My game of the year choice puts me in quite a predicament. I played quite a few games this year. Going by my personal experience, my choice for Game of the Year fits me well for the genre I typically do enjoy more than others. In less than a month, I logged over 100+ hours into it easily, averaging about 3-4 hours a day and even more on top of having a full time job and home responsibilities. On the other hand, there are some that would disagree with me on my choice. Either way, it may not come to a surprise to some that Battlefield 4 is truly my Game of the Year. From midnight on launch night they opened the servers to allow people to play, up until only a week ago, my experience was almost flawless. A midnight launch for an online game go flawless? Can’t really say thats happened for me on an online launch title this year or last year (*cough GTA ONLINE*). I started at midnight and played till 4am without ANY issues and my god was it glorious. Those of you that know me, know that I love shooters. Not just modern shooters, but of all kinds if you have read my previous articles. There is one thing however that very few people can deny. Battlefield 4 is without a doubt, THE shooter of the year. It’s almost no comparison to put CoD: Ghosts in the same category as Battlefield 4. You’ve obviously read by now countless reviews and updated reviews of Battlefield 4, but if you haven’t the jist of negative things being said are that some people are affected by game breaking bugs or crashes. Occasionally games wont load, you’ll be dropped from the game, get DirectX related errors, or something else. While that is really frustrating, DICE can’t be entirely held at fault. The expedited release schedule put on by EA can be held at fault. But despite all of this, the game isn’t necessarily broken. I was able to reach level cap within about 145 hours of game time. Yep, 145 hours of game time of completed matches. Out of that time and more now, there are a lot of reasons why Battlefield 4 quickly became my Game of the Year.
It’s not a Re-Hash
Playing Battlefield 4 for the first time and during the beta I quickly realized how much Battlefield 3 lacked in terms of movement in and around the map. Vehicle movement felt tighter, guns felt fairly refined albeit slightly unbalanced for some classes. New game modes were also introduced in Obliteration. Obliteration, if you don’t know, is a pretty intense team based game mode where each side has three bomb points where the enemy team can plant a randomly generated spawning bomb. Quite possibly the most frustrating game mode, but after winning a match, truly the most satisfying. The maps all feel very different and original. Well maybe with the exception of Flood Zone which does have a striking resemblance to a Modern Warfare 2 map, Flavella. The vanilla maps alone were fantastic, which I couldnt really say was a highlight of Battlefield 3 for me. The team at DICE decided to completely change how suppression works. No longer are the days of having a severely blurry screen in battle that made the game purely luck based, but is now more so tailored to a skill based play style. Sure, you could still shoot around players to make their aim slightly fubared but it isn’t too much to a point of frustration. The new Frostbite 3 engine is actually better optimized to be used with lower/mid range hardware. Gone are the days where you needed to run SLI’ed 680s to run at a high decent 60fps if that is what you desired or could take advantage of. People are getting great and stable FPS with lower end hardware easily.
What innovations are you looking for?
Every year, I take a step back, and look at upcoming releases and ask myself, how can companies reinvent the shooter? Other than changing the scenery and time period? A lot of people say that shooters are simple. I absolutely agree. From the dawn of shooters , you’ve done the simple task of running around and killing people…or well…aliens, capping objectives or defending. Just because the formula is simple doesn’t make it any less fun, the genre always gets shit on for not “innovating”. I call this the CoD effect. Copy, pasting, and rebranding has plagued the Modern Warfare series so much that a lot of negativity has spilled over to the casual Battlefielders. Sometimes simple is simply more fun. To be completely fair, the sales prove it. The one thing I do not agree with in the shooter market is not improving your graphics and sound engine to keep up with the times. Cut, copy , and pasting like the Modern Warfare series has done the past few years is one quick way to alienate your fan base and drive them away. Back to Battlefield, that isnt to say that I dont wish for a 2143 release, because I do. I’d also love to see a Bad Company 3 come out next year and let Battlefield 4 at least have a two year life cycle before Battlefield 5 lands. There’s a lot of room in the franchise for it to appease to all types of Battlefielders.
She’s not perfect, but I love her.
My god, when Battlefield gets intense, it get’s intense. When things click with your clan members, random team mates, or friends, you start racking up points/kills/objectives and you get hooked. Everytime I log in, I see some things that could be better. I see some things that probably need to get fixed. The game isn’t perfect and DICE knows it. Take away the problems (yes, I know thats a tough task for some), and look at the game as a whole, and you’ll see a gem of a shooter.
Honorable Mentions for 2013
-The Walking Dead (Telltale) Season 2