Before I begin let me say that I am a fan of the series. It’s also been awhile since I’ve done a review so I apologize if it’s not very good. If you truly, truly care about single player in BF4 don’t read my review as it contains minor spoilers, while minor, they are still spoilers.
The single player campaign of Battlefield 4 is a modern combat first person shooter. Obviously if you know anything about video games, you knew that but I’m telling you this because I almost don’t think the people who wrote this game knew. The campaign starts off and tries to immediately get you emotionally attached, which for me it kind of worked. But it was a very brief attachment before I started questioning things and seeing through the story. There were a few reasons for this, bad writing, bad acting major plot holes, and bugs.
Let’s start with the bugs, because that honestly was the one that bothered me the most. The first bug I’m going to mention is the team you start with. In the previous Battlefield game, your character works with the team to progress through the story and watch it unfold. In this game, you are basically forced to handle every situation on your own and go through the story while your team falls behind. On half a dozen different occasions I would either move forward for a good 5 minutes without my team because they had chosen to fortify a position that had long since been cleared, or wait patiently with them until I realized the “scene” was over and no more enemies were coming. I consider this a bug, because last game the team either moved right with you, lead you, or was just a few steps behind you. They also would actually help you kill your enemies in BF3, not so much in 4. Not only is the lack of a team being with you extremely annoying, when they are there, they don’t really do anything. There were also vehicles magically appearing and disappearing in front of my eyes, things not being rendered properly, and so much more.
Now, the bad acting I’m referring to is probably mostly at fault because of the writing. So I’m going to tackle those together. Very early in the game, you lose your commanding officer who all the members of the group seem to care deeply about. It’s understandable that they’d be distraught with the loss of a good friend and leader. But the outrage and terrible ideas that come because of this, are just too much. The mute player, Recker, is put in charge of the squad and promoted to Sergeant. That’s wonderful, except he is still talked down to and ordered around by his squad-mates, decisions are made by them without his input to the point where 400 Chinese refugees are brought onboard a United States Naval Carrier, The USS Valkyrie. One of the squad members is so terribly written that he tries to argue every order given by anyone, and then seemingly only barely willing to “listen” to his mute commanding officer. It’s almost as if the writers wanted to put this character in charge and found out a week before the deadline that the player would be leading the team and had to change some conversations. The whole thing could have been avoided if they never killed off the original CO or if they just didn’t put the player “in charge.” That would even solve the bad “acting” problem, because then the other character would be leading and his outrage/not listening to orders thing could be explained away.
Plot holes. Where to begin. Oh I know(SPOILERS), how about the EMP that went off and hit the USS Valkyrie when it was outside of the city. Okay, that’s fine, let’s say it DID hit the carrier. They even put in the tidbit convo about how the diesel engines were running, and those aren’t affected by the EMP, so the carrier still has basic functions. They’re currently steaming towards the major carrier, the USS Titan, to regroup and debrief. Except somehow, even though they all know where they’re going and what they are looking for, they come up on the USS Titan and are within 1/4 a kilometer before they sound “general alert” because it’s been attacked, sinking and not responding. There’s no way a ship that size, that was burning that badly, could get that close before you see it and sound the alarms. You would see that smoke on the horizon and defecate a brick. Not to mention, where were the other ships guarding that carrier? But okay, okay that’s all fine and dandy. Except somehow within the 10 minutes(no idea how long it really would have been) you’re actually on the USS Titan, which by the way is somehow on a reef in the middle of the fucking ocean. An entire Chinese attack force comes out of nowhere, over powers the Valkyrie and her escorts, sinks all but the Valkyrie and then gets called back as you make it to the bridge. Sorry, I’m just having a hard time believing that TWO, read that, TWO United States Navy Carrier Task Forces are overpowered, beaten and boarded by a bunch of tiny Chinese speed boats, and some helicopters bought from Russians. It’s not that I don’t believe that some EMPs and a couple thousand Chinese attack ships, helicopters and troops could do it. I’m saying that it would take all of that! Not some pitiful force that they showed us. (END SPOILERS)
The campaign isn’t all bad though, they’ve messed with the unlock feature from BF3 and made it a bit more competitive. The pause menu now shows a scoreboard with the points from all your friends, your stats for the mission, the next reward you unlock, and the collectibles in the map. All of which I find drives me to complete those extra tasks to get higher than friends and unlock things. The gameplay, when not buggy, is quite wonderful. The weapons and vehicles you get to experience are fun and interesting. The graphics are absolutely beautiful and stunning, I’ve taken dozens of breaks to just look around at all the detail they’ve put in. Unfortunately it’s just not enough to make me in particular happy with this campaign.
My final score and review for this game are:
Unfortunately they just don’t make single-players like they used to.