As professional release ninja Nathan Birch noted yesterday, today is one of the busiest gaming days of the year, and there are two major releases in two major franchises; Assassin's Creed IV and Battlefield 4. As a public service, we're going to help you decide by talking up the virtues of both.
Birch will explain why you should go a-carjackin' on the high seas, while I'm going to take you through why Battlefield 4 should be in your console, with a little help from some exclusive images from Titan's new artbook, The Art Of Battlefield 4, out today.
The Battlefield series has always been about scale. The bigger you are, the louder you are, the more effective you are. But this entry has tightened up some mechanics and introduced some elements that make it a lot more appealing for strategists and even just plain old backshooting dirtbags like yours truly. First of all, the suppression mechanic, where the more under fire you are the more your vision blurs, means that a straight-up firefight is a trickier proposition than in the last game. Secondly, the stealth elements are more robust and fun to use. It's not necessary, really, to sneak through the enemy camp slitting throats and laying C4 charges before wasting half the camp with a button press. It's just highly entertaining, and it's a nice dose of optional strategy that mixes up twitch gaming with some forethought.
One thing Battlefield has always excelled at is first-person gunfights and this is probably the most refined game in the series in that respect. The suppression mechanic, and map layout, especially in multiplayer, lend themselves more naturally to both thinking on your feet and using your reflexes. On the single-player campaign, you'll often find yourself running, getting a new position, taking aim, and then getting out from under fire to a less well-defended point.
Honestly, the destructible environments really add to the game, although this is far more present in the multiplayer than the single. This is a game that wants you to trash the map; it wants you to dynamite buildings, blow up dams, cause as much chaos as humanly possible. Why? Because it's fun, that's why, and it also changes the map dynamically.
In short, Battlefield 4 is a lot of fun and if you're looking for a multiplayer FPS, it'll fit your needs admirably. And if you're a fan, pick up The Art of Battlefield 4 out today, from Titan; it's a gorgeous, detailed book. Birch will be along shortly to sing the virtues of pirates.