Battlefield fan Guy Cocker looks at Battlefield 4’s new equipment options, how they completely change the balance of the game, and how you can effectively use them.
It’s always the small changes that you notice the most.
It’s strange, because while Battlefield 4 brings in a raft of major new features such as Levolution and Commander Mode, those aren’t the changes that I’ve had to spend time adapting to. It has been the small changes to the multiplayer loadouts which have really caught me off guard, having spent the last two years getting used to Battlefield 3’s mix of equipment and weapons.
Since launch though, I can see exactly what Battlefield developer Dice has done. The tweaks and additions to each class means that each infantry type is more balanced than ever before. The support class, in particular, is now able to damage and protect vehicles much more effectively than before.
Still, it takes some getting used to, especially if you had your loadouts all figured out in Battlefield 3. I’m still experimenting in Battlefield 4, but I’ve been playing around with the Support and Engineer classes, because personally, they’re the ones I find the most interesting. Here’s what I’ve learned so far...
In the last week, the XM25 air burst grenade launcher, which is a new addition in Battlefield 4, has been dominating my world. The XM25 Airburst fires 25mm grenades that explode mid-flight, which creates an airburst effect to eliminate targets behind cover. It’s as good as it sounds for taking out enemies who are camping in one spot, or hiding in pillboxes, or if you want to take out a nest of snipers.
The XM25 takes a little bit of getting used to. First, you lock onto the terrain you’d like to hit, then you aim just above it, and pull the trigger to fire the grenade. It can be a bit tricky at first, as you can’t just point at someone and fire away. The irony is that using the weapon does slow you down, making you susceptible to return XM25 strikes if the opposing team is using the same tactic. In the past, you wouldn’t be able to get to people in solid cover, even if you had a rocket launcher. However, because the XM25 essentially fires round corners, it’s a real game changer. It’s a fantastic bit of kit.
So I know what you’re thinking--if I’m no longer safe because of the XM25, what can I do to protect myself? Well, if you’re playing as an engineer, there is a perk that lowers explosive damage. If not, the best thing to do is keep moving, and keep an eye out for the weapon being fired. It has a quite a slow movement speed when it’s in the air, so you can see it coming, and it is possible to dodge it.
It’s early days to say whether the XM25 will affect the balance of the game overall, but it’s already made the pace of the multiplayer game much faster, as people can’t just stand around anymore. I’ve not seen many people using it in the multiplayer though, so get in there quick and start practising. The best news is that it’s available from the start for the support class, so you don’t even have to level up to unlock it.
Finally, it’s worth noting that the support class is well equipped to both protect and destroy vehicles. This class can lay down C4 to attack vehicles, and is now equipped to protect vehicles using the MP-APS anti-rocket system.
In Battlefield 3, the engineer’s rocket selection was relatively modest, but now this class has access to a plethora of new launchers, all of which allow you to do very different things. The starting model--the MBT-LAW--is particularly easy to use. It’s a smart anti tank missile which automatically locks onto to vehicular targets as it gets closer, unless they deploy countermeasures in time. The trade-off is that it does the least damage of all the rocket launchers, but it’s very, very user friendly.
The starting launchers from Battlefield 3, the RPG/SMAW, are now unlocked further down the engineer progression line in BF4. However, there are now subtle differences between these two models compared to previous Battlefield games. The RPG is a more powerful rocket, but it also has the biggest arc, so it begins to drop off the longer it travels. The SMAW has been changed so that it flies faster and has a lower overall arc, but it does less damage than the RPG. These are small changes, but they have the potential to throw long-term Battlefield players off.
In fact, developer Dice has now taken a much more detailed and individualistic approach to the weapons in general in Battlefield 4. Take the Stinger and IGLA rocket launchers, for example. The Stinger is still your lock-on, fire-and-forget vehicular weapon--you can’t really go wrong. However, with the IGLA, the more you continue looking at your target after you fire, the higher the chance you have of hitting it. If your target decides to chaff it, you can keep a lock on it and try and make it hit, but you do have to maintain a visual on it in order to get the hit.
One thing I’ve noticed in Battlefield 4 is that the MBT-LAW rocket launcher’s lock-on feature is fantastic for taking out gun emplacements. Whether it’s a shielded machine guns or a mounted rocket launcher, if you fire MBT-LAW, it WILL kill the gunner, so it’s an easy way to take out gun emplacements in the game. This makes it fantastic for Rush and Obliteration modes, where you often find yourself in choke-point situations. I found great success using this technique last night in pretty much any game where gun turrets featured. So now rocket launchers have more uses than just vehicles--they are now officially anti-gun emplacement weapons as well!
Battlefield 4’s new tweaks mean that where each class used to be very specialised, they are now more rounded. The Support class in particular is a good all-rounder now, and well worth checking out if you’ve previously tended to use other classes.
I’m still working my way through the various levels in the different classes, so there are more unlocks to come my way. How are you finding the different unlocks, and do you have any to recommend? Please let me and your fellow players know by commenting below or by tweeting me @guycocker.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week for more Battlefield 4 tips.