You'll watch a fellow soldier suffer and die, partly at your hand. That's the kind of drama you can expect in "Battlefield 4," which was revealed last night (March 26) at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Electronic arts and development studio DICE showcased the first gameplay footage from its forthcoming military shooter "Battlefield 4," which is expected to make its debut later this year for unspecified consoles (though the site does point toward a release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 ). The game takes a hardened look at realistic combat, as the series always has, but combines it with a fresh new graphic engine that brings even more extraordinary detail to the series.
In the 17-minute gameplay demo, we follow a team of four soldiers as they find themselves trapped in a car underwater — having to shoot their way out or drown. In movie-like fashion, the rest of the demo is then told through flashbacks leading up to that moment. It includes the exploration of an enemy-filled building, the rescue of a squad mate from enemy forces, the eventual arrival at an abandoned oil site, and a final battle with a heavily armed helicopter, which leads to the descent into water. Oh, and game-developer DICE even managed to include Bonnie Tyler's song "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in the fracas.
The demo, titled "Fishing In Baku," is the introduction to a stunning new visual chapter in the ongoing "Battlefield" series, which has been a best-seller for Electronic Arts (EA) over the past 10 years. [See also: Why Gamers Hate Electronic Arts ]
DICE's new game engine, Frostbite 3, is on full display here, with beautiful effects, including streaks of lightning shining through the cracks of buildings, thunderous explosions similar to what you see in big-budget movies, and realistic player models that make you feel a connection with your team. This is as highly charged as we've seen the series get.
"Battlefield 4" was heavy on emotional involvement, as well. Not once but twice, you find yourself challenged by a no-win situation involving a fellow soldier — first to amputate his leg when it's crushed by nearby debris; and again when he hands you a pistol and forces you to shoot out a window while you're underwater, even though he's pinned to the confines of the car, unable to escape with you. The pacing might throw some people off, but it all adds up to a mesmerizing first-person shooting experience.
The gameplay looks like traditional "Battlefield." It's complete with the usage of dual aiming scopes (one for long distance, the other for short range), the ability to "tag" enemies for your colleagues to shoot, and driving sequences where you'll need to struggle to stay on the road, especially when a helicopter is aiming to shoot your tires out. DICE isn't wavering on the intensity it has shown in the series — not in the least.
Still, the trailer leaves several questions unanswered. There was no mention of a multiplayer mode, nor what the overall story is really about. Expect more to be revealed in the months ahead, including if the game will eventually make its way to next-gen platforms like PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's next Xbox console. We're likely to find out more at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) event in June.