Last week, the Battlefield 4 beta went publicly live. Initially—at least to my knowledge—you needed to get a code from a copy of Medal of Honor: Warfighter to play the beta. It was a cheap, below-the-belt ploy, from EA, to sell copies of a game that would never sell otherwise.

Really, Warfighter might’ve been the worst game to grace our T.V. screens this century. That game alone—not the micro-transactions or the pay-in multiplayer or all of the other things people needlessly, and incessantly, bitch about—would warrant EA’s second annual Worst Company in America victory.

I’m glad EA had a change of heart, because I—and, I’m sure, many others—did not want to buy Warfighter at all, especially for the sole reason of brief accessibility to an upcoming game. And after playing Battlefield 4 (beta!) for a week, I’ve gotta say that it’s good EA didn’t tie the two games together. Had they, it would’ve been a travesty: Battlefield 4 (beta!) is not that good.

Well, I shouldn’t say that. That’s a bit unfair of me. Let’s just say the game is, very clearly, still in a beta state.

Remember Battlefield 3’s beta? It was beautiful. Just an absolute stunning display of graphical power. Battlefied 4’s is not. Supposedly, D.I.C.E. designed a new engine, Frostbite 3, and this game is the first to utilize it. It is odd, then, that 4 is far uglier than 3—Again, I’m just comparing the betas; comparison to Battlefield 3, as a fully launched game, wouldn’t necessitate any discourse.

3‘s Operation Metro, the only level offered in the beta, was lush and vivid, a veritable rainbow of colors. The lighting was resolute in its realism; shadows extended and moved believably, sunlight twinkled off water and through leaves. Every texture lent to the façade of holy-shit-this-looks-just-like-Paris—only very, very destructible.

operation metro
Operation Metro

4’s Siege of Shanghai, also the only playable level, is the aesthetic opposite. In fact, this beta could’ve been in black and white, and I would’ve barely noticed. On top of that, the streets are linear and empty. I get that an urban, war-torn FPS environment almost mandates linear, empty streets, but, at the very least, give us some cover. A few broken down cars doesn’t cut it, especially when they’re all red. That’s just lazy, D.I.C.E..

To make things worse, Shanghai looks—not exaggerating—worse than Halo. Not Halo Anniversary, but Halo, the 2001, OG Xbox shooter. Don’t get me wrong, Halo looked great … twelve years ago! Everything in Battlefield 4 is blocky and flat looking; it’s not even close to the amount of detail in Battlefield 3.

Siege of Shanghai

And, for the sour pickle on top, it’s buggy. Like, Amazonian levels of buggy. At the start of every map, I’d be locked into a forward-backward axis, no gun or targeting reticle in sight. Then I’d spawn and, in true Battlefield fashion, take a bullet through the brain. That’s fine and all, but I couldn’t help but feel that, if I’d had those few seconds of control, maybe I could have taken two bullets through the chest instead. Battlefield games sure have their share of frustrations, but it seemed a lot more like shoddy programming, not player-to-player infuriation.

Graphic fidelity—or shall I say, “infidelity”—of this sort is, honestly, insulting. We are four weeks away from a new console generation and this is just unacceptable. In addition, we’re two weeks away from Battlefield 4 shipping for current consoles. The difference in time from Battlefield 3’s beta to launch was comparable—fifteen, as opposed to fourteen, days.

Since 3, as a game, looked identical to its beta, it should be assumed that the same will happen with 4. This is not good. I’m really hoping that, since it’s optimized for PS4 and Xbox One—and, obviously, PC, but come on—it’ll run smoother and look better and, really, just be more fun for the next generation. But, as it stands now, be wary of purchasing it for Xbox 360 or PS3.

And, hey, in other news:

Pokémon X & Y are out! Who cares about anything else!?!?? 

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One Comment

  • The beta did look like shit on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but I’m not surprised. For higher graphical quality, DICE recommends a 10+ GB install on the Xbox 360, and the beta was such a small file.

    I’m willing to bet it will look just as good as Battlefield 3, but yeah, it should look much better on next-gen consoles and PC. Personally, I thought the map they chose was awful, just from a design standpoint. Shanghai will play a lot better with the 5 control points on XB1, PS4 and PC, but it’s just not fun with the 3 control points on current-gen consoles.

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