Let’s face facts. The Battlefield 4 beta was never going to be a perfect example of an FPS – its very purpose is to help the developers iron out any kinks before releasing the final game. However, do these issues render it an unplayable mess, or is it actually an enjoyable preview of one of 2014’s most hotly anticipated games?
As expected, the game has more bugs than a motel mattress. The common FPS tactic to reload immediately after killing an enemy, regardless of whether your clip is empty or not, is rendered useless in Battlefield, with whatever ammo you had left in the clip vanishing into the ether. At other times, your character might spawn without any weapons at all, leaving you to run around helplessly trying to shrug enemies to death.
Graphically, it isn’t much of a step forward either. The textures are pretty generic for a modern video game, but then again this is just a beta, and a beta of a game that is being primarily developed for next-gen consoles. It’s bound to look much prettier on PC or an Xbox One/PS4. On a similar note, while PC and next-gen versions of this game will be able to stage massive multiplayer battles, the 360 version is limited to 12 players per team. On smaller game modes this is fine, but on larger ones like Conquest it results in the maps feeling rather empty. It can take quite a while to actually find any one on the other team. Then again, with no bullets and no gun, this might not be a bad thing.
However, these problems aside, Battlefield 4’s beta test is actually pretty fun to play. The four classes are well balanced, so you never get a distinct advantage for choosing to play one way or another. The Domination mode is fast-paced and frantic without feeling overwhelming, and that’s not to mention the destructible scenery. When the map’s centrepiece, a towering Shanghai skyscraper, finally topples over, it’s quite a sight to behold.
If you’ve got a little time to kill over the next week, give the game a try. You could do far worse.