For hardened veterans of the PC irritation of the Battlefield series of games there seems to be no more divisive issue than the absence of the commander mode in BF3. It was certainly one, but not just THE, issue that turned me off to the console influenced sequel to the hugely popular BF2.
Eurogamer highlighted the latest news and teasers from DICE in a short article - and among the tasty tidbits on offer to the skeptical BF2 PC fan at the return of the commander mode and a greater level of dynamics when it comes to how the player can affect their surrounding environment.
What is perhaps most exciting is that the commander mode seems to be designed so that the PC player can utilise this using a second platform - such as a iPad! This is something I always wanted - accessing the finer points of the 'strategic' tools of Battlefield separately from the main screen (something advanced flight sim players have been doing for years).
Imagine you are a platoon leader flighting your way - in FPS - on your main screen, you want to check your map BUT not loose sight of the tactical situation As things stand you either have to bring up a tiny picture in picture map of your location or - worse - replace you main screen with a detailed map. Neither good, but with the new game mechanics you can quickly glance to your iPad to check your battlefield map, just as real platoon leaders would do. Great!
Next there is the environmental dynamics. This isn't - apparently - just busting certain breakable buildings as has been tried out in BF3 and BC2, you will now more subtly be able to affect the tactical situation like cutting the electricity of a specific department block or indeed collapse that department block.
All in all quite exciting stuff, particularly the commander mode and offers some hope to dissolute BF fans like myself. My only hope is we will see enlargements of the game environment that will not be linked to just what a console can cope with.
My biggest gripe with BF3 was the restricted latitude for movement or flanking as every flag seemed to be within sniper range from the next flag. This was in complete contrast to the beloved BF2 on the PC which was a rangy game that positively encouraged long range flanking missions that had game changing implications.
I will remain skeptical until I see for myself how these, and future, changes in the game will be implemented in the final game - or indeed whether they actually appear! But I am mildly happy with teh news so far...Stay tuned.
Eurogamer: Battlefield 4 reintroduces top down "Commander Mode"