can’t shake this itchy feeling that Dice’s efforts are wasted on shoehorning a few hours of campaign gameplay against all possible sense. What do I mean? Well… consider that we have spent the last half of this console generation reading interview after interview of how slapping on multiplayer on what would be a singleplayer game to grab and hold gamers. Ignore speak of ‘added value’, multiplayer not only makes sure games play your game over the competition, it’s a logical platform for DLC like maps, weapons, skins, name it – it exists as DLC. So fine, we had to witness hilarity like Bioshock 2 and Dead Space 2 having multiplayer, whatever.
Wait a Bloody Second…:
But… what exactly is the reasoning for the reverse? By the above logic Battlefield, a series that came out of the gate as a multiplayer experience, was future-proofed for the current social movement of gaming. Why in the world was campaign made into such an important to Battlefield when the industry gave us every imaginable excuse for multiplayer being a requirement for games? Why waste money on the extra production? Hell, I’m inclined to believe Battlefield 3 with campaign resources diverted to multiplayer would have gave us even more maps, vehicles, and weapons (more likely the extra money would go to even more marketing but let’s stay on track). So let’s say I’m a Bioshock and Battlefield fan; I had to deal with the wasted production of Bioshock 2 multiplayer because that’s apparently what the franchise needed, and then pointless campaign modes in Battlefield games because… what? The kiddies want story? What am I missing here?
Oh wait, I know… The Frostbite engine. The Battlefield campaign modes offer better looking environments and models than the system taxing multiplayer, so it’s fair to imagine that EA and Dice can best show off their fancy tech with a campaign mode even unto a series that doesn’t require any such thing. I mean, it’s an impressive engine, leading to some very pretty visuals. And there is an arms race going on with game engines trying to show off how sad they make the next disposable NPC look. Because if there’s anything Mario was missing, it’s the feeling in the eyes of a stomped on Goomba. So now publishers are trying to tell what we wanted all along were graphics that could make us cry or whatever. So EA’s move in this utterly worthless war of super graphics, is to show off Frostbite with Battlefield campaign modes. And about that…
Black Hawk Down Clone #8,352,839,344…:
Listen, when you go out to do a campaign mode, you’re judged by completely different standards than a strictly multiplayer mode. The singleplayer experience is a tricky dog in its own right, where pacing, writing, set-pieces, and more variables have to be balanced accordingly. By this standard I have to say Battlefield could better spend their resources elsewhere. They’re not impressive, “imo”. They could literally be tacked on to any other modern shooter, with tweaking of visuals, of course (BECAUSE FROSTBITE IS POWERFUL DO YOU NOT SEE). And I’m not using my experience as gospel, I’d hazard a guess that most Battlefield 3 players skimmed through the campaign without giving it a second thought, and dived into multiplayer where most their playtime went. I’d go as far as to say if Battlefield 4 was announced to not have campaign in any way, people could build a fort with the f&cks they don’t give about it. In fact I think they’d be happy to know Battlefield’s marquee experience could have extra fund thrown its way.
I could be wrong, but I could be an alien, too. Do not take chances, human thing. Anyway, below is the aforementioned 17mins of Frostbitey military drama that you will not give a damn about the moment you squad up with buddies and capture points in brand new maps. Enjoy the innovative slow-motion saves and grizzled soldier speak and- HOLY HELL did he just remove the scope in-game?!
Oh yeah, this game’s totally coming in the Fall for current major consoles (except WiiU, who’s slowly learning the HD initiative was a waste of time). Up-ports to next gen consoles are pretty much a given. Kalyx out.