Gaming, Technology, Uncategorized, Video Games

Battlefield 4’s Bugs Bug Me: A Plea For Playable Games

Originally, I had a different post written to share with you today, but I think there’s something much more important to discuss. I’ve reached my breaking point with Battlefield 4. All the systems that BF4 is on have a bug here or a bug there, but lucky me; none are as bad as the PS4 version! Until this point, I had never played a buggy game, although I had encountered bugs in games. What’s the difference? The difference can be likened to the difference between a movie with an inappropriate scene vs an entirely inappropriate movie, to put it into context. For example, I played the Tomb Raider reboot and stumbled upon a bug that actually required the exploitation of another glitch to fix (a crate was supposed to drop and create a hole in the floor, but it didn’t happen, so I had to glitch my body through the floor instead.) No big deal; a quick internet search fixed it. It wasn’t a buggy game Halo 3:ODST reset my campaign progress, which bothered me, but the game itself wasn’t buggy either.

Battlefield 4 is a different story to this point, and it has irritated the crap out of me.

There is so much wrong with the online experience right now, and I feel like I’m being neglected as a gamer and a customer. The bugs in Battlefield 4 have been prevalent and extremely noticeable since launch. I mean, there have been a ton of bugs, and the ones I’ve experienced will be listed below. DICE and EA took note and said a patch would be out very soon. Well, it’s been nearly 3 weeks, and almost nothing has changed. In fact, the patch to solve all our problems was supposed to have been released on Tuesday, but it was delayed. Instead, a smaller patch was issued Wednesday, which only covers accidental one-shot kills, fixes a glitch where recorded video has no sound, and stops the game from crashing when you have too many friends. This doesn’t help me because I have only a handful of PSN friends, I’ve never experienced a one-shot kill as the killed or the killer, and the sound glitch in video doesn’t really pertain to the game itself to begin with!

So, what other bugs are still out there that have yet to be fixed? Here are the ones I’ve personally encountered; it feels like the game is still in Beta. It’s incredibly mind-boggling that such an unfinished game was pushed out to retail!

Sound doesn’t load properly; it takes about 30 seconds after the start of a match for you to hear the sounds of the battle. In those 30 seconds, all you can hear are your own gunshots, and that’s it.

It takes textures about 10 seconds or so to load.

Once, the map kept separating into chunks that kind of floated in the air; it looked like Shanghai was being constructed and taken apart simultaneously by the Animus from Assassin’s Creed.

Framerates drop sporadically, sometimes for no reason. Other times, the framerate drops are due to having a couple dozen explosives going off at once in a bottleneck portion of a map (Operation Locker; very poorly designed).

Lag will cause you to be unable to open your parachute, then you hit the ground and don’t die, get shot back into the sky, pull the parachute, get shot back into the sky, and eventually hit the ground and die. Lag also causes exploded helicopters to hang in midair sometimes. Basically, the lag randomly appears and ruins your life.

The game completely crashes and sends you back to the PS4 main menu, and this is probably the most annoying thing.

Sometimes, you’ll choose a gamemode such as Conquest or Rush and it’ll instead send you to Team Deathmatch, no matter what gamemode you chose.

Increasingly frequently, so it seems, the servers don’t work and you can’t connect at all.

Sometimes, you’ll enter a match, and it says it’s loading, but it isn’t. Then you have to terminate the program and try again.

As you can see, many of these bugs and glitches are basically game-breaking. Battlefield 4 multiplayer works normally less than half of the time on my PS4. I’ll log on and almost always be plagued by one or more of these issues; it seems like they’re becoming more frequent, too. Long story short, this will be the last time I buy a Battlefield title at launch, and I will not buy a new EA game until I find that their poor launches are fixed (a la SimCity).

I’ve also learned that I would prefer a game to be delayed than sent out in an unfinished state just to meet the deadline. I wrote an article a couple months ago about delays. In that article, I stated that I wasn’t sure if delays were acceptable or if they should be avoided at all costs. Seeing as I’ve experienced my first truly buggy game, I see that I would have preferred Battlefield to be delayed. Then, I could have picked it up, popped it in my PS4, and I could actually be enjoying my experience rather than writing a blog post in which I’m very agitated at the unfinished state of a game that I spent my hard earned money on. Why can’t developers just do their jobs right? They seem to get away with murder here, and we don’t bat an eye as a whole because people keep buying video games even though the previous one was buggy, and the one before that… we don’t learn, so they don’t fix their practices.

One might say “you hypocrite; didn’t you know that BF3 was buggy at launch? Yet you bought BF4?” No, I had no idea that Battlefield 3 suffered the same sort of problems when it released a couple years ago. I only found out about that this week. If I had known beforehand, I would have cancelled my preorder immediately and I would have spent my money on something else.

Honestly, I don’t even know if DICE and EA will fix BF4 in a reasonable amount of time. After all, the game has been out on PS4 for 3 weeks as of today, and close to none of the problems have been solved. The update was pushed back until an unspecified point in time, and nobody on the developing end seems to really give a crap about if the game even gets fixed. On the other hand, there is a small glimmer of hope. I read an article stating that all EA projects would be put on hold for now, although I’m not sure if this is so that BF4 can be fixed in a more timely manner or if it’s completely unrelated.

I was asked by a reader why I thought BF4 was able to be released in such an unfinished state. Well, I have no answer. I legitimately can’t think of a single reason why BF4 was released in this state. I’m a person with good work ethic; I always try to complete the task to the best of my abilities, and I don’t stop until it’s done properly. For that reason, I can’t fathom how and why the developers could have been so lazy and careless; it doesn’t compute in my brain. I don’t see how this poor work ethic is possible in a supposedly professional industry.

I’m very disappointed here, because when Battlefield 4 works correctly, it’s an amazing game! The 64 player battles are intense, the action is magnificent, and I much prefer this style of gameplay over Call of Duty. However, my brother (a COD fanboy) can’t help but rub in my face that Ghosts had a successful launch. I can’t argue with that. As much as I found myself saying “Battlefield is amazing; so much better than COD” initially, now I’m telling my co-workers not to buy the game at all because it’s nearly useless and unplayable. This is devastating for me because I was really, really looking forward to the great experience that the game promises.

I love gaming; it’s my passion, and I’ve said it before. However, I can’t buy more EA games because it’s not worth it at launch. This is why I don’t by any more Madden games; they don’t change much from year to year, but it seems like games in general, EA or not, are becoming less worth it as time goes on. I won’t buy COD because it’s generic, and I’m waiting for multiple games to drop in price because I don’t know if they’ll be worth it either, namely ACIV. There are fewer and fewer games that are actually worth buying at release, and before long, I might not buy any at release because I’ll be too afraid. I don’t want gaming to take that route; to where there won’t be anything worth playing. Things need to change, starting with fixing Battlefield 4.

I don’t think it’s too farfetched to see a gaming doomsday. Yes, great games came out in 2013, or so the reviews say: GTAV, The Last of Us, Bioshock Infinite, and others. However, it seems like I heard more about the buggy games as well. Arkham Origins is messed up, Battlefield 4 is unplayable, I don’t even know the current state of SimCity, Star Trek and Aliens: Colonial Marines look atrociously buggy, and these are just a few. The number of faulty, unfinished games is growing, and it became readily apparent to me this year. When will developers learn to do it right the first time?

They won’t, because we keep lining up to buy games, and no matter how buggy they are, the developers make tons of money and crank out a sequel.

I think the worst part is that DICE and EA don’t seem to care about BF4. They’re not communicating with the customers, they’re not focusing on fixing the issues or keeping us updated on Facebook and Twitter. Instead, their social media posts are all about how BF4 is the top rated FPS on next-gen consoles, they’re promoting their Premium membership, they’re giving advertisements for their new DLC, and they’re showing off great clips of stunts most of us couldn’t fathom performing on our own. What they don’t show is that this highly-rated FPS doesn’t work most of the time, their Premium membership is useless if the maps won’t work, their DLC is likewise, and nobody can pull off insane stunts if they can’t access the matches!

I’m tired of it! At least show us that you care; that you’re trying. If you don’t make an effort to acknowledge your mistakes and fix them in a timely manner, I’ll head over to another company who cares a bit more. Does it sound like I’m breaking up with a girlfriend here? Yeah, it does. I want a company that appreciates me and my business. I want to feel wanted; I want to feel important. You don’t care about me? I’ll go buy a different game.

I’m pretty angry because although it sounds like I want a lot, all I really want is to be able to play a game when I buy it. Is that too much to ask? I don’t go to the store and buy a pair of jeans with only one leg; the other leg will be mailed in a couple weeks. I buy a full pair of jeans, and they need to be right the first time. Likewise, if I just get a functional game when I buy it, I’ll be happy.

In my mind, DICE and EA need to do some damage control; I want compensation for the fact that I paid $60 for a useless disc. A free round of DLC or extra weapons wouldn’t cure my frustration, but it would at least be some form of an apology. I’m not past apologies yet. I’ll hold on to hope. I hope that BF4 gets fixed soon, so I’m not trading it in quite yet, but if things don’t change by Christmas, it’s going back to Gamestop, and EA won’t see another buck from me until I see that their products are functional, which is a shame because I’m interested in Mirror’s Edge 2.

As a gamer right now, all I can do is hope that my hobby will still be worthwhile in the coming years.

Quite Irritated
Matt

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