I just murdered at least seven Americans defending an under siege Shanghai ... but I may have befallen my comrades twice as often.
No matter; we won! No thanks to my switching back and forth between a keyboard and Xbox One controller while sampling an epic 64 player Conquest map in Battlefield 4 — the very same map showcased during EA’s press conference earlier this week.
Battlefield 4: Commander Mode, 64 players and all in 60 frames per second on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Those are the headlines that will sell millions of copies later this year, and why you just might finally be able to enjoy the scope and beauty of a PC FPS on next-generation consoles.
The headlines: Commander Mode, 64 players and all in 60 frames per second on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
As sequels become dry and repetitive, this year’s blockbusters have to do something to make us look twice. They need to show true innovation, and remind us why new consoles are so exciting.
Battlefield 4 will do that.
While on the E3 floor I was schooled on PC, delivering a full 64 player experience on consoles is no easy feat — especially when legions of Xbox and PlayStation gamers have just accepted 12 player matches as the norm.
If you thought the map EA demonstrated in its media briefing was epic, wait until you play it. It’s relentless mayhem filled with tanks blasting down a crowed street and unexpected explosions changing the balance of an isolated firefight.
To command a tight victory, the Chinese forces had to control the land, sea and air, all whilst maintaining hold over four capture points. The most central was located atop an abandoned skyscraper and like the traditional “B” point, the hardest and most difficult to maintain — especially when its picturesque skydive is egging you on to jump off the decrepit building into one of the most exhilarating moments I’ve ever experienced in an online game — probably because I jumped before figuring out which button opened the parachute. It didn’t go well.
Little did I know I wouldn’t get a chance to try and avert a deadly plunge a second time. Before I made a daring return, the ruddy Americans decided to bombard the lower supports with C4, sending the massive skyscraper plunging into the ground.
This wasn’t a planned demolition. It was like pulling out a precarious block from the bottom of a wobbly Jenga tower — the mass destruction that ensured scattered across the battlefield, wiping out everything in its path and demanding one hell of a clean up. All in the middle of a 64 player multiplayer game.
While in awe of its vast size, the EA representatives were quick to harp on about the return of Commander Mode, something not seen since Battlefield 2142 and completely unfamiliar to console players.
One player, the Commander, has a tactical bird’s eye view of the entire battlefield and issues orders. He can also deploy aids such as drones, supply crates and temporary radar jamming.
Depending on which capture points where under our team’s control, the Commander had a host of weapons of destruction just waiting to kill everything. His role was seemingly as simple as issuing the team’s core objective, but he could also speak individually to smaller five-man squads.
The re-addition of a Commander, who never sets foot on the battlefield, gives a chaotic 32 player team much needed guidance. Rarely will you be running around without direction, as an unseen leader will be working tirelessly behind the scenes to make certain a majority of the team is moving in the right direction.
Though my time with Battlefield 4’s multiplayer was brief, it’s one of the most stunning multiplayer games I’ve played since, well, Battlefield 1942. The map was amazing, the unspoken temporary allegiances between players gels unbelievably well, and the destructive environments are the epitome of next-generation with a genuine impact on shifting the balance of a firefight. With 64 players on consoles, Battlefield 4 is in prime position to become the must have multiplayer game when the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 launch later this year.