Battlefield 4 is going to be one of the of biggest first person shooters this year, but have Dice and EA done enough to impress Battlefield 3 owners and, more importantly, should you get this over Call of Duty: Ghosts?
Due out on October 29 on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC, and then at a later to be confirmed date for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, we played on a dedicated PC rig with around 40 other players. Interestingly all of the gamers in our row opted for the Xbox One controller rather than the Razr keyboard and mouse option in front of each machine.
Unlike the preview we wrote about in March after visiting Dice headquarters, this "capture the flag" map centred around a full-scale attack of US troops on Shanghai, China, and the Chinese army defending, or trying to defend, their position. We played a US soldier.
Thrown into the game straight away, we were well and truly chucked into the deep end playing against games journalists with far more experience than us. We died a lot, but not before getting a thoroughly good glimpse into what we can expect come launch day.
As previously, the crux of the game is that you play one of four career paths; assault, recon, support, and engineer, and working as a team pull together to achieve the overall objective. Do so and you all get rewarded, don't and you'll be kippered pretty quick.
To help enhance this experience even further, Dice has introduced a Commander position that sits above all the action. Acting as a Commanding Officer he or she gets a digital overview of the all that's happening and can order tomahawk strikes or send in supplies accordingly. Suggesting where we are heading with the latest games, the roll can be done via an iPad app.
Back to the carnage on the ground and it's easy to get sucked up in the visceral intensity of it all. Using EA's latest Frostbite engine everything can be destroyed, and interacted with including the huge skyscrapers around you - it's how we completed this level in fact.
One minute we were front crawl swimming across the bay, the next we were base-jumping off one of the skyscrapers to get a best position on top of a shopping mall (a bad decision, it turns out, as someone from the opposite team shot out the glass from beneath us).
Add that to the competitive but teamwork focused gameplay and the huge vistas and landscapes that you are playing in, all makes for some great gaming experiences. There is no "tunnelling" here, and as the name suggests it really is just one big battlefield.