Preview: Battlefield 4 on Xbox One

Battlefield 4 might be out on PC and consoles already but Press Start got to go hands on with Battlefield 4 on Xbox One in Sydney’s CBD last week and the experience made two things abundantly clear:

1. Next-gen graphics and capabilities are going to blow your socks off.
2. Battlefield 4 has some cool new tricks but the core formula hasn’t changed.

EA have upgraded their engine for next-gen and created Frostbite 3 – a tuned-up and refined version of the engine created to build Battlefield Bad Company all those years ago. The new engine isn’t a total overall like Frostbite 2 was, instead it’s a push for realism through through better texture rendering, lighting conditions and dynamic behaviors to help immerse players in the world. Trees sway lazily in the breeze of an open field and walls crumble under the weight of a tank travelling at top speed they way you’d expect which speaks to possibly the most fascinating part of the Battlefield 4 experience: Levolution.

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Levolution lets you shape (read: destroy) the battlefield the way you want to play. Getting torn to pieces inside a skyscraper? Level the playing field by bringing it down. Tired of wandering through winding streets on foot? Flood them with water and use a jet ski. Levolution is the core idea behind the Frostbite 3 engine – building a real-time, dynamic world that lets players feel live the experience they play. After going hands on with Battlefield 4 on Xbox One, it is clear that this is one thing that looks remarkably better than on current gen consoles.

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The core game hasn’t changed, Battlefield 4 is still a squad-based multiplayer shooter full of awesome vehicles and epic moments – it’s the details that have changed. Multiplayer maps dynamically resize depending on how many players there are on the map, making 5v5 matches a lot more action-oriented than the aimless wandering of previous matches. The map overview screen lets you command the battlefield and deploy gunship or missile strikes from Commander Mode usable straight from a mobile device. Battlelog will allow you to take your BF4 stats with you, should you decide to upgrade to next-gen having already played the game. The Battlefield recipe hasn’t changed but it is more palatable for gamers that want a short and quick game or who want to try their hand at high-level strategy.

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We’re promised the next-gen Battlefield 4 experience will be more complete than the game is now, as yet Commander Mode still hasn’t been shown off. There’ll certainly be some tweaking as developers become more comfortable with Frostbite 3 but Battlefield 4 might be one of the best next-gen experiences on offer at launch for new consoles.

Battlefield 4 is available now for PC and current generation consoles and will be available at launch for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4.