Electronic Arts; £39.99; PlayStation 3 (review), Xbox 360

Battlefield 4 review: ‘One of the best multiplayer experiences out there’

4.00

A lacklustre single player mode, but vast multiplayer maps and satisfying objective-based gameplay keep this title feeling fresh

If director Michael Bay made videogames, he would undoubtedly have produced Battlefield 4, an explosion-ridden, duck-and-dive first person shooter with more than its fair share of ground-shaking blow-ups.

As EA's answer to the ever-popular Call of Duty, the Battlefield series has always excelled in multiplayer mode. Here it shines like never before and large battles come to life with up to 24 players (64 in the PC, Xbox One and PS4 versions) across vast and diverse terrain.

Developer DICE's set of Levolution events provides a dynamic battlefield and it ensures each multiplayer game plays differently. As you soak up the beautiful Frostbite 3-powered graphics which will be even better on the forthcoming next-generation of consoles, you have to rage battle amid dust clouds, falling skyscrapers and broken dams and you have to constantly rethink your strategy.

The Levolution events run across all 10 of Battlefield's multiplayer maps, each suited to a particular style of play, causing burning oil spills, ships to crash ashore and gas pipes to explode. At the heart of this is the time-honoured Conquest mode where the two teams fight over a small number of flags but there is a new mode called Obliteration which is based on destroying key targets and cuts to the thrust of what the developers were trying to achieve here.

With the controls being easy to pick up and master, running around, shooting and trying to stay alive becomes second nature although controlling the aircraft is trickier.

Disappointing, then, that single player is so lacklustre, it's linearity so stark and its dialogue so trite. Turning the attention to a campaign that can be rattled off in five hours after getting such in to multiplayer makes single-player feel even more of a lightweight affair. We can see DICE deciding to drop single-player campaigns in the future especially when it feels just a tad incomplete – we became stuck around the ship early on and had to restart and we watched with a wry despairing smile as some of our so called NPC colleagues decided not to bother getting stuck in.

Multiplayer is where it's at here, though, and what a corker it is. As one of the best multiplayer experiences out there, it throws Battlefield 4 into a delicious fight against the slew of tremendous games coming out right now and gives it a great chance of victory.

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