Now that the BF4 patch is out and I’ve had a brief chance to try it out, I thought it would be wise to summarise the changes and my initial view.
Summary of Changes
First of all, the “official” summary of the changes…
- Player movement has been improved to more closely match that of Battlefield 3, while still maintaining the animation fidelity of Battlefield 4.
- The High Frequency Network Update has now been added to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and is set to default. This makes the server update the client on what is happening with greater frequency, resulting in a smoother, more “correct” player experience.
- Reduced visual recoil of guns. This includes all medium and close range sights (except iron sights, IRNV and FLIR).
- The BF4 ”netcode” has seen several tweaks and is now the fastest in the franchise’s history, counting client-to-client values. The delay is now lower than ever, and they’re also looking to improve hit detection.
By popular demand, the update introduces a new preset called “Classic Mode”. Rules on these servers hone back to Battlefield 2/3 and are designed for skilled players looking for more of a challenge and seeking stricter rules.
For instance, you are able to spawn on only the squad leader in Classic Mode, increasing the challenge and need for greater tactical thinking as a squad leader.
In-Game UI Streamlined
They’ve also made several improvements and customization options to the Battlefield 4 HUD. The user interface is more intuitive than ever, and you can now tinker with settings to find a display that suits your needs on the Battlefield the best.
For instance, you can change settings for the in-world icons that are visible when aiming down the sights. Some players don’t want to see their team mates in this view, and that is something you can toggle on and off. Furthermore: the size of the mini map can be increased by up to 250% and you can also change the transparency of icons to your liking.
What I Noticed
Yes, all the above is great, but when I jumped into the game last night (on the PS4) what was most immediately obvious?
First of all, and not mentioned in the update notes, is that the graphics have had a tremendous buff. The tower in the middle of Siege of Shanghai looks amazing. Fire a shell from an MBT and a mighty plume of smoke comes out of the barrel. It all looks far, far crisper and realistic than ever before. There is a new “3D” spotting feature but I’ve yet to work out how this works – I’m assuming it indicates whether the person being spotted is above or below you.
The look of some of the guns has changed too – my PDW now has its tac light hanging from the underside. And, yes, SLAMs have been nerfed. I’m glad I got my SLAM Master dog tag before this patch 🙂
Some other brief spots…
- The new Triage feature works brilliantly and I gave it a good try in Operation Lockers.
- Pre-round start feature shows a count down before the game starts. It also shows the number of players on each team (as minimum start numbers now takes into account the number on each time).
- The flags shown above the minimap now indicate which one has been “marked up” by the squad leader.
Also Worth Noting
Some things I didn’t get to try but, having looked at the full changelog, is worthy of attention…
- Deagle has been nerfed. Good. Was way over-powered.
- However, trigger delay has been removed from all handguns
- A lot of work is being done to improve Rush which was, without doubt, pretty broken
What Did I Think?
The game felt superb. I’m not going to use the cliché and suggest this is the game that DICE should have launched in the first place – they’ve had a LOT of time to work on this so, let’s be honest, they’d never have had this available a year ago.
That graphics buff has made a big difference. It’s hard to put your finger on non-specific changes but it does just feel a very different game. I played poorly last night as a result (and the rest of my squad too) and will take a while to get used to it again. But I’m looking forward to doing so – top marks to DICE.