Battlefield 4 Review: The Best FPS

Chances are, if you are a gamer and love the first-person shooter genre, you have already played Battlefield 3 or 4. If you have played them already then I am surprised you could peel your eyes away from the screen long enough to read this blog post. You already know this but others don’t: Battlefield is the best FPS, hands down.

Here’s why:

Amazing Teamplay

If you play COD or similar shooters, you have yet to experience the teamplay dynamics created by Battlefield. Balanced classes, an array of awesome gear for each class, and vehicles make teamplay necessary for success. A team working together will almost always win over teams that are playing lone-wolf. If you have played Battlefield solo, you do not understand even half of its potential. Which brings me to . . .

Vehicles!

Vehicular combat is one of the biggest differences between Battlefield and other franchises. You actually feel like you are playing on a battlefield because of the intensity vehicles create. Attack boats zoom past you in the water while jets attack helicopters above you, all while you are launching rockets to take down a tank shaking the earth all around you (see the video below for a taste of the action).

Flexibility

Some of the best aspects of Battlefield can also be some of the most annoying for some players. Massive maps, for example, annoy people who are accustomed to playing games like COD. Vehicles can also be annoying if you do not know how to effectively take them out. Thankfully Battlefield is very flexible with game modes and maps to satisfy everyone’s needs.

Vehicle-free “infantry” modes allow you to get in close quarters and duke it out on a scale similar to other first-person shooters. These modes use smaller maps or section off larger maps so you are always in on the action. With a large variety of maps, mods, weapons, vehicles, classes and gear, there is truly something for everyone.

Visuals

Large visual differences exist between the Ps3/Ps4 and the Xbox 360/Xbox One. The PS3 and Ps4 are more powerful so the games look better (PC even more so, for some). However, even accounting for differences between consoles, Battlefield offers a visual experience that COD cannot even touch. The graphics are far superior and incorporate many more intense elements (read: helicopters ploughing into buildings to incredible effect).

Overall

Let’s get this straight: I am not a Battlefield fanboy. There is nothing (other than my wife) that I would support unconditionally. Battlefield is the best FPS from a purely rational point of view. Of course, franchises like COD will always have blind loyalty but hopefully, over time, players will begin to see the light.

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PlayStation All-Stars Review

I wanted PlayStation All-Stars from the day it came out but as my fiancée says: “don’t buy anything for yourself before Christmas or your birthday”. Lo-and-behold I just received PlayStation All-Stars for my birthday and dove straight into the game.

For those with ADD, here is the short version:

Is PlayStation All-Stars good? Yes. It has it’s shortcomings but overall it is very fun to play, especially online. Many of the poor reviews I encountered online seemed overly harsh regarding it’s problems so I will try to clear up some things in the full review.

Now for the long version:

PlayStation All-Stars is Sony’s answer to Super Smash Bros., the wildly popular game originally released for the Nintento 64, featuring a number of iconic characters from the PlayStation franchise including Raiden from Metal Gear Solid, Drake from Uncharted, Kratos from God of War and many others (see photo below).

The gameplay is a lot of fun. I was worried that the controls would be unresponsive but was very glad to see that the game is very smooth and response times are minimal. It doesn’t feel as polished as Super Smash Bros., which was ridiculously slick, but it plays better than many fighting games — including Soul Calibur, in my opinion.

The graphics are very good, and although not as stunning as other major titles, are still impressive given the amount of on-screen action at any point in time. Each character seems to have received a lot of attention including voicing, art design with multiple costumes, signature moves and more.

One of the game’s greatest strengths, and simultaneously greatest weaknesses, is the number of specialized moves that exist for each character. You can expect 10+ unique moves for each character which offers a lot of diversity in the gameplay and overall offence and defence, but unfortunately it also creates a fair bit of complexity. Instead of being able to learn a general control scheme and switch around various characters, players are basically forced to master a select few. “Down + Square” might instigate a long range offensive attack with one character while initiating a short-range defensive attack for another.

It is hard to say if it is overall a pro or con but PlayStation All-Stars has definitely been designed to encourage extensive use of a single character through the use of a leveling system and unique moves. Trying out new characters for the first time can be frustrating but remains fun discovering each of their tricks.

Word of advice: do not play with Big Daddy from Bioshock. He has to be the hands-down worst fighter to use and seems to be completely absent from online play (in other words, everyone seems to agree he is not a good choice).

Stages are unique and well-though out with TONS of action. On some stages you will be more concerned about the environmental hazards then your opponents but you can always turn them off easily enough if they get in the way. Many reviewers complained about the story mode which is both short and received very little attention overall with simple voice-overs and little content. These criticisms are unfortunately, very accurate.

Overall though the game is great, and so far I have had a lot of fun. I recommend picking it up, if only for the fact that it lets you kick ass with your favourite PlayStation characters.

PlayStation All Stars

Curiosity – The Cube Destroying Game!

If you are a fan of unique games, or just unique concepts in general, you will love Curiosity. It is not very often that you can say you have experienced something truly unique in the world of gaming – and that is even more true in Hollywood.

Curiosity is a simple game on the surface; you are presented with an enormous cube that is comprised of many millions of smaller cubes. The objective of the “game” is to destroy the cube one layer at a time by clicking on and destroying the smaller cubes. The game doesn’t sound very exciting does it? What if I said that you were not the only one destroying the cube? Instead, you are one of many thousands of people around the world simultaneously destroying the cube at the same time?

You see, Curiosity is really more of a social experiment than a game. The concept is that people around the world will join forces around the world to collectively destroy the cube.

So why would you spend time destroying a giant cube? I have to say that while the game seems rather pointless the experience is not. It is very cool to see the work of thousands of people simultaneously chipping away leaving their own pieces of art behind. Of course, many of these “works of art” are just penises, but already people have taken to chipping away at the cube to create complex images that can be seen by everyone else before being gobbled up by the cube’s destruction.

Curiosity Cubes

Of course, as with any game, there is a winner. Destroying the cube is a collective effort that will require the work of many thousands of people but only one person will click on the final cube at the very centre. The game’s creator has promised that the person that destroys the last cube will be presented with something amazing but gives no clue as to what the “prize” might be. Of course this curiosity is what the game’s creator hopes will keep people clicking away, slowly chipping away at the massive cube for what will be at least several weeks even if many thousands of people work at it.

My geeky side (my dominant side) is particularly impressed by the technology involved. How the game is able to keep track of thousands of people interacting with the same object is beyond me. The game isn’t perfect with frequent crashes. Also, you will find yourself destroying a section only to find the cube refresh and reveal that large sections of what you have been working on have already been destroyed by others. However, overall the game is very impressive at rendering the cube with its thousands of unique sections of art.

Download the game and give it a go. It is something you have to see to believe.

Have I peaked your curiosity?

Battlefield 3: Lost Beta Rank

lost-beta-rank-battlefield-3For those who have not yet played Battlefield 3, it provides an amazing online experience. The game is great; unfortunately the way some things were implemented have not been so great . . .

I am a huge first person shooter fan for both console and PC (surprisingly my aim is fairly consistent across platforms), so it was a no-brainer to download the Battlefield 3 beta as soon as it came out to see what all the hype was about. Needless to say, I logged a fair number of hours achieving a relatively high rank and unlocking a bunch of awesome weapons, attachments and skills. Unfortunately, it was all for naught as EA has decided to reset all ranks from the Beta.

This is very inconvenient and not well thought-out. On the one hand I understand because they want to have a level playing field for those that were not in the Beta. On the other, should we not be rewarded for being gung-ho enough to partake in the Beta? More importantly though it is extremely demotivating to take everything away that you have earned. It can be likened to your boss suddenly taking away all the raises you have earned over the years to “make it fair” to the incoming employees. Okay, so that’s a bit of an extreme example, but you get my point.

I played the Killzone Beta and was very happy to see that my rank remained intact after the Beta was over. That is the way it should be. At the very least, EA should have given us fair warning that it would all be reset. After all, with managed expectations we would be likely to be less upset.

Who here played the Beta and was upset to lose their rank?

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The Welcome Back PlayStation Package. Have They Done Right?

welcome-back-playstation-packageI have written a number of posts on PlayStation lately (being a PS3 owner, it makes sense that I have a fair bit of involvement in their issues) so I will try to keep this to the last post for a while.

Last week PlayStation announced what it would be doing in order to compensate PlayStation Network (PSN) users for the excessive network outage. Here is the summary of free swag:

  1. A choice of 2 of 5 free games for the PS3
    1. Dead Nation
    2. Infamous
    3. LittleBigPlanet
    4. SuperStardust HD
    5. Wipeout HD + Fury
  2. A choice of 2 of 4 free games for the PSP
    1. LittleBigPlanet PSP
    2. ModNation Racers PSP
    3. Pursuit Force
    4. Killzone Liberation
  3. A month free of PlayStation Plus for non-subscribers and 60 days free for subsribers
  4. Various free virtual downloads and free movies

Detailed PlayStation Welcome Back package

So what’s your take on the “welcome back package”?

Personally, I think it’s half-decent, surprisingly. However, they clearly have future sales in mind with all of the freebies they have provided (they have treated this as a sort of promotion). For example, most of the games mentioned are prequels to new games on the market – thereby getting you addicted to a game series in the hopes you will then run out and by the new game. Also, the 30 days of free PlayStation Plus subscription can be seen as a “1-month free trial” with the hopes of getting new subscribers.

Very clever Sony. I see what you did there. I am not unhappy with the package but there definitely seems to be some clever marketing trickery at play here.