These are the impressions of the PlayStation 4 version of Battlefield 4 and not a full review. A critique of the PC version was posted on the site during the game’s launch and can be found here.
The start of Battlefield 4’s campaign has all the thrills and bone-shaking explosions that you’d expect – and hope for – in a blockbuster shooter. Helicopters spiral out of control as you barrel through an unstable, crumbling structure barely resembling a habitable building. Jeeps explode before your eyes, but the steady stream of well-armed enemy soldiers coming your way allows for little time to even consider the ricocheting pieces of shrapnel likely digging into the dirt not 10 feet away. It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun for what’s little more than a new take on an existing formula. For the first time, I was actually excited to play a Battlefield campaign – especially on the PlayStation 4.
And then my data corrupted.
It was disheartening, for sure, but not so much so that I wasn’t willing to wait for a fix and restart a story that had me invested in the action. I deleted the bugged save file, sunk some time into the multiplayer, and attempted a second run through the single-player mode four days after the first issue. My hope was to give the developers breathing room to iron out the kinks before wasting any additional time. During my second run, I completed four total missions, taking me about two hours deeper into the experience. Everything was going smoothly, so I decided to take a small coffee break before making a dash to the finish.
Once again, I came back to an empty save file, with no record of any of those four missions I had just completed.
I didn’t need three strikes to walk away from the plate. Sure, I want to play Battlefield 4’s campaign and down the line, I might just push through the first half again just to see how it all turns out. However, it’s been a full week since the game first launched on the PlayStation 4 and at this time, there’s no fix in sight for what’s a widespread, game-breaking issue. DICE has crafted an experience that looks, feels, and plays better than what we saw just two years ago, but technical issues are holding back what’s an otherwise mechanically sound shooter.
There is good news, though. The multiplayer, while difficult to connect to right after release, has since seen improved stability. It’s easy and quick to find a reliable game to your liking, and that’s an impressive feat when considering the fresh platform and significant player count. Everything from the tight Team Deathmatch to the massive Conquest mode keeps a steady framerate, and the amount of lag experienced during my many hours of play was minimal. Battlefield 4’s sprawling multiplayer features are the reason buy into DICE and EA’s standout title, and I’m happy to report that the few nagging issues seen early on have either been fixed or significantly lessened.
Even with a solid competitive base, Battlefield 4’s data corruption issues make it a difficult game to recommend – at least for the time being. The frustration that comes from sinking hours and hours into a story before losing all your progression makes the multiplayer feature the only real draw before we see a patch, so if that’s the only reason you want to play the game in the first place, add Battlefield 4 to your growing PS4 collection. However, anyone hoping to wring every drop of content out of this full-retail title should wait for the fix before dropping $60. The PS4 isn’t exactly rich in software, but it’s better to buy a fully functioning game like Killzone: Shadow Fall than a currently hobbled product like Battlefield 4.