"Battlefield 4" returns as one of the hottest first-person shooters (FPS) available for gamers. While it features a character-driven single-player campaign, this new multiplayer game for October puts its best foot forward in the online realm. PC gamers and next-gen consoles can enjoy up to 64-player online matches through changing environments, a concept that EA calls "levolution." Although the single-player mode is linear and utilizes poor ally and enemy A.I., EA's online offerings will make it one of the best multiplayer games of the year, unless you're playing on a current-gen console.

The campaign in "Battlefield 4" focuses on a small group of soldiers in a second cold war. The U.S. and Russia are inching closer and closer to all-out war, and the threat of a Chinese civil war could plunge the world into all-out war. A small group of soldiers must stop one Chinese admiral from overthrowing his government. While the story offers some interesting ideas, weak characters and linear levels keep the player from getting fully involved with the story. On top of that, the A.I. is terrible, with allies contributing little to the battle and enemies focusing solely on the player.

Fortunately, very few gamers buy a Battlefield game for its single-player offerings. Instead, the real draw to "Battlefield 4" is its online multiplayer. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players enjoy a smaller version of the online play with a maximum of 24 players per match and less objectives per map. PC players and next-gen consoles can support up to 64 players with much better graphics and double the frame rate. Current-gen consoles have slightly improved graphics from last year's game, but PC and next-gen players get the best version of "Battlefield 4."

Most of the multiplayer gameplay is built around EA's "levolution," a mid-match map adjustment that changes the tactical feel of a game. For example, in one stage, if a levy is destroyed the streets are flooded, forcing players to fight from boats and rooftops. In another stage, snipers will nest in a hotel, but if the opposing team can destroy the hotel, snipers will have to change their tactics. All of this happens in real time, and the explosive action looks like some of the large moments from single-player games.

"Battlefield 4" is a fast-paced FPS with one of the best online multiplayer modes we've seen. The best versions of this game are reserved for the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but current-gen players will still have a lot to enjoy in this new multiplayer game for October.


Battlefield 4