Last week, I spent eight hours playing Battlefield 4
multiplayer on PlayStation 4 at EA's Redwood Shores office and finished the entire campaign on Xbox One. On internal EA servers, I played every mode and every map on PS4 – and found the experience closely resembles that of its PC brother.
Previous console versions of Battlefield have seen significant cuts in both graphics and functionality, featuring smaller player counts and reduced maps. The Xbox One and PS4 ports of Battlefield 4
, however, mark a change in direction for the series, with each next-gen console port running at 60 frames per second and hosting 64-player matches.
on PS4 gives console players their first taste of the fluidity and frenzy that PC players have enjoyed in multiplayer for years now. The Xbox One port, while just as fluid, isn't quite as sharp.
Even though it compares well to the high-fidelity visuals of the PC, the PS4 port still suffers from a lot of pop-in. This occurred both with textures and objects. Bushes and concrete slabs, for example, would materialize mere feet in front of my sprinting soldier. Occasionally, even the deployment screen, which is an overhead map showing objectives and teammate positions, would take a few seconds to load random sections of the map. While hardly a deal breaker, the graphical inconsistencies were certainly noticeable – and especially glaring in comparison to the overall illustrious presentation. Again, I wasn't able to test multiplayer on Xbox One, but I didn't notice similar pop-in during the campaign on Microsoft's platform.
Potentially more worrisome than the pop-in was a consistent error that would dump me back to the PS4's front end. Error CE-34878-0 reared its ugly head five times during my session, and I wasn't alone – other journalists also suffered the game-crashing prompt. I was told that this signified a network error, and we were playing on EA's own internal servers, so it's hard to know if the problem will persist when the game is available to the PS4-owning public in November.
Playing through the entire campaign on Xbox One, I noticed the same consistent frame rate throughout. The most obvious difference between the two platforms was the upscaled resolution. The Xbox One version of Battlefield 4
ran at a native 720p resolution that was upscaled to 1080p, just like other Xbox One games such as Killer Instinct
. A major issue with the Xbox One presentation was aliasing. Objects like helicopters, cars and buildings had jagged edges that weren't present in the PS4 version.
Overall, Battlefield 4
on both Xbox One and PS4 has raised the bar for the series on consoles. I noticed no dips in the frame rate over my eight hours and, apart from the CE-34878-0 error on PS4 and the visual flubs on Xbox One, any other issues I ran into were small-scale complaints. Both the PS4 and Xbox One versions showcased lighting ripe with ambient occlusion and some jarringly realistic explosions, and for the most part they both compare favorably with the PC version's bar-setting graphics. Visuals aside, both platforms offered a gameplay experience on par with the PC version of Battlefield 4
, and of course that's what matters most.
Apart from the pop-in, the PS4 version of Battlefield 4
looks nearly identical to the PC version, giving console players the best representation of DICE's vision yet. The Xbox One installment, on the other hand, wasn't nearly as crisp but was certainly adequate.