on November 2, 2013
EDIT 2 12/12/2013: A number of people have commented below and I feel the need to add their sentiments to the body of this review.
We're on update #3 for the 360 and other various platforms. I have a friends group comprised of 360, XB1, PS4, and PC players that all experience issues with this game.
The crashing continues, with little rhyme or reason. Our group used to experience the 360 hard-lock issue on Hainan Resort without fail, and that privilege is now bestowed on us by Dawnbreaker.
Our solution: Quit the game before the next map in the rotation loads. This is hardly what I'd call an ideal solution, and it's hardly limited to Dawnbreaker. Dawnbreaker just happens to be the map that will do it 9/10 times. The main issue this brings about is that then you have to regroup your party on another server, wait 1-5 rounds for the server to magically autobalance you with your party, or manually switch teams.
Putting it bluntly: This process sucks.
After looking through the live issue tracker on Battlelog, [..] I'm confident in saying that this game was released in this state on purpose, and that they knew it was going to be a S***storm of issues. We are somewhere past Alpha, but not anywhere near out of the Beta phase. We are actively Beta testing this product. I've currently paid $110 for the privilege of being inconvenienced by this game.
Look through the Battlelog post linked above. If you read between the lines you can see that the Netcode is hopelessly screwed, and the apparent stress of launching across 5 platforms was more than the company was capable of. They are in full blown damage control at this point. During Double XP week, my console locked up so much that I probably missed out on half of the XP was supposed to be earning double on, and as a result, stopped caring and stopped turning it on.
This is literally the most broken Triple A title that I've ever played. For EA and DICE to be anything but utterly transparent about this situation is going to result in ill will that will turn people off from playing the next iteration. I sold my copy of Battlefield 3 when it was still worth 40 bucks as a trade in, I like this game, even in it's broken state, more than I ever did that game, but I won't make the mistake of buying the next title or it's Premium counterpart as a first run product.
Edit: (THIS DIDN'T FIX SQUAT)There is a patch coming out soon for Consoles that may address the freezing issues. The fun factor of this game when playing with friends rates this a 5/5 in my book, but the technical issues are such a turn-off that I literally turn off my Xbox the first time it locks up and don't bother going back.
If they can fix that, it take this game from merely "Good" to GREAT!
***The Good stuff***
The sound engine is INCREDIBLE!
When this game works, and you aren't fighting against the design to actually get in a match a play it with friends, it's a blast. They've stepped back some of the design changes that were brought about in Battlefield 3, and changed the all-around feel of it, to more Bad Company 2, than Battlefield 3. Battlefield 3 was an obvious attempt to capitalize on smaller battles and get in on the Call of Duty money train.
There are still flashlights that can blind in dark corridors, red-dot lasers that act as a "SHOOT HERE" target beacon, and some weirdness on the sniping front that could use some tweaking.
When the game is working the way it should, it's a 5/5.
Thanks for making 5-man fire teams a thing, and thanks for bringing back Commander
***The meat of the Crap Sandwich***
There are lots and lots of problems. Capital 'L' LOTS. These issues are anecdotal (NOT ANYMORE - see above), and vary be user experience but there is an EA support page that has vetted issues across multiple scenarios,and every one of my friends are having issues in some fashion across PS4, XB1, PC and 360.
Playing last night (11/15/13) we were all booted from various servers at various points of time (loading in, playing, checking the score, changing maps)
This game is obviously half-cooked on current gen consoles, and according to the support thread PC players are not exempt. There have been server patches but no client patch on 360/PS3 yet. (THERE WAS, IT SHUFFLED ISSUES AND RESOLVED NADA)
***The dirty truth***
-Random Freezing: During map cycles, during "Levelution" events, during server join, during round changes, during, "just standing there". This is absolutely freaking unacceptable in a retail release. This is some entry level QA stuff right here. They knew about this and let it release anyway. Shame on them.
-No party feature: I have to get a little teenager-y here but, Seriously! WHAT THE HELL? Dice has always missed the mark on this in their BF games on console, but this is just too much. In 2013, when every top tier release since 2006 has had a party system that isn't bass-ackwards, I simply can't understand the thinking behind this.
They also pulled Platoons from Battlelog, with the statement that they'll be back in 2014. DOUBLE WHAT THE HELL
-Graphical step back: If you need proof to see that the 360/PS3 are at the end of their run for pushing the graphical envelope in newer games, look no further. Halo 4, this ain't. When you've played every map a handful of times, you'll stop noticing or caring. There's stuff to blow up.
-No pre-game customization: I hate Battlelog, you shouldn't be forcing me to use my computer or tablet to organize stuff when I'm playing the damn game. During battle is not the time to force people to mess with their loadouts. This is, frankly, just stupid.
-Loadout Screen: The loadout screen is garbage. Pure garbage. I'm not unintelligent, I can navigate it, I can make it work. Somebody is in love with their UI design, and somebody has forgotten that you design this stuff for the players benefit, not your ego.
-LET ME EDIT MY CLASSES BETWEEN ROUNDS. Christ almighty how is this a hard concept?
-The UI: The UI sucks. It's a mess of menus and menus and more menus. Open up a menu? LOOK MORE MENUS! Say the work menu enough and you'll start to question your sanity.
-Battlelog: Seriously- EA, DICE? NOBODY LIKES BATTLELOG. If you like Battlelog, great. I hate you. For realsies, guise, I'm super-cereal, I won't play this game on the PC where it arguably is superior on all fronts because of how bad Battlelog is. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND BACKING A FAILED HORSE LIKE THIS. Quit floggin this dead animal.
- The Battlelog App sucks, reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally bad. I've queried all my friends, and so far between the Ipad 3, Nexus 7, 7.2, an overclocked HP Touchpad, and some random Samsung thingy, the Battlelog app is Crap. It's a cr(app)
I am constantly baffled by the design decisions they've made starting with BF3.
We should just start calling it Bafflefield.