Battlefield 4 Review

12

Comments

+ Add a Comment
avatar

Rift2

The only game I'm playing is Naval Strike Battlefield 4
and just finished up Dark souls 2.

I just play on my days off I can't see how these kids play for days on end.

avatar

buttersoft

No comment on the netcode, Gordon? BF4 multiplayer itself is designed reasonably. There are too many lock-on weapons, TTK is too high, accuracy is ridiculous given you can just hold the trigger on anything automatic and hit every time. But the game is still battlefield. The vehicles are done fairly well, and a team of bad players working together is stronger than any agglutination of talented loners.

The real problem with the game (aside from crashes and stability issues which are largely being fixed) is the netcode.

Battlefield grew out of the FPS genre, and that first person experience remains the ultimate core of the game. In BF4 it simply doesn't work. The infantry gameplay is complete mush. It's not just the dying-around-corners aspect, the problem goes deeper than that.

All multiplayer first-person-shooters operate at a certain "tickrate." This is the rate at which the server sends updates to the connected player clients. This combines with a player's ping to determine the player experience. As we all know, higher overall delays make for confusing, sloppier gameplay - everyone else seems to react faster than you, you're always behind the action, and the experience soon grows frustrating.

Counter Strike: Global Offensive runs at a tickrate of 60, or 60Hz, but can be upped to run at 120Hz. This is about as snappy as it gets, and it's the reason CS is still at the top of FPS Esports.

BF4 has a tickrate of 10hz, and that cannot be altered. This gives an effective delay, no matter how good your ping and how fast your rig, of 100 miliseconds. Human reaction times average something like 200-250ms, but can be trained. Those of us who play FPS games are normally far faster, at something like 120-150ms. A delay of 100ms is larger than most ppl's pings, and is completely unacceptable. It's like a car manufacturer trying to sell a model with 1950's spec, but games aren't covered by any sort of code or standard to stop them pulling this shit.

This extra 100ms delay means that the outcome of you running into another infantry player is effectively 95% chance. Sure, if you're set up behind cover and/or know they're coming, or jump round the corner at them (given the clientside bias of the code), you have an advantage, and vice versa. But in just bumping into someone, or having something random happen, which is by far the bulk of all encounters, the result will almost always be determined by who is closer to the server's next "tick". It's not quite that simple, and ping still plays a part, but the fact remains that in BF4, compared to other FPS games, you can't react properly to what you see on screen because what you see might already be out of date by a period greater than your reaction time, and you have no way of knowing how big that delay is in each instance so you can't react the same way and buffer in the same responses each time. This all means it hardly matters what you do, and that the skill levels of players in each encounter is less relevant, and that's a bad thing.

In short, playing infantry in BF4 is like playing CS:GO while trapped in amber. You can see all this stuff going on around you, but you can't do anything about it. This is the real reason we're all so f#$king frustrated with the game.

The reason we have this problem is that the overarching PSN and XBOX Live agreements, which DICE/EA has to bow to in order to release the game on those platforms, require any game to use no more than about 10kpbs up- and downstream. In other words games have to run perfectly on a dial-up 56k modem. This is designed to level the playing field, but primarily to sell more games. It's fine for games like CS:GO or COD because those games don't move much more information back and forth than the original Quake used to. Having a high tickrate doesn't put them over the bandwidth limit.

Battlefield is different. Huge, open, heavily-populated, destructible environments filled with fast-moving, player-controlled vehicles all means the game is moving a lot of information back and forth. Thus the enforced super-low tickrate, which equates to the terrible infantry experience of BF4. (Ever wonder why most of the visual cover - barrels, boxes, plants - is handled clientside? It's to save on bandwidth. So *don't* presume that crate you're hiding behind is even there on anyone else's screen; you're probably just squatting down in the open to them. Tons of vids on youtube about this)

The worse news is that it doesn't look like those XBLA and PSN agreements have been updated for XBone and PS4, so the next BF game is going to be just as awful and unplayably mushy as BF4.

TL:DR Those guys posting "Fix the netcode!" on the PC Battlelog posts are probably from the old comp community, and they're right to be doing so. There's nothing stopping DICE coding properly for PC, save that EA takes the approach that we're all just children and we won't even notice the difference.

avatar

AFDozerman

All of what you said is true. I love Battlefield, but there is just SO much wrong with it. I'm also pissed that they've locked it down so much ( EA's fault moreso than Dice).

Whereas I can just play Crysis, Crysis WarHead, Crysis 2, TombRaider, and a ton of other games on Linux through WINE, I actually have to boot back into Windows to play BF3 and 4. Why? Because Origin actually performs a check to see if they are running on Windows or not. Why the hell would you do that??? Other companies take the approach of "well, if you get it to work and you aren't cheating, so what?", but EA actually *checks* to make sure you aren't running in a virtual environment or under WINE.

Sorry if I'm raging with a problem that nobody else has, but Crysis3 and BF3/4 are the only reasons I boot into Windows anymore- the ONLY reason! Origin is the only thing holding me back to Windows right now, and it's all over a game....

avatar

Led Weappelin

A game that is so big huge gigantic epic is bound to have it's flaws. All of them can't be fixed before release and some can't be fixed during beta. The problem is DICE/EA are releasing BF4 with too many flaws and asking it's fan base to shell out a large amount of doe for a game that needs months and months of tweaking. I'm not mad, just disappointed. A company like EA needs to look at this game in particular before the next BF launch.

btw...really enjoying Insurgency on Steam. Hint hint EA.

avatar

The Mac

lets be fair here, its a MASSIVE game, there are bound to be issues.

they cant really have every single pc configuration on the planet..

im not a BF fan, dont own any..but the hate is really unwarranted...

avatar

mhouston100

It's not really a massive game though. Check out Planetside 2 if you want to see a MASSIVE game. (Not hating, just pointing out the difference).

That being said, a lot of the BF4 problems are mirrored in PS2 as well. Poor optimization and super-poor net code makes for a very frustrating experience.

avatar

Army Of One

If you actually owned this game you would understand that the hate IS warranted for this game.

As of now it is much more stable than it used to be but it still has a long way to go.

avatar

JosephColt

Every since release there have only been a few issues for me

I experienced the server crashes the first week like everyone else, then the issue with dying and not being able to get up after being revived(10 times or so during one week), and basically just the "net-code" issues that need to be ironed out.

Out of those three issues I have not experienced any game ruining bugs. I've already clocked like 300 hours, and just right near max level. I don't think I've experienced a single server crash after the first week.

I think the game is great, but some of the choices in the game itself need to be addressed. (Assaulting the air craft carriers is to short considering that is the biggest draw to this game mode).

avatar

methuselah

Have I been caught in a temporal distortion that brought me back in time by three months?

Apparently, without knowing anything about the mechanics of time travel... I have somehow mastered it!

avatar

The Mac

yes you have. Clearly you missed the "January 2014 issue" tag.

avatar

Owl_Eyes_Alpha

An 8? Really? That is a little high. This game is frustrating to play because of hit registration and the tick-rate. I give it a 5.

avatar

jbitzer

Does it make sense to publish a pre-gold review of a game that's been out for months now?