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The Stranded BF4 BETA Impressions

October 2, 2013

I know that not everyone has time to post their impressions, but even brief comments are welcome.

I haven’t even tried it yet, but I hope to within the next couple of hours. Johann says it looks extremely plain. We agreed that as was the case with BF3, the HD Textures patch has not yet been deployed. The BETA is strictly for gameplay balance, and systems and server testing. Also, I have had a chance to play around with the new Battlelog and it is very slick. I spent quite a bit of time tweaking my loadouts, emblem, and checking out the new ribbons. It is all very intuitive. There are two “Gadget” slots now, so you can place each gadget on the right or left side of the D-pad for smoothest muscle memory transition between BF games. At a glance, it would appear that they have cranked the “role-playing” element up a notch. At least in the BETA, the choices are almost zero for weapons etc. Everything must be unlocked. I don’t mind because I will be fighting through the pain regardless. However, it goes against the advice I gave them in the forums. If their weapons are unbalanced, latecomers are going to be crushed after the vets have put in their time.

UPDATE: My impressions embedded after the jump (for those arriving from other sites).

Just a couple of quick notes:

Bottom line – this is a full on sequel that is at least as different from BF3 as BF3 was from BF:BC2. It is a whole new game, and upon acclimatizing, I am confident that it will be just as difficult to go back to BF3 as it is currently to go back to BF:BC2. The changes are that dramatic (and ultimately, good, I think). See GAME CHANGER at the bottom for the main reason it is so different.

OK, now for the details:

Grymm and 4GN played for about three hours last night. The beta crashed for all of us many times (awful), but that provided the opportunity for the new squad-up networking code to reveal how nice it is. It will automatically put you on your friends’ team, in your friends’ squad, unless there isn’t room. In which case, after the round is over, it will automatically transfer you to their team and put you in their squad. It is a HUGE improvement in that aspect of the battlefield experience.

The BETA looks like Halo 1 for textures on buildings etc., but the character models are quite pretty. You will immediately notice your hands, gloves etc. as they move in front of you.

The emblem I created on Battlelog appeared on my gun and tank. It was quite surprising to see a “Japanese Flag” on the side of my Chinese Tank! Very cool! The emblems that we will see will no doubt remind us of the pin-ups on the aircraft of wars past.

DICE effed with the control scheme. They deserve to have poop smeared on their desks, monitors, and keyboards every morning for at least a week.
I just about had an aneurysm on several occasions. The “Back” button is now the “Battlelog” button, and everything that used to be “B” has been moved to “X”. Having played nearly 700 hours of BF3 and BF:BC2 combined, it is going to take me days (of gametime) before I stop pulling up the battlelog when I want to spot an enemy. Also, it changes the way I play because I used to press the “Back” button while I was shooting the enemy; it was my call for help. It meant that with my K/D at 0.64, I always left the enemy marked before I died. So far, I haven’t figured out how I will be able replicate that playstyle. Hopefully, I can get the finger thumb movements down sooner rather than later.

There is no more killing around corners. YES!

The explosives feel like real explosives doing major damage, with considerable splash damage.

If you use the AK-Garbage, as I call it, be sure to equip it with the Muzzle Brake and the Ergo Grip. It will make a HUGE difference in your ability to take down enemies.

There were no points awarded for helping a teammate heal with the single use first aid pack. I don’t even know if there will be a First Aid “Station”, and whether or not that will provide points.

The scoring system is completely different, but it didn’t feel unfair.

Suppression is almost unnoticable, in effect, award, and points. It is still there, but happens much less frequently and with much less intensity.

KNIFE FIGHTS!!! Twice I countered a knife attack and the second time, I not only survived, but plugged the enemy’s knife into his own belly. It was a Battlefield moment. THAT, will never, ever get old.

On the other hand, for whatever reason, the primary/secondary weapon swap that made me feel like such a bad ass is much less effective now. I think the animations take longer than they do in BF3 and so I was never able to pull out my pistol in time to do any damage with it.

The GAME CHANGER – you can lean out and shoot people. This changes EVERYTHING! It is no longer a run and gun game. People are hiding behind cover everywhere, waiting for you to run your ass out into the open so they can pump it full of lead.

There is a death cam now, showing you in orange, the enemy who killed you. This is far more necessary in BF4 than for BF3 because of the people leaning out from behind cover. You get killed from enemies hiding behind cover, and you will want to know who shot you and from where.

Elevator spawn killing (unique to the Shanghai map): Waiting for the enemy to arrive on the elevator at the top of the Skyscraper is popular, and I suspect over time, people will either figure out some clever way of countering it, or stop riding the elevators and just bring the base to them (bring down the tower). That is what we started doing.

“I’m gonna kill all of ‘em!” Has now become, “I’m gonna camp all of them!”

Ultimately, it feels like the game is just a lot more “hardcore”. I think that map knowledge, smart thinking, and good tactics will be considerably more important than they were in BF3.

The button changes are killin’ me, literally, but all the rest I think is for a better game. Time will tell. I’ll be “testing” it some more tonight. “Research” as they say.


'Suns out.

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23 Comments
  1. Herandar permalink
    October 2, 2013 5:41 am

    I love the gameplay that I have seen on Twitch/Youtube. Given that it is an iterative game, all of the changes look positive to me. Would like to see Commander play, since that is the big *new* feature, and the only aspect with a real possibility of them screwing it up.

  2. October 2, 2013 5:45 am

    Could Not join any Conquest yesterday. Had a hard time even joining Domination, kept getting “Can not join server error”. Can anyone find out why? Seems a number of people that I talked to had a similar problem, but I also know that people Did get into Conquest.

    Domination is fun, but more of a mini-game of Conquest.

    My last match last night, I played with some of my new BF3 friends, and we not only dominated for the win, but I went 19-10. Not bad for day 1.

    Does look plain, but not worried about textures. I’ve seen enough vids / trailers, that this is a non issue. I do question destructibility. Some things are not destructible that I thought would be. I’ll do some “testing” with my grenade launcher tonight.

    Battlelog is sweet. I have it on the PC for BF3, but last night, I got the app on my Ipad2. Slick and can’t wait to use it properly when I get the Xbox One.

    Speaking of Battle log, I went to the forums for a while last night. Lot of unhappy people (seem mostly PC guys complaining).

    I think I’ll like the new control scheme. Already getting used to it. Haven’t knifed anyone yet, but I did kill a guy with a counter knife. 🙂

    I’m a spotting fool. Like, like the right bumper control for this.

    Grenade launcher is much improved. Sounds good. More realistic trajectory. Good visual feedback (I can see it Hit it’s mark better).

    Loving the new squad spawn feature. Pick who I want to spawn on, while getting a bird’s eye view.

    Can’t wait to play more (as long as I can figure out how to get into a Conquest game), otherwise this beta will get very stale….

  3. Herandar permalink
    October 2, 2013 5:46 am

    How does spawning work on console? Is it like BF3 or like PC (move a arrow with your joystick acroos the overview screen to select vehicles to spawn on)?

    • October 2, 2013 8:45 pm

      I forgot to address your question in my comment.

      It is basically the PC UI, but on a joystick, so needless to say it is very cumbersome. At this point, I hate it, but I suppose I will get used to it like I did the loadout selection in BF3. Plug my nose and deal with it.

  4. October 2, 2013 7:14 am

    I agreee with your points regarding progression Suns, but they’ll offer an unlock purchase as they always have,

  5. October 2, 2013 7:43 pm

    Just a couple of quick notes:

    Bottom line – this is a full on sequel that is at least as different from BF3 as BF3 was from BF:BC2. It is a whole new game, and upon acclimatizing, I am confident that it will be just as difficult to go back to BF3 as it is currently to go back to BF:BC2. The changes are that dramatic (and ultimately, good, I think). See GAME CHANGER at the bottom for the main reason it is so different.

    OK, now for the details:

    Grymm and 4GN played for about three hours last night. The beta crashed for all of us many times (awful), but that provided the opportunity for the new squad-up networking code to reveal how nice it is. It will automatically put you on your friends’ team, in your friends’ squad, unless there isn’t room. In which case, after the round is over, it will automatically transfer you to their team and put you in their squad. It is a HUGE improvement in that aspect of the battlefield experience.

    The BETA looks like Halo 1 for textures on buildings etc., but the character models are quite pretty. You will immediately notice your hands, gloves etc. as they move in front of you.

    The emblem I created on Battlelog appeared on my gun and tank. It was quite surprising to see a “Japanese Flag” on the side of my Chinese Tank! Very cool! The emblems that we will see will no doubt remind us of the pin-ups on the aircraft of wars past.

    DICE effed with the control scheme. They deserve to have poop smeared on their desks, monitors, and keyboards every morning for at least a week.
    I just about had an aneurysm on several occasions. The “Back” button is now the “Battlelog” button, and everything that used to be “B” has been moved to “X”. Having played nearly 700 hours of BF3 and BF:BC2 combined, it is going to take me days (of gametime) before I stop pulling up the battlelog when I want to spot an enemy. Also, it changes the way I play because I used to press the “Back” button while I was shooting the enemy; it was my call for help. It meant that with my K/D at 0.64, I always left the enemy marked before I died. So far, I haven’t figured out how I will be able replicate that playstyle. Hopefully, I can get the finger thumb movements down sooner rather than later.

    There is no more killing around corners. YES!

    The explosives feel like real explosives doing major damage, with considerable splash damage.

    If you use the AK-Garbage, as I call it, be sure to equip it with the Muzzle Brake and the Ergo Grip. It will make a HUGE difference in your ability to take down enemies.

    There were no points awarded for helping a teammate heal with the single use first aid pack. I don’t even know if there will be a First Aid “Station”, and whether or not that will provide points.

    The scoring system is completely different, but it didn’t feel unfair.

    Suppression is almost unnoticable, in effect, award, and points. It is still there, but happens much less frequently and with much less intensity.

    KNIFE FIGHTS!!! Twice I countered a knife attack and the second time, I not only survived, but plugged the enemy’s knife into his own belly. It was a Battlefield moment. THAT, will never, ever get old.

    On the other hand, for whatever reason, the primary/secondary weapon swap that made me feel like such a bad ass is much less effective now. I think the animations take longer than they do in BF3 and so I was never able to pull out my pistol in time to do any damage with it.

    The GAME CHANGER – you can lean out and shoot people. This changes EVERYTHING! It is no longer a run and gun game. People are hiding behind cover everywhere, waiting for you to run your ass out into the open so they can pump it full of lead.

    There is a death cam now, showing you in orange, the enemy who killed you. This is far more necessary in BF4 than for BF3 because of the people leaning out from behind cover. You get killed from enemies hiding behind cover, and you will want to know who shot you and from where.

    Elevator spawn killing (unique to the Shanghai map): Waiting for the enemy to arrive on the elevator at the top of the Skyscraper is popular, and I suspect over time, people will either figure out some clever way of countering it, or stop riding the elevators and just bring the base to them (bring down the tower). That is what we started doing.

    I’m gonna kill all of ’em!” Has now become, “I’m gonna camp all of them!

    Ultimately, it feels like the game is just a lot more “hardcore”. I think that map knowledge, smart thinking, and good tactics will be considerably more important than they were in BF3.

    The button changes are killin’ me, literally, but all the rest I think is for a better game. Time will tell. I’ll be “testing” it some more tonight. “Research” as they say.


    'Suns out.

    • Blankman permalink*
      October 2, 2013 8:01 pm

      Meh. 😉

    • October 2, 2013 8:50 pm

      LOL!

      I thought about you the whole time I was playing it, brother, and I don’t know that you will want to jump in with us. I hope you do, but while it is completely different from BF3, it is still firmly in its genre, and that isn’t something that has appealed to you of late.

      Much love!

    • October 3, 2013 5:45 am

      Been playing the Beta the last 2 days with 3 guys I met playing BF3. We work together, and I think we’ve won every full game we played.

      Got a double knife kill last night. Two snipers at the end of the street at B on Domination. They were so focused on pulling their triggers, that I took the 1st guys tags as he was standing right next to his buddy. They must not have had mics on (and he kept himself in scope mode), because I was fully expecting sniper #2 to try and kill me after I finished stowing tags #1. Nope, he kept on shooting down the street, till I left him in a puddle, and headed down to take B.

      I’m loving this game. And once I get a gun and sights that I like, look out noobs!

      Few things:
      1) Revive window is pretty small. If you think you’re not gonna make it there in time, then.. don’t bother.
      2) Grenades seem to explode almost upon landing. No chance to respond / run.
      3) I’ve been playing mostly domination, because on Conquest it really needs the full 64 players, as I spend a lot of time running between bases, while dodging choppers and vehicles. For infantry like me, this means I score a lot more points on Domination.
      4) Love that the Assist now counts as a Kill feature. It takes the some of the sting away when I die just before killing a guy, only to see his name pop up a few seconds later “97 assist points, count as a kill”.
      5) Everyone on the forums is complaining of roof campers. I’ve done a little, but as soon as I clear out a street, I glide down and take the base. I also find a grenade launcher is a nice start to soften them up, then spot and switch to my AR. — When on the street, you just gotta be aware of how exposed you are from above. Like on B base, I’m usually on the far side of the burning truck / flag, so snipers can’t get me.
      6) A few game crashes, and even had my Xbox freeze twice so far.

      And yes, it’s gonna take some time to get used to the new buttons.

    • October 3, 2013 5:15 pm

      I am all love and hate with this game right now. I know that as played in the videos with all the players and all the textures, it will be very dynamic and thrilling, but as you said, Conquest is just awful without more players (and the beta is hosting all we will get on the 360 in the final build).

      I don’t know if this is because of the poor graphics right now or not, but I have difficulty seeing the enemy, let alone spotting them.

      Speaking of the roof, yesterday, I secured it (i.e., camped the elevator and ladder) while 3GN secured the streets from the roof, if you know what I mean. After a while, however, the lead started closing because we had lost all the bases.

      There are truly epic moments, but this game needs to be played on a next-gen system. I feel almost lucky that we can’t buy the One at launch. It will give Microsoft and DICE a chance to prove to me that theirs is the platform and game I want.

      By the way, I think they changed the controls in anticipation of the new “back” button-less One controller. Didn’t mean that they had to change the 360 controls, but then again, it gives us a more accurate impression of what it will be like to play with the new controller.

  6. October 2, 2013 10:32 pm

    Can’t wait to try it out! Glad that the lean feature stayed in the Console version. There have been many PC/Console games, where the console version didn’t keep this feature (due to mappable buttons possibly?). It definitely adds to a tactical feel, the Call Of Duty series for example, plays a lot less run and gun with this feature.

    Excited to see how it looks/plays on the “real version” (XBONE).

    I probably wont be able to do much gaming before the console launches. Tons of projects at work, and taking two classes. Not to mention a puppy who is as needy as he is loving. 😉

    I am excited to use my Surface Pro 2 for the “tablet” xbox experience. It will be interesting to see how it plays on Battlefield.

  7. Herandar permalink
    October 3, 2013 6:57 pm

    “It will automatically put you on your friends’ team, in your friends’ squad, unless there isn’t room. In which case, after the round is over, it will automatically transfer you to their team and put you in their squad.“

    Halle-freaking-lujah!!! This might probably be the greatest improvement in the game for me. I will be playing the beta starting tomorrow, but I am going to hold off on buying the game for a while. I have been too busy with work and coaching to really play lately, and the game will be cheaper in January.

  8. Herandar permalink
    October 4, 2013 5:03 am

    Downloaded first thing this morning and played it. Yeah, the controller re-map sucks, especially when you spawn in a tank and cannot figure out how to exit the tank to repair it. And conquest is a desolate wasteland on ye olde consoles.

    That said, I got my first dog tags, and I shot down a helicopter that was hovering a little too low over the tower with a blind fire RPG. I only played for about ten minutes (before the XBox froze), but now that I am at work, I will fiddle with Battlelog. Love that things (avatars, vehicles) have weight and do not go from zero to max speed instantly.

  9. October 4, 2013 2:52 pm

    I wanted poop to be smeared on their monitors and keyboards, but slapping their faces will suffice. 😉

    http://www.vg247.com/2013/10/03/battlefield-4-we-should-be-slapped-for-bf3s-unlocks-says-creative-director/

    “So that’s what we’ve tried to do; the full set-ups are supposed to be quite easy to learn and to master, and from there you can start unlocking things and seeing what your preferred setup is. So, a lot of learning from Battlefield 3 have gone into making the game.”

  10. rEDChief55 permalink*
    October 5, 2013 7:48 am

    I’m already very used to the new controls. Lots of CoD in the past has helped with this I think. The shooting/gunplay/hit detection is great. Pretty much what I was hoping for. My only issue is the revive paddles which have too short of a window and are unreliable. I haven’t tried them myself but I’ll take everyone else’s word for it.

    Favorite moments:

    Sniping people with the grenade launcher from atop the skyscraper. I’m horrible at adjusting for bullet drop in this game so to hit infantry directly from that high up was a treat. I took out the stationary turret that overlooks the bridge leading to C from the 2nd highest building on the map. It literally took several seconds for the grenade to reach it which was just enough time for the turret operator to escape death.

    Watching Blank RPG a helo

    Sneaking behind 2 enemies as they enter the side of C. The lead guy hits the switch to lower the shutters while the 2nd guy waits just outside the doorway. I knife the guy outside and his buddy is forced to watch since the shutters HE just ironically triggered are now blocking his bullets that are aimed at me while I am in the vulnerable knifing animation. After the stabbing was complete we just looked at each other through the shutters and the game ended seconds later. SUCH an epic moment and thankfully I was the badass in this situation.

    • Johann Nishiki permalink
      October 6, 2013 2:49 am

      There are some truly epic moments. It was awesome seeing you get that grenade launcher shot! 😀

  11. Blankman permalink*
    October 5, 2013 2:40 pm

    I absolutely despise Domination. The true fun is in Conquest. Had infinitely more fun with teammates & vehicles!

    • Johann Nishiki permalink
      October 6, 2013 2:54 am

      It was cool seeing you and my bros wrecking people from the chopper. We love having you in our vehicles because you help us by spotting enemies and repairing. A true Battlefield team player!

  12. October 5, 2013 2:50 pm

    I had a great time yesterday. Lots of moments of laughter from everyone. Playing Conquest with 63 others, as the next gen systems will afford, will truly be a military sandbox experience, with every toy any wannabe soldier could ever ask for. The water cooler moments are created by us as we just go about our business playing the game.

    *I have pretty much given up spotting. Right now, I am just trying to discipline my left thumb to not press the back button, because far worse than missing the spot is the fact that the battlelog gets pulled up on my screen in the middle of a skirmish. That has alleviated much of my stress.

    • rEDChief55 permalink*
      October 5, 2013 3:06 pm

      It’s a 2 step process. First you need to teach yourself NOT to hit the back button. After a few times, I manged to stop. During this time I pretty much spotted NO ONE, as if the feature was gone.

      THEN once that’s under control start using the right bumper. Breaking it down that way seemed to help a bunch.

    • October 6, 2013 12:48 am

      Thanks, rED. Good advice. I had another very enjoyable afternoon playing the game.

  13. Johann Nishiki permalink
    October 6, 2013 2:47 am

    I like most of the changes that are in the beta. My only problems are with the Assault class. Like rED mentioned above, the revives are broken. I don’t mind the new charge system, but the revive window is way too short. I think it was about 8 seconds in BF3, and now it is like 2.5 or 3 seconds.

    I also don’t like that you don’t get points for giving health to a team-mate. I am hoping that this is different once the health station is unlocked.

    I can always adjust to new controls, so that is a non issue for me. But I still think that developers should let us decide for ourselves what kind of controls we want to use.

    Here is a must see video on how to use the XM25 for the Support class. This is why I love Battlefield.

    • October 6, 2013 4:26 am

      I didn’t know this was the same gun I posted about over a year ago!! Ha ha ha You heard it first at the Stranded brothas!

      Totally awesome! Yep. Sandbox full of toys for boys. Will be using this to great effect in the future.

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