Early in the campaign of Battlefield 4, a marine deals with an attacking dog by punching it right in the face. This is a not-so-subtle jab (well, more of a right cross) at rival series Call of Duty, whose upcoming Ghosts features a canine companion. Ever since Activision’s cash cow started breaking sales records annually, Electronic Arts has been increasingly determined to grab a piece of the military shooter pie with its Battlefield franchise. Battlefield 4 offers more explosions, more destruction and more multiplayer options than ever, and it certainly can go toe-to-toe with any Call of Duty. But you can’t help but wish it had aimed even higher.
Just like its predecessor (and every Call of Duty post-Modern Warfare), Battlefield 4′s single player campaign reminds you of that Woody Allen quote from Annie Hall. “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible,” says the first woman. The other one says, “Yeah, I know, and such small portions.” The campaign is extremely loud and incredibly short, a series of linear levels that funnel you from fight to fight, the only real objective being to kill anything that moves. There are occasionally some great set pieces, such as a firefight aboard a sinking battleship that has you dodging gunfire as airplanes slide off the flight deck into the roiling ocean. But many of the missions just have you shooting everything, clearing out the area, pressing forward and repeating. There’s some odd pacing and bad checkpointing that make the campaign feel overly long and tedious, despite clocking in at just six hours or so.
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