I pre-ordered the full version of BF4 yesterday which allowed me early access to the BETA. There's just one map and still some glitches but it at least does allow me a peak at the game which *may* be my main gaming obsession for the next year or so.
At this point I should mention cost - the Digital Deluxe version that gives you access to the BETA costs £54! To put this into some sort of context though, this - as mentioned - will be my main gaming pleasure for the coming year, breaking that down that would be something like a Pound a week. Cheaper than going to the pub.
Edit: The BETA will be available to everyone from October 4th!
Still, what do you get for your £54? Well, obviously the chance to say that you have had a go at BF4 before a lot of other people. This might seem like a bit of a gamble, but my team-mates and myself have been watching the progress and development of BF4 very carefully so I was fairly certain that some of my main concerns - based on my experience with the atrocious BF3 - have been dealt with by EA.
There seemed to be a return to the more varied approach to objectives in BF4. In BF3 I always felt that I was being 'led' in a fairly restricted route from one flag to another, and couldn't help but thinking this had to do with the emphasis placed on the importance of console versions of the game. In short BF3 felt like CoD.
Graphics were interesting, but no real great advances since the nice work that was done of BC2 with detail and realism. Though you will be glad to know that BF4 retains the glossier style of graphics that were a positive note in BF3 rather than the gritty washed out and over-contrasty graphics of Bad Company 2.
One exciting feature was the destructibility. Now I think we still haven't got to the completely destructible game map that DICE/EA have been talking about since BEFORE BF2. Destructibility is still prescribed although a little more widespread. But I still don't think it plays a positive role in the actual game play as such - having said this there was a wonderful set-piece bit of destruction in the BETA map when a central high-rise building collapses!
Computing horsepower is a must, although I did just manage to play my part even on my very modest system by cranking down a lot of the detail (something I always do to play competitively anyway). But my BIG clan team mate - Magnus - did seem to be experiencing a lot of problems trying to play in a higher resolution and quality, and he had a few crashes which we think may have been due to lack of graphics driver support. But this will undoubtedly be tackled before the full release.
Still, I have a nasty feeling I may want to seek some kind of hardware upgrade within the next four to six months.
Game format is what you expect from a Battlefield game, as were the game modes, classes and weapons. No surprises. But I haven't yet witnessed the much vaunted Commander's mode yet - this may happen when my other BIG team mate joins the band wagon as he - BIG Paddy - was our specialist commander player in BF2. (I will report on his views when he joins us online.)
As I say, this is very early days, but even so I did seem to like the flow of the game better than the previous version. I found plenty of opportunity for flanking the enemy, which in turn kept the game very fluid and prevented us from feeling bottlenecked. All in all I would say I really enjoyed my couple of hours on BF4 (with the caveat about my worries concerning graphic
One think we did end up wondering was whether we will again see the return of some of the classic BF2 maps. Will there be a return (return) to Karkand? I was told this may happen with the release of a special maps DLC later.
Initial view: Positive