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E3 2013 Preview: Battlefield 4

When Battlefield 4 was revealed at the EA press conference this year, we got to see 64 players all join the battle at once up on stage. Our first reaction? “That has to be smoke and mirrors.” We were incredibly skeptical that 64 player matches on a scale that big would actually work. Lucky for us, Battlefield 4 was playable on the show floor, which made it very easy to kick our skepticism to the curb…. after shooting it with a mortar.

The stages in Battlefield 4 are absolutely huge, and they would have to be to support 64 players. Walking across the map takes a horrendously long time. In fact, you might not be able to walk from one edge to another over the course of an actual match. Instead, you have to use vehicles and fast travel to get around the map. Vehicles generally spawn outside of control points while you can respawn/fast travel to the location of any of your still living squad mates.

Victory in Battlefield 4 is kind of a combination of control points and death match modes in current day shooters. Each team of 32 has a limited amount of tickets that they can use before their team loses the battle. A team loses its tickets whenever a team member dies, but loses far more whenever a control point is taken. Capturing control points is easily the quickest way to defeat your enemy but you can win a victory simply by killing everyone in sight like a madman.

There is a ton of dynamic terrain in Battlefield 4. The big centerpiece of the map was a Skyscraper with a capture point on top of it. Not only could you battle enemies throughout every floor of the skyscraper, but if you controlled the capture point, you could spawn there and quickly parachute down to any other location on the map. However, there were also support beams at the bottom of the building that could be shot out with heavy artillery. If your opponents manage to take out these beams, the whole building comes down killing everyone on top or inside of it and ruining the quick parachute location. So anyone who takes the center point will actually have to defend it on two fronts.

Each capture point in Battlefield 4 kind of feels like its own microscopic game of King of the Hill. One capture point, for example, was situated on a tiny island connected by a few bridges. You could blow these bridges up to make it harder to get to the point, or constantly bombard your enemy with chain gun fire from a variety of military boats.

Even though the scale of Battlefield 4 matches were far larger than anything we have seen before, you still felt like you were making a difference. If you were the one to bring down the building for the center point, you were a military rock star. If you managed to capture a point for your team and then take off in a helicopter, you were an action hero. In fact, that’s the tone of Battlefield 4 in a nutshell — huge battles won by tiny personal victories. Call of Duty: Ghosts didn’t show off its multiplayer at this year’s E3, and it better watch out. Battlefield 4 is looking to kick it off the shooter throne.

Battlefield 4 is expected to come out on October 29th 2013 for current generation consoles and slightly later for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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