Game Review: Battlefield 4

I’m not really into first person shooters, but I do pick one up every once in a while to get doses of random brainless violence.

I don’t have time to play online, so I usually just play the campaign, on medium difficulty (which is usually pretty easy for me, since I’ve played quite a few FPSes), just to see the graphics and story, etc.

When I write reviews, I usually go from what I like to what I don’t like, so here we go –

What I like

  • The graphics are good, at a few places

What I don’t like

Now that’s a much longer list…

  • The game is incredibly buggy, even after supposedly several months of bug fixing. To the point that I doubt anyone has ever played through the game without encountering at least 1 major bug, and whether EA did any QA at all.

I have seriously never played an even buggier game. In my single play-through, doing all the normal things, I encountered 3-4 MAJOR showstopping bugs. All of them required more than half an hour of Googling (and seeing that thousands of people have the same issue), and applying some random workaround someone discovered.

For example, there’s a level where you are trying to catch up to a big ship using a little speedboat, while shooting at enemies. The official objective is to catch up to the ship, but it’s obvious that there’s no way to do that. The game is designed so that when you killed all enemies, the ship will slow down and you can actually catch up.

Except, of course, it didn’t. I killed all the enemies, and chased the ship through an endless ocean for 20 minutes in absolute peace before giving up. Reloaded my save, second try, the ship just disappeared. Wait WHAT?

Then there’s this place where the player has to jump off a building, and on to a ladder. The player should automatically grab the ladder. Except, of course, he didn’t. He always just hits the ladder, and slide down couple meter to his death, without attempting to grab the ladder at all. ~30 tries until it magically just worked. Almost an hour of time wasted.

The game is also very crash-prone, and crashed 2-3 times throughout my play-through, which is not really that long. That, combined with the autosave system that only allows you to save at certain points, is extremely frustrating. The saving interval is way too long for how buggy the game is. There was this one time where I spent 30 minutes fighting through a difficult area… just to have the game crash on me at the end.

Some guns enemies drop also cannot be picked up, and with the game’s weird gun management system (player can only choose from guns s/he has ever picked up), it makes many of the guns unattainable. Without the bug this system would just be annoying instead of showstopping (having to pick up and drop any gun you see from enemies).

  • The campaign is totally predictable, and bland

Now I do understand this is an FPS so I’m not expecting something like Final Fantasy, but that doesn’t mean the story has to be microwaved vegetable. Call of Duty 4 has the best FPS campaign I have ever played, and BF4 doesn’t go anywhere near that. Not by a loooooong shot.

Not even going to bother putting up a spoiler warning here. It’s impossible for me to spoil the game for you.

Just think about what a boring, totally predictable FPS campaign would be like. There you go, you just spoiled the game for yourself.

Having 2-3 lines random exchanges between teammates here and there is not how you build characters. Just throwing in a female general doesn’t magically make your game less male-biased. Having the player choose to sacrifice one of the team members in the end, right before credit rolls with no follow up or consequences at all, does not stir up any emotion. Compare this to, for example,

Spoiler (Click to Open): Final Fantasy 7

 

What’s with all these half-assed attempts?

  •  I need to install Origin, install a plugin on my browser, just so I can play the game because it needs to start from a webpage, just so EA can show me ads, on a game I paid $60 for. Really? And always-on DRM of course.
  • Repetitive. Repetitive. Repetitive. All mission objectives are the same. Kill the 100 guys in this room that looks exactly the same in exactly the same way, move on to the next room, do the same thing, then next room, then next room. No more airplane flying (that was in BF3), more interesting objectives, etc. Nope. Just kill everyone out there. There’s a place where you drive a tank, but that’s about it. Oh, and 2 speedboat driving missions, where, for the most part (and for the entire part in the second one), you just have to drive straight.
  • By destructible environment, all they mean is, you can destroy totally strategically irrelevant things as much as you want, but not anything that actually has any strategic significance.

I am $#@%#@%#ing disappointed by this game, and wish I didn’t spend $60 on this, and it’s very rare that I regret spending money on a game. If you haven’t, I would highly recommend that you don’t, even when it goes on sale for $10 or something. There are much better ways to spend $10 – like a nice bowl of udon. Play a princess game (I’m not even joking. I had much more fun playing that game than BF4). Or give it to the homeless. Or fold the bill into a paper airplane and throw it out of your window. Or something.

Disney Moment – Frozen

Frozen

I remember at orchestra practices when I was little (ok, high school kind of little), the conductor would always call climaxes of pieces “Disney moments”. It’s when things become bright, exciting, intense, and generally awesome.

The term I would use now for the same effect is ‘orgasmic’, but that’s beyond the point.

Frozen is like an endless string of Disney moments, and not just musically speaking, although the music is also absolutely delectable – but also in terms of plot and character development, as well as breathtaking animation.

The basic premise of the movie is simple enough – a princess Elsa is born with the ability to turn anything into ice, and almost killed her little sister Anna with her ability when she was young. As a result, she was forced into a life of misunderstanding, solitude, and general misery, trying to contain, and “conceal” her power.

However, the way Disney developed the story was absolutely gorgeous, and quite uncharacteristic of Disney, in a good way, especially in its portrayal of women.

Disney is known for their orthodoxically stereotypical portrayal of women – that their only job on earth is to look pretty in pretty dresses, find a handsome man, get married, and be in awe of their superior male counterparts, whom their lives are centered about, while generally having no idea what they are doing, or what they want out of their lives. Just look at Snow White, Ariel, Cinderella… the list goes on and on. There are a few exceptions – Belle and Mulan come to mind, but I don’t think they have come anywhere close to the level of Frozen, before Frozen.

Spoiler (Click to Open)

 

From what I read online, Disney wanted to make Elsa the villain, an ice queen with no sympathy for her people, and that’s why a few phrases in “Let It Go” doesn’t really make a lot of sense (“Let the storm rage on”, “To test the limits and break through/No right, no wrong, no rules for me”, etc).

Making Elsa the villain would be more in line with Disney’s style, but that would have made Frozen just another Disney movie. I’m so happy that Disney decided to experiment and step out of their comfort zone to keep up with the times. It obviously worked out for them. We watched it almost 4 months after it was out (most movies would be out of theatres by now), and the theatre was still packed.

The music is also gorgeous, but that’s expected for a Disney musical. The entire movie is done with operatic singing, and the songs are beautiful. In particular, Idina Menzel’s singing, with her signature deep and resonant mezzo voice, is amazingness. Her voice is sometimes slightly coarse in the lower register, which some people don’t like, but I don’t think there’s much/any of that in Elsa’s parts. Anna/Kristen Bell’s singing is quite good, too, but I prefer Idina’s deeper and more powerful voice.

Let It Go, For the First Time in Forever, Do You Want to Build a Snowman. Orgasmic!

They are making the movie into a musical, and that’s definitely on my to-watch list.

It’s also interesting that Idina Menzel is also the original cast for Elphaba in the musical Wicked, which is a very similar role to Elsa (a misunderstood and lonely girl). Her most prominent song in Wicked, Defying Gravity, also closely parallels Let It Go. Just some cool trivia.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moSFlvxnbgk

TL;DR: GO SEE IT BEFORE IT GOES OUT OF THEATRE IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY!!!!