Battlefield Phwoar

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Battlefield 4 may have a four in the title, but it’s far from the forth in the series. I actually ran out of fingers whilst counting and, although I’ve not played them all, I’ve certainly played the lions share of them. I don’t just mean played in the “dabbled with” sense either: I’ve played the absolute shit out of each and every battlefield game I’ve ever owned.

I’ve never totalled up the hours, but I know they would be the kind of numbers that make a person question what they’re doing with their life. These would be numbers where the unit you measure in is no longer minutes and hours, it’s days and weeks – possibly even months. These would be the numbers that make you realise that although you’ve still “not had the time” to sort the bedroom out, you’ve somehow managed to find the time to squeeze in 16 hours of battlefield this week. These would be the numbers that call you on your bullshit and make you realise what a lying, lazy piece-of-shit wanker you really are. These would be the numbers that – before I slip any further into this dark pit of self reflection – also make you realise how truly amazing the game is.

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See, despite battlefield never really changing the fundamental aspects of what made it great then, it’s still just as great now. Sure, there have been numerous tweaks, improvements and polishing over the years, but these all seem to be a layers of awesome laid over the original concept. It’s the same basic thing, and yet; each time I load the game up and jump into the multi-player it feels fresh and original. They say “War…War never changes”, but luckily battlefields do and I think it’s this constantly changing dynamic of the battlefield – these millions of variables all coming together in different, unique ways – that have kept the game so very entertaining when I’ve burnt out on so many others.

Although matches can be a little bit hit and miss- which is both to be expected and part of deal with the sandbox arena – I’m still constantly awestruck by the spectacle that unfolds. During the gameplay there are moments of what would appear to be the most amazingly scripted, well choreographed battle set-pieces but that are actually taking place on the fly, completely at random. You’ll be running into battle as buggy leaps over your head, crashes through a fence and then spontaneously explodes as a shell from an unseen enemy tanks rips though it. Just as the tank then turns its sights on you, you franticly reach for your RPG, only to witness the tank blow-up right before your eyes as it connects with a well placed landmine. A group of enemies will then appear from the right, so you turn and fire wildly, the rocket completely missing the group but somehow smashing straight into passing chopper that then goes down in a ball of flames. You get cut down by the enemies that you missed but you don’t care, you’re too busy grinning at the complete madness that just unravelled before you. This is battlefield 4.

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For this iteration of the game they have actually added some scripted, level changing events; but don’t confuse these with anything generic or mundane. As epic storms roll in, or skyscrapers fall, this simply adds another level of carnage; another variable in the sea of variables you’re desperately trying to navigate. Most of the levels have expanded vertically now as well, adding yet more gameplay options and more variety. I can’t stress enough just how bad-arse it feels to base jump from the top of a skyscraper and then machine gun down enemies as you para-drop in to take the objective. It simply never gets old.

I think that is the key to Battlefield. It never does get old. It never gets samey. There’s just too much going on. Too many options. There’s different classes to play as, different vehicles to master, different ways to play the game. Where as other games rely on additive levelling  and unlocks to keep you invested (and battlefield has those too), this is a title that simply uses its amazing gameplay as the hook. Sure, you might experience a few standard matches, but you’ll always come back again as you know something spectacular is never far away.

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All Your Base Are Belong To Us

An interesting thing appeared to happen in the games industry recently, a thing I’d never thought possible. It would appear (on the surface) that a games publisher has decided to not sell its game in a certain market, citing the backlash they receive from the industry (in said market), about how they represent women in the game, as the reason. Their communication is below – however, its poor wording/use of English lends itself to a certain amount of ambiguity:

“Do you know many issues happening in video game industry with regard to how to treat female in video game industry? We do not want to talk those things here. But certainly we have gone through in last year or two to come to our decision. Thank you”

I read this as the following: “Due to the amount of shit we’ve gone through over the last couple of years over how we represent women in our games, we can’t be fucking arsed to sell it in those countries”. I might not be 100% on the money there, but however you spin it, it’s impossible to not land on the representation of women as the reason. What completely baffles me about this stance is, and maybe Fiddy Cent can put this better than me:

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“I’mma tell you what Banks told me cuz go ahead, switch the style up
If niggas hate then let them hate and watch the money pile up

Why would a company back down in the face of such inconsequential complaints? It makes no business sense, especially when sales figures would even indicate that the west is their biggest market? Maybe selling internationally adds additional costs that, given its low overall sales, don’t make it worth while? Maybe that one tweet, although by the company, doesn’t actually speak for the company? Maybe it was part of the reason, and someone in control of the companies twitter account stated it incorrectly as the entire reason? Who knows? However, it does make me re-evaluate my stance that companies don’t give a fuck about what you think – they only care about what you buy. It would seem that isn’t the case.

Does this mean that the vocal nut-jobs that find everything problematic are going to destroy gaming for us all? Well no, I’ve never given much credit to the “SJW’s are coming for our games” point of view, and probably never will. It does seem that it has some impact though, and that if enough people complain about the same thing, and are supported enough by the mainstream press, it won’t fall on completely deaf ears. Not that I blame either the people for voicing an opinion, or the press for reporting on it. It’s just the nature of the beast. Some shit stirs up the masses and some shit flies under the radar. It generally takes an opposing side to fan the flames and fuel the fire though. It becomes a symbiotic relationship and as the debate rages, the articles flow and the blaze intensifies to a point there is gonna be some fallout. That’s just how this shit works and it’s a shame that this has manifested in a game not getting globally released.

The only person taking peoples games away (in this instance) though, are the publishers. It’s their fucking choice not to release the game, so be mad at them. If there is any censorship happening, it’s happening by the people that make and release the games. In the same way I don’t believe in people being victims of toxic masculinity, I don’t think toxic social justicary is a valid thing either. What are they scared of? A couple of Polygon articles? It’s not like a horde of angry blue-haired radicals are going to swim the pacific and descend upon Japan. It’s their failure to stand up for the product they’ve produced. Anyway, that’s beside the point – the point is: if you’re landing the blame for this at the feet of a bunch of people that had an opinion, and  because of that opinion you want them silenced, then I think, by definition, that might make you a bigot? Or a fascist? Or maybe just a bellend? Either way, you’d probably be better off appealing to the publisher to release the game in your area, then trying to end social justice warriors. The latter ain’t gonna happen.