The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Three years since I came back: A retrospective on Battlefield 4

“A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened.” —Albert Camus

Three years ago, the seventeen minute-long trailer depicting Recker’s mission in Baku was released; during that time, I had just submitted my undergraduate thesis paper and was preparing for the defense. It’s surprising as to how quickly time passes: a year-and-a-half later, I played through the Battlefield 4 campaign during Origin’s Game Time programme, but back during November 2015, I caught wind of another Origin Black Friday sale and proceeded to pick up the Battlefield bundle (which also includes Battlefield: Hardline in addition to Battlefield 4) for 60 percent off. In effect, I got Battlefield 4 for nine dollars, and Battlefield: Hardline for nine dollars, a fantastic deal. This gave me the opportunity to play through the Hardline campaign back in January and experience the police drama that TheRadBrad experienced back in March (when I was watching his play-through videos in between working on a multi-agent rescue simulator), and on some occasion, I’ve been dropping in to play some of Battlefield 4‘s multiplayer. When I first played through Battlefield 4‘s multiplayer, I had around three days left in my trial period, and I only reached rank four after around four hours of gameplay. I was thrilled to learn that the starting weapons came with attachments, and thanks to the “assist counts as kill” system, maintained a slightly better KD ratio than I did in Battlefield 3. However, over the course of the past three months, I’ve logged an additional thirty-eight hours in the game, and thanks to the monthly deployment events’ double XP weeks, I managed to unlock all of the LMGs and all of the pistols, some carbines and some shotguns. As well, I’ve also been able to unlock some cool new dog tags through the community missions (including the Virgo dog tag, which has quickly become one of my favourites for its design).

This extra time has allowed me to gain a slightly better grasp on the differences between Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4, which were a little more difficult to pick out with only four hours of multiplayer experience. The most noticeable downgrade is the movement system: my soldier feels a lot more sluggish compared to Battlefield 3, and this has gotten me killed on more than one occasion. Movement in Battlefield 3 was more responsive, and experienced players could find ways of extricating from situations where their opponent fired first, allowing them to escape or even counterattack. There’s also an unusual spotting mechanic that causes the soldier to hold out his left hand, effectively locking one from aiming down sights. At close quarters, the resulting decrease in accuracy translated to bullets not hitting their target, and gave away my position, leading to death. I’m sure than someone will be able to provide the technical term for this or better yet, explain how to break out of it, but for now, I’m simply avoiding spotting unless I’m relatively far away. Negatives aside, there are some elements I’ve gotten used to: the more complex loadout menus and bewilderingly diverse range of accessories no longer intimidate me, and I find that it’s very nice to have all of the different options available. Battlefield 4 allows for more customisation than Battlefield 3, and this gives a bit more personalisation (in this post, I’m running with the Ooarai logo from Girls und Panzer in most of my screenshots). The thing that I’m thoroughly enjoying most about Battlefield 4 is the gun-play: guns feel like they hit a lot harder, resulting in more tactile gameplay. On the whole, while perhaps not quite as good mechanically as Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 nonetheless remains quite fun and had solid support until quite recently.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Unlike Battlefield 3, where I tend to be quite consistent, my performance in Battlefield 4 seems to vary all over the place; some days, I’ll be doing exceptionally poorly, while other days, I’ll be somewhere near the top of the scoreboard with a KD ratio of 2.0.

  • Last I played Battlefield 4, it was back during August 2014, after the Giant Walkthrough Brain had finished its first showing. The project was slowing down, as only minor adjustments needed to be made for the Beakerhead performances, and Battlefield 4 had just become available on Origin’s Game Time programme. My goal was to complete the campaign at the time, and I managed to play several hours of the multiplayer, reaching rank four.

  • So, when I returned back during December 2015, I was quite unaccustomed to the control mechanics in Battlefield 4, but fortunately, I had unlocked the M249 for the support class and also had access to the SCAR-H for the assault class. These weapons proved quite effective and I used them frequently to play matches.

  • The assault class improved yet again once I unlocked the M416: my favourite assault rifle in Battlefield 3 (I have 10 service stars with it), its reasonably high rate of fire, controllable recoil and short reload times makes it one of the most versatile rifles in Battlefield 4.

  • I’ve been predominantly playing TDM matches ever since I bought Battlefield 4: it’s the best option for just entering a match for fun and also to experiment with different weapon setups. Most matches have a hundred tickets, so they can be completed over relatively short periods of time. Here, I’m experimenting with the carbine weapon class as an engineer: I’m not too fond of the reorganised weapon setup in Battlefield 4, where PDWs became an engineer-exclusive weapon, while carbine and DMRs became all-class weapons.

  • Looking back, I’ve actually gotten quite a fair portion of the Battlefield 4 arsenal unlocked such that I can play to my preferred style for each class (not shown in this post is the fact that I’ve become somewhat competent with the M40A5), and so, I might start stepping out of my comfort zone to play more conquest and rush matches, provided that I’ve got the time to do so between my existing backlog (more on that in a few figure captions) and other commitments.

  • A section of the Dragon’s Valley map was re-imagined as Noshahr Canals, although the widths of the different pathways in the map means that it handles nothing like the original Noshahr Canals. The charm about the original map was that everything was very tightly packed together, and while there were just enough open spaces such that all play-styles were possible, the map favoured CQC engagements.

  • I think I’m only rank 25 at the time of writing: while I played quite a bit of Battlefield 3 after picking it up in 2013, these days, my gaming backlog is nontrivial and presently, I’m slowly making my way through Valkyria Chronicles, as well as Sniper Elite V2. My workload’s dropped off a little, now that I’m back from my first-ever conference, the next big thing on my plate are the series of presentations our lab will be doing over the next month or two, plus yet another conference publication with a deadline in three weeks.

  • I still have strong memories of playing conquest on this map on a rainy Friday evening after returning home from a lab meeting. I’ve just unlocked the FAMAS in this here moment, a French service rifle that I’ve never used frequently in Battlefield 3. The iron sights are atrocious, blocking out one’s entire field of view and I’ve lost opponents quite frequently as a result. Fortunately, unlike Battlefield 3, the RDS is unlocked after 10 kills, so one need not endure the iron sights for too long.

  • The PDWs are now limited to the engineer class, and here, I’m rocking a pimped-out UMP-45. A careful glance at the image shows that the weapon is sporting the Pure Pwnage logo, and in most of my other images, the Ooarai logo of Girls und Panzer fame can be seen. As I’m not a premium member and have no intention of joining the premium ranks this time around, I don’t have access to some of the special shapes that allow me to reproduce Miporin’s face, so I’ll stick to the Ooarai logo.

  • Besides the M416, the SCAR-H also has performed admirably in my hands as a mid to long-range weapon: I fondly remember a match where I went on an 11-killstreak and ran out of ammunition for my weapon, and was eventually forced to pick up the kit from another player, managing to get some kills off that before running out of ammunition and dying.

  • Ever since I played Battlefield 4 through Game Time, I’ve been using FRAPS to capture all of my in-game screenshots. Thus, when moments such as medals arise, it’s become a simple matter of mashing the screenshot key to permanently record the memory into an image file. Of course, one has to stay alive long enough to capture the screenshot, lest the medal disappear upon death.

  • The assault rifles, LMGs and pistols are my most-frequently used weapons in Battlefield 4 at present simply because of how much infantry-oriented game types I partake in. Battlefield has always been about large-scale battles with 64 players and plenty of vehicles, but I’ve a propensity towards enjoying combat between foot soldiers rather than vehicles.

  • Back during December, I was farming pistol kills during double XP events to unlock all of the pistols, knowing that outside of pistol servers, I would be unlikely to use my sidearms frequently enough to unlock the others. The pistols are actually quite fun and can be split into two camps; there are the lighter-hitting, faster-firing pistols and the so-called skill cannons, which fire slowly but hit like a truck. My favourite pistol is the MP412 REX: ever since I acquired a green laser sight for it, it’s become my preferred sidearm for being able to down any opponent with two shots.

  • I die at the hands of someone using the AEK-971 far more frequently than I do any other weapon precisely because I am a close-quarters player. Cited to be a “tryhard” weapon, the AEK-971 is one of the fastest firing assault rifles in Battlefield 4 and once players learn the recoil patterns, the weapon is highly effective at close to medium ranges. I’ve only a handful of kills with it so far, preferring the M416 because it’s got a faster reload time.

  • While Operation Locker was a map I was not initially fond of, I’ve since grown to appreciate it for its combination of close-quarters environments with longer hallways, making it a highly chaotic environment that is well-suited for shotguns. This map’s dark corners also make it well-suited for ensnaring enemies with M18 claymores (provided that the server will allow them).

  • I’ve been hearing all sorts of rumours concerning Battlefield 5, with some of the more interesting ones suggesting that the game was going to be WWI themed. Some of the more notable YouTube channels (notably, Matimi0) counter that since most of WWI was trench warfare and featured bolt-action rifles and some pistols, it might not accommodate the weapon and accessory diversity that most are used to seeing from a Battlefield game.

  • Official sources state that Battlefield 5 will return to the military from Battlefield: Hardline‘s law enforcement setting, and that is about it for what is reliably known. I was personally hoping for Bad Company 3– the reason Bad Company 2 stood out for me was the insane destruction in the multiplayer and a highly memorable, colourful cast of characters in the single player campaign.

  • Quite recently, I’ve taken to playing with shotguns during some TDM rounds in close-quarters matches such as Operation Locker: the 870 MCS is among the first of the shotguns unlocked, and it is absolutely beastly. It has the highest pellet count of any pump-action shotgun, and proved lethal in the confines of Operation Locker. Later, I returned to Noshahr Canals of Battlefield 3 to try it, and it turns out that the 870 MCS is just as potent a shotgun there.

  • Now that I’m done reminiscing about my memories of Battlefield 4, and with the month of March coming to an end, it’s time to remark that regular programming will resume in April. I’ve gotten the drafts for Aokana and Haruchika now, and those posts should be coming out within the next few days. After that, I’ll be discussing She and Her Cat: Everything Flows and Anthem of the Heart.

I probably won’t play Battlefield 4 with the same frequency that I did for Battlefield 3, but it will be quite fun to join the occasional game and see what happens, especially during events. The XP bonuses are particularly nice, allowing me to unlock weapons and class-specific equipment more quickly, and even though I’m far from reaching the higher ranks, I’m nonetheless making good headway in terms of unlocks. Ever since unlocking the M416 for the assault class, Battlefield 4 feels less foreign than it did when I first played through it during August 2014; in fact, going through Battlefield 4 and unlocking the different weapons and equipment leads me to recall when I first picked up Battlefield 3, where, despite being completely terrible at it, I had great fun with the unlocks. I’m experiencing the joy of unlocks again with Battlefield 4. This time of year is also when news of a new Battlefield typically come out: from the sounds of it, Battlefield 5 is going to release somewhere later this year, and three years ago, a 17-minute trailer was released following the Baku mission. No such trailer was released this year, but it will be interesting to see what the latest battlefield will entail.

5 responses to “Three years since I came back: A retrospective on Battlefield 4

  1. cheesecake October 6, 2016 at 21:56

    BF1 is almost here!


    • infinitezenith October 6, 2016 at 22:16

      I’m quite excited: if the campaign is good, I’ll probably bite the bullet and buy it at launch price. Did you get a chance to play the beta?

      Liked by 1 person

      • cheesecake October 7, 2016 at 00:10

        I am actually excited too (especially my son) but I am just hesitant on one thing… the progression. Given that there is not much technology back then, how are players (and weapons) going to progress?

        Haven’t tried beta. I am actually a console player so I am still on contemplating if I am going to buy the PS 4 Pro (I don’t have PS4 yet) for BF1 and FFXV. Lol.


        • infinitezenith October 19, 2016 at 16:45

          Sorry for the late reply, but I think how Battlefield 1‘s unlock system works is that they’ll have a lot of prototype and experimental weapons, including those that never made it into mass production. This is why they have submachine guns, rifles and limited-production gear, despite their limited use in the actual war, enough to present players with plenty of unlocks. A similar trend holds for the gadgets, with them including experimental stuff. So, there should be plenty of things to unlock.

          I’m experiencing a massive inner struggle as to whether or not I want to buy Battlefield 1 close to launch right now. Chances are, I’ll probably play the trial on PC through EA access, and then decide from there.

          Liked by 1 person

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