E3 2013 Impressions: Battlefield 4

There are always trends at E3, and each year, they differ for many genres. But one genre manages to always be present at the show in full force: the first-person shooter. Our impressions of Call of Duty: Ghosts are on their way, but we wanted to look at the other heavy hitter of the FPS genre this year: Battlefield 4.

We like our shooters. Call of Duty, Killzone, and of course, Halo. But we’ve never been fans of the Battlefield series, for whatever reason. The demo we saw may just change that this year with the release of Battlefield 4 on current and next-gen consoles.

The demo we saw was running on a PC, but that doesn’t mean you should expect too much less for the console varieties, especially those that are next-gen. This game looks gorgeous. It has a genuinely unique art style that emulates cinema-quality movies made by Michael Bay or James Cameron. While that might not mean the game looks like a live-action movie (Bay and Cameron tend to use more blue screen than they do actual footage), it does mean that the game you can expect to play will be graphically delicious. And of course, you can expect it to run at a buttery sixty frames per second (on next-gen consoles, anyway).

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There’s a dynamic environment system in the game that lets you shoot out actionable objects like the tie-downs for a fighter jet, causing them to slide down the side of a capsized carrier, eliminating the enemy boats below. There’s a swimming system that looks more action-based than the one in Call of Duty given that you’re doing more than stealthily approaching a submarine, planting a bomb, and calling it a day. Underwater in Battlefield 4 is dark and beautiful, just as it is in real life.

Moving from the water to a boat is also very smooth (in 60 fps, how can you really argue), and the transition into boat-based combat is chaotic at best, but in the best way possible. You are in the middle of a war, after all. It also doesn’t hurt that the water model looks beautiful.

Honestly, it is a bit difficult to get excited for another first-person shooter. Sure, the series does something different with a variety of combat and gorgeous environments, but at the end of the day, it’s another shooter, and one that we haven’t invested in its storyline to this point.

With that said, if you’re a shooter fan, from what we’ve seen, we can’t help but recommend Battlefield 4 if only because it hits the mark in almost every area, and it hits it right on. The game plays smoothly, looks beautiful, does some new and unique things, and has 64-player simultaneous multiplayer matches to boot.

Battlefield 4 comes to North American consoles and Windows-based PCs on October 29th, 2013.