A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I felt concerning the bugs in Battlefield 4 (PS4). Now that the PS4 version of the game has been in the wild for a month, I think it’s time for an update on where Battlefield 4 stands in terms of playability and where I stand on how acceptable it is. I’ll admit, DICE and EA have been working hard to get BF4 up and running lately, (read: the past 2 weeks or so) but I still cannot forgive them for selling me a game that didn’t work in the first place.
I have to start from the beginning. At the PS4’s launch, Battlefield 4’s online component was broken. It was so absurdly buggy that I found myself wondering how on earth a game so messed up could be released. After a few days, DICE and EA announced that no other DICE projects would be moving forward until BF4 was all patched up. After that statement, things started looking up. Before long, we had a sizable patch that stabilized many components of the multiplayer experience, but Battlefield 4 was still far from perfect. The game would still crash, cross-hairs would disappear, and textures wouldn’t load right, among other issues. On Tuesday (Dec. 17th) another patch came out, which fixed a ton more issues. That’s a great thing to see; Battlefield 4 is now playable. My disappointment stems from the fact that it took nearly a month to accomplish.
I mean, take a look at this list of bugs that were fixed by the December 17th patch. Skim through this and tell me if you think a game this broken should have been released to begin with. (This list has been copied from Gameinformer.com)
-Reduced the probability of the “Kill trade” issue (see below for details).
-Fixed a common crash that could occur during round transition.
-Fixed a crash that could happen for players that had lots of friends.
-Fixed a problem where the “end of round” screen was adding up scores several times in the rank bar, resulting in the rank bar showing a higher value or rank than players really had.
-Fix for the game mode specific ribbons being counted twice in the multiplayer progression.
Fix for a graphical glitch that could appear on terrain.
-Fixed an engine audio dropout that could happen when driving IFV’s.
-Fix for a camera glitch that could occur when players were switching weapons while moving in crouched stance.
-Fixed an animation bug for passengers on the China Rising dirt bike to make sure that the character is pointing in the direction where the player is actually aiming.
-Fix for an issue where 4x the damage from a vehicle’s minigun would be applied to the chest when a player had the Defense specialization equipped.
-Tweaked the War Tape audio setting to remove distortion.
-Fix for the SUAV (introduced in the China Rising expansion pack) not exploding when hitting enemy soldiers. While these indeed should be deadly, they were never designed for “roadkilling” opponents.
-Servers with users playing on them are now by default placed on the top in the Server Browser.
-Servers that friends are playing on have a higher priority in the server list.
-Server Browser is no longer showing empty or full servers by default.
-Servers that are completely empty will be shown only when the “Empty” option is checked in the Server Browser filter.
-Server Browser filter will count a server as full if all “Soldier” slots are occupied, unless the “Free Commander” slot is checked.
-Balancing jet handling across all stealth and attack jet classes.
-Fixed a bug in Defuse mode where defenders could win a round by killing all the attackers without disarming the bomb. If the attackers arm the bomb, the defenders need to disarm it to win, even if they have killed all the attackers.
-Fix for players getting stuck in the revive screen.
-Fix for players getting stuck in the kill camera after being revived. Note that you might see a graphical bug on-screen after being revived when accepting a revive within 1 second. This graphical bug will be removed in the next patch.
-Fix for a Defuse bug where none of the teams would win a round by letting the timer run out.
-Fixed the instance where players suddenly would transition into Spectator Mode while playing the Defuse game mode.
-Fix for the death camera/screen being displayed too early.
-Raised the first-person camera slightly for walking in crouch to more accurately reflect the actual position of the character.
-Lowered IED explosion sound to not bottom out the HDR.
-General stability improvements.
How does all of this slip past QA? Just remember; this list only fixes bugs in the latest update; we’ve had a couple others to this point as well which fixed a multitude of more serious problems. Compiled together, the list of bugs in the PS4 version of Battlefield 4 would be absolutely astonishing!
As I mentioned before, I’m glad that the developers are working hard to fix this broken game, as they should. My problem is that they didn’t do their job right the first time and they sold me this broken game to begin with. Battlefield 4 is a fun game when it works, but it isn’t worth an entire month of crashes and buggy mishaps; as a consumer who is paying full price for a brand new game, I think I’m entitled to an experience that works on Day One.
As an equivalent, let’s say I went to buy a Ford Mustang; my dream car. I sign all the paperwork and drive it off the lot, but once I do, I find that the radio only plays in AM, the air conditioning doesn’t work, the gearshift only works sometimes, the rear wheels are missing tires, and the upholstery hasn’t been fully installed. Imagine my frustration when I would go back to the dealership where they might simply shrug their shoulders and say that they’ll come perform maintenance in a couple weeks. A couple weeks pass, and the AC is fixed, but then a couple more pass before I get my tires, and in a couple more weeks, I finally get a working gearshift. That wouldn’t be acceptable; carelessness like that would never fly, but DICE and EA seem to be getting off mostly scot-free!
I find the trend of “ship the game out and patch it later” to be unacceptable. I’m not amused, and feeble attempts to apologize with bonus scopes and Double XP don’t work on me. I want my game to work when I buy it, and your apologies don’t fix it. I sunk a decent handful of hours into the campaign mode before finding out that a single-player bug reset my save file! I can’t even muster the patience or excitement to try again, and you think some Double XP will make me happy as if nothing ever happened? I can’t even bring myself to review this game because I have no idea how to judge a mangled mutant like this! I’m aggravated because a month of BF4 being in limbo between playability and being broken is a month too long.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m not buying any more EA games until they prove they can make a game that works at launch.
Where do you stand? Do you find broken games like Battlefield 4 as unacceptable as I do, or do you give them a free pass if they “patch it quickly?” Why do you stand by your decision?
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