Why people still play Battlefield 4 and why you should too
14-Jul-2021 by Sparky
90 seconds into my return to Battlefield 4 when I was reminded why it's the greatest Battlefield still kicking. You know the story: Bullets are flying, tanks are a-blasting, we're capturing a flag, and out of nowhere comes an enterprising jet pilot eager to make a strafing run on my squad.
The jet's only a few meters from my face when its left wing clips a pole, sending the plane into a fatal hyperspeed swirl before it explodes.
It was a beautiful mess, and the kind of calamity I'd sincerely missed in the years since Battlefield left the modern-day setting behind. Don't get me wrong, Battlefield 1 was cool and Battlefield V was… also a game, but Battlefield feels incomplete without helicopters, jets, and some sort of M4 that I can slap a scope on.
DICE is finally returning to the games it does best later this year with Battlefield 2042, the first modern-day game in the series since 2013's Battlefield 4. I'm pretty excited about it, and judging by BF4's recent surge in popularity, a lot of other folks are too.
I was a little nervous to return to an almost eight-year-old FPS that I loved at the time, but Battlefield 4 holds up remarkably well. Every match still feels exciting and dynamic, like there are always ten other stories unfolding on the other side of the map that you'll never see.
The sheer variety of vehicles, turrets, missile launchers, and random doohickeys you can unlock creates improbable scenarios and guarantees memorable moments. There's so much crammed in here that I forgot about most of it. Remember this AC-130 jumbo jet that lets you pick off vehicles from above like ants in a magnifying glass?
This is the first time I'm playing it on PC, so it was especially nice to crank every setting up to max and enjoy what're still very attractive maps and weather effects at competitive framerates. That, and incredible audio, is why BF4 still feels really good in action.
Soundscapes are busy, bassy roars of machine guns, tank treads, and desperate soldier callouts. The screech of a jet flying by one ear and out the other is intimidating the first and tenth time it happens. With the volume cranked up to an appropriately overwhelming notch, BF4 is one of the few FPSes that significantly benefits from a fancy pair of headphones or a high-end sound setup.
So yes, Battlefield 4 is surprisingly still a very fun game in 2021. Some bits feel old and the handful of map packs still locked behind a paywall feels incredibly outdated nowadays, but you'd be hard pressed to find a better modern-themed FPS that matches BF4's scale, action, and sights.
Realizing just how good it still is has made me more hopeful than ever for Battlefield 2042, partly because it looks a lot like BF4, but also because of the major changes on the way. Guns are no longer defined by classes! There are operators with unique gadgets, including a dang grapple hook! You can customize your gun on the fly! Those all sound like they'd be fun if they were added to Battlefield 4 today, so I'm on board.