Tuesday, 26 January 2016

New Year, New Position

Hey there, faithful Steve's Game Blog readers (hi Jerry!)

I've got some good news! 2016 marks not just a new year, but a brand new position for me. I am no longer a simple news monkey for The Escapist, but have been made a part of the editorial staff! Hooray! What this means is that I am now one half of the reviews production team, and will be editing an average of 7 reviews a month. Here's the first of many:

The Witness Review

Additionally, I will also be working on the site's "Gallery of The Day" feature, as well as having a much bigger presence with additional feature articles. I'm also getting my very own weekly column: The Escapists Review. The Escapists Review is a kind of community reviews project, where I will collect and edit reviews submitted by Escapist users, and publish them on the site. It's still not 100% ready yet, but should be up and running by the end of next month, so stay tuned!

I will also maintain my regular news duties, as one of the site's most senior reporters.

As for what this means for my duties as an ALT... well, stay tuned for info on that...

Be sure to click here to see all of the articles I'll be writing for The Escapist, and here to follow me on Twitter for the latest updates. I don't really update this blog that often so those two links are the best way to keep up-to-date with all my work.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Minamiaizu - a Hidden Snowsports Paradise

Every year, Kanto’s skiers and snowboarders make the pilgrimage to one of Tochigi’s two “premier” ski resorts - Hunter Mountain and Mt. Jeans - by the tens of thousands. With how incredibly popular these resorts are, you’d imagine they were the bee’s knees of snowsports in Japan. However, in actuality, they are overpriced, overcrowded, ice-skating rinks, that more often than not have to rely on man-made snow just to get a decent cover. So why do so many people flock to these resorts? Well, they are literally the closest places to ski for those in the northern Kanto area, and two of the easiest to get to by car from Tokyo. So, to all you people making the long trek from Tokyo to Tochigi, I have a message for you: Stop! You’ve come all that way, why not add just an extra hour to your journey, and go to one of Minamiaizu’s hidden snowsports paradises?
Glorious snow awaits you in Minamiaizu.
Located just an hour and a half drive from Nasushiobara station, the two “fringe” resorts of Fukushima’s Minamiaizu ski area - Takatsue and Daikura - offer everything that Hunter Mountain and Mt. Jeans don’t. Fresh powder. Cheap tickets. Glorious, varied terrain. Small crowds. While they are a little smaller than Tochigi’s resorts, and don’t have quite all the snazz of the big resorts (like gondolas or NFC lift tickets), these quaint hidden gems are well worth the longer trip.

Takatsue has just eight lifts, but over a dozen different runs of varying difficulty, including some amazing tree runs under the lifts. It also has a full terrain park, complete with a massive, full-sized half-pipe. The snow is frequent and fluffy, and it’s a rare day that I don’t get to make some fresh tracks somewhere on the mountain. Everything except the uppermost lift is well shielded from the wind, so even in the worst of weather you’ll still have a great time. Best of all, if you don’t feel like braving the icy and snowy roads (or don’t have a car equipped to handle it), Takatsue actually offers a free “park and ride” shuttle bus service, from Nasushiobara’s “Nasu Garden Outlet”.
There's always some fresh powder on Takatsue.
If you’re just going for the one day, pick up the 4,500 yen lunch coupon ticket, which comes with a 1,000 yen lunch voucher. However, if you think you’ll be coming back at least two more times, be sure to sign up for Takatsue’s “Snow Powder Club”, which offers you a discount on lift tickets for each consecutive visit - bringing the cost of a ticket down to just 2,500 yen after your third visit. A full ski set/snowboard set hire will set you back 3,000 yen and 4,000 yen respectively, but you can get a 500 yen discount with the Snow Powder Club card.

Daikura, on the other hand, is even smaller than Takatsue, with just five lifts and 11 runs. However, it is one of the cheapest ski resorts in the area, at just 3,900 yen for the same kind of discount lunch ticket that Takatsue offers. It’s also ever-so-slightly closer: about an hour and 20 minutes from Nasushiobara station. Advanced skiers and snowboarders won’t find too much to do here, with only three, relatively short black runs, and no real tree runs to speak of, but beginners and intermediates should have a blast experiencing the same kind of famous Japanese powder snow that all its big resorts are known for around the world. Ski and snowboard hire will set you back 3,000/3,800 yen respectively for a set.
The views from Daikura's summit are just astonishing.
Both of these resorts are perfect for a day trip, but if you’d like to stay longer, both Daikura and Takatsue offer on-site lodgings. Alternatively, you could also find a place to stay in the nearby onsen resort town of Shiobara, or around the Nasushiobara station area.

So whether you’re a powderhound who’s sick of having to share the slopes of Hakuba and Niseko with a million other foreigners, or a local in the Kanto area who is just looking to get in a bit of skiing, next time you think skiing or snowboarding, think Fukushima, and its unspoiled snowsports paradises.

-Steven Bogos
Minamiaizu... let's go!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The "Gamer Gate" Post

Hey guys. There has been a lot of talk about "Gamer Gate" in the gaming media world as of late. I would like to say a few words on the matter. You may be wondering why its taken me so long to post a statement, and why it's appearing here, instead of on The Escapist. Well, after a whole lot of back-and-forth with Defy Media (The Escapist's parent company), we have been told that we must post a collective "group" statement, rather than personal statements. I respect Defy as a company, and I don't even feel that strongly about Gamer Gate, but forcing us to act as a "collective" rather than an individual really bugged me. Maybe it's because of all my time living in Japan's "collective-focused" society.

That said, here is what I have to say about Gamer Gate:

When I started my career as a journalist, I chose to go into gaming journalism for two reasons. The first, is because I am passionate about (read: obsessed with) video games. The second is because I didn't want to end up writing gossip tabloid stories for some bottom-of-the-barrel mainstream media publication, digging into people's private lives and attacking their character and reputation. But, in the weeks surrounding the "Gamer Gate" controversy, I was ashamed to see so many outlets in the gaming media and community descend into the exact kind of "he-said, she-said" bullshit that I tried to avoid by entering this industry.

I just want to write about video games. I want to write about what people say about video games, and occasionally, I want to write about cool science, tech, and geek culture tidbits. I don't care what these people do in their private lives. I don't care if so and so slept with so and so, and I certainly don't want to write about it. The vitriol from both sides of Gamer Gate made me sick and ashamed, and I vowed to have as little to do with it as possible. This statement will be the first, and last, time I address my views on the controversy.

While sexism, equality, and journalistic ethics in the gaming industry are definitely discussions worth having, Gamer Gate was certainly not the way to go about having them. We, as gamers, should be better than this. I thought we were above this kind of tabloid-newspaper garbage.

-Steven Bogos

PS: Just to end on something a little more lighthearted, here is my League of Legends World Championships Cosplay Gallery!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

VIDEO: Here's a couple of Diablo III Witch Doctor videos

Hey guys,

Been getting pretty big into Diablo III now that Reaper of Souls is out, so here's a couple of quick videos I put together about legendary effects and the Witch Doctor:

Sorry I haven't been updating as much! Be sure to check out all my Escapist news posts!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

REVIEW: The Last of Us (PS3)

The Last of Us has one of the best written plots I ever have experienced in a video game. Period. It is a fantastic human story that is fascinating from start to end, and that fact alone makes it one of the best games of 2013. So, if you came to this review with the question "is The Last of Us worth it?”, then you have your answer - yes, it is most definitely "worth it". You can stop reading right now, and go and buy the game with my guarantee that it will be an incredibly satisfying gaming experience. However, if you'd like a bit more insight into why I believe it's not quite as deserving of all of the gushing love fans have slathered on it, then please, read on.

Essentially, The Last of Us is a perfect example of how a well-written plot can't (completely) carry a mediocre game, and while it does try its best, the actual, you know, game, behind The Last of Us is what drags the rest of it down. And honestly (well, at least to me personally), that's kind of the most important part of a video game.

But let's start with what The Last of Us did well, because overall, the game generally deserves to be applauded. If there is one award that The Last of Us truly deserves, it is the Writer's Guild of America's "best writing in a video game". I laughed. I cried. I screamed in fear. The Last of Us may be a "zombie game", but like The Walking Dead before it, the real story is the human drama - how low, how high, and how downright horrible human beings become when they have their backs pushed up against the wall. Throughout the game, I was delighted to see Joel and Ellie's blossoming relationship, whether it be from the random little quips Ellie will spout while progressing through a level, or her and Joel’s heart-wrenching cutscene performances. All of the supporting cast you’ll meet along the way also does a great job of helping bring Joel and Ellie's story of survival in this beautiful, yet broken world, to a satisfying conclusion.

And boy, is this world beautiful. I was skeptical, having not played a game on last generation consoles in quite some time, that the graphics would be unbearable, but Naughty Dog has done an amazing job of squeezing those last scraps of performance out of the aging PlayStation 3 hardware. The world of The Last of Us, while not really being anything we haven't seen before in games like Half-Life 2, Resident Evil, or even Fallout, is a gorgeous place to explore. I am a sucker for urban decay, and having Joel and Ellie adventure their way through collapsed skyscrapers, abandoned subways, and cities being slowly reclaimed by nature, made me giddy. It's a lot of the little attention-to-detail stuff that Naughty Dog added, such as Ellie reacting graffiti marking the aftermath of some conflict, or the collectible notes left behind by survivors, that really breathe life into the world.

Unfortunately, the beautiful world turns a little bit ugly when we look at the game’s actual gameplay. The Last of Us' gameplay is split into three main segments: exploration, zombie combat, and human combat. The exploration sections were acceptable, as the only real complaint I had is that the solution to almost every "puzzle" is just finding a ladder or plank and boosting Ellie up to a higher location to use it.

The survival horror-style zombie combat is probably the best-designed of the three. Some levels, such as one in an abandoned high school, were truly, nail-bitingly terrifying. The only problem is, as the game progresses into the later stages, the enemies don't seem to get any harder, and once you can figure out that stealth + melee is king, and that it is impossible for your allies to accidentally trigger a zombie, the challenge kind of diminishes.

But even with the reduced challenge, the survival horror segments are still pretty satisfying. The human combat segments, on the other hand, go downhill real fast. At first, the absolutely shocking gunplay controls (who the hell thinks its a good idea to bind reload and fire to the same godamn button?) really frustrated me, but after a while I learned that, just like in the zombie segments, it's much more effective to hide and punch than shoot and flank. It doesn't help that the human AI is shockingly inconsistent. There will be times when I can strangle a dude while his buddy literally two feet away doesn't notice, and times when I barely pop my head out of cover and someone half a mile away sees me.

The human enemies are also generally, really, really dumb. It's so easy to find a cramped space where guns aren't useful, lure one guy there, kill him loudly, and then just punch all his buddies to death when they inevitably come, one by one, to investigate. And when all else fails, you can just pick up a baseball bat and sprint full tilt at rifle-armed-thugs. All they'll do is look at you, and maybe think about shooting you, right up until you knock their blocks off.

Because I barely used my guns, and almost never used the "special" weapons (such as bombs and molotovs) I always had a massive surplus of weaponry, so whenever a "boss" fight came up, I would destroy him with ease.

Furthermore, the game practically showers you with the materials for medkits. After a while, you learn exactly where to look to find their components, so I always had at least two in reserve. There was one time when I had actually ran out of medkits, and was kind of in a bad spot, when all of a sudden Ellie turns around and says "here Joel, I found this for you" and hands me one. Really?

Normally I wouldn't be so harsh on a game's difficulty, but I was playing the game on "hard" - the hardest difficulty available when you start the game. Yes, there is an additional difficulty level ("survivor"), but it is only unlocked after you have finished the main game once - a practice which I absolutely cannot stand. So yeah, If you are somewhat competent at video games, you will breeze through The Last of Us without breaking a sweat.

The best part of this game, by far, is its story, and I found myself “forcing” my way through it’s gameplay segments just to get to the next cutscene, or see the next area. While you may see this as an almighty praise for its writing, it’s also quite a harsh criticism of it’s gameplay. I shouldn't want to avoid the gameplay segments of a video game.

So while The Last of Us is an amazingly well-written written human story, Naughty Dog forgot to  pair it with an equally well-made game. Despite this, it is still a fantastic experience, and if you just want to sit back and enjoy the ride, by breezing through it on easy mode to enjoy the story, you will be satisfied. But if you came here expecting a challenge, you've come to the wrong place.

Verdict: Buy

Saturday, 21 December 2013

REVIEW: Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

The terms "killer app" and "system seller" get thrown around quite loosely these days, however, It's actually quite rare for a single game to single handedly move a substantial number of systems the way Halo did on the Xbox, or Smash Bros. did on the Wii (there are of course exceptions, such as Pokemon on the 3DS). Furthermore, all three next-gen systems have had incredibly lackluster launches, with 90% of the launch selection either being already available on other platforms, or being "ok, I guess" at best. The Wii U has had a year to find it's feet (and some decent games), and I believe Super Mario 3D World is the console's first steps to greatness. That said it is still not quite a "system seller".

Super Mario 3D World is the direct sequel to Super Mario 3D Land on the 3DS (a fantastic game in it's own right). Furthermore, it is the first 3D Mario platformer on the Wii U, and the first major Mario title without Godfather Shigeru Miyamoto's direct influence. So even before it had been released, it had some pretty big shoes to fill.

The feature that sets this game apart from other Mario games (apart from the cat suit, but we’ll get to that later), is it’s co-op (and sometimes, not so co-op) multiplayer. Yes, it has been done before in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but this is the first time it’s been done in a 3D Mario, and furthermore, it brings back the unique abilities of Peach, Luigi, Toad and Mario from Super Mario Bros. 2. Luigi jumps a bit higher, Peach has her “floaty” jumps, Toad runs faster and Mario is the all-rounder. Even if you’re playing the game in singleplayer, each character feels just unique enough to warrant switching things up from time to time.

The game is best played multiplayer with a group of good friends
But, this game should be played with friends. It is couch co-op at it’s finest. I've always been baffled by most console maker's decision to eschew local multiplayer in favor of online. Online play on any console is always going to be a vastly inferior system to what’s available (for free) on the PC, so why not focus on local multiplayer, something the PC struggles with and fits the console perfectly?

Thankfully, Nintendo is still pushing that agenda, and Super Mario 3D World is very indicative of that. The game is fantastic fun to play with friends, and it works really well. There were very few times where it felt like we were “fighting” the camera, or felt considerably disadvantaged for having multiple players. There’s a nice little competitive element to it too - the player with the most points at the end of each level gets a “crown,” so there is always this mad dash to get the most points. Multiplayer in Super Mario 3D world is a kind of maddening chaos that still somehow feels natural, with a few of the levels in particular even seeming to be designed with multiplayer in mind.

I should take some time to talk about how the game looks, because it is absolutely gorgeous. That 1080p/60fps benchmark that games on the Xbox One and PS4 are struggling to hit? 3D World pulls it off like a boss. The game never once struggled to keep its framerate, despite the fact that it was outputting to both the TV and the gamepad. The cartoony graphics of the Mario universe really pop out at you; characters feel alive, stages feel vast, and the color scheme is a welcome explosion of vibrant yellow and green in the face of the gaming world’s current obsession with brown and gray. When you add a jazzy, upbeat soundtrack that has plenty of catchy, memorable tunes, you’ve got yourself a game that looks and sounds as fun as it plays.

Super Mario 3D World's vibrant colors are a welcome change from modern gaming's obsession with brown and gray.
3D World brings back a lot of old favorite powerups, such as the fire flower and super leaf, as well as bringing in some items from recent Mario games (such as 3D Land’s boomerang suit and New Super Mario Bros.’ mega mushroom). Completely new to the game are the cat suit and the double cherry. The cat suit is the game's "big new item", with many levels, and many, many secrets being designed around it. Basically, it allows you to climb up walls, melee attack enemies, and perform a jump-dive attack. The first two skills are exceptionally useful at finding secrets and defeating enemies, while the third is exceptionally useful at diving you right off the edge of the map. Seriously. I was deathly afraid of using it most of the time because cat-Mario has some kind of death wish that can only be satisfied by leaping into the abyss.

The double cherry creates a “clone” of your character. It appears fairly rarely in the game, and while is a neat new idea, I feel like they didn't take the opportunity to properly explore it. It could have made for some total madness in multiplayer games to have levels just brimming with cherries, generating an insane amount of players on-screen at once.

The double cherry has a lot of missed potential as a power up
The game has the classic Mario difficulty curve, with the first world being complete-able by your grandma, and the final world driving even hardened veterans insane. There is a huge amount of content, with seven standard worlds and three bonus worlds - it’ll take you quite a while to get through it all, and the challenges are surmountable, but satisfying. The only thing that’s a bit lacking is the boss fights, with several of them simply being repeats, and most of them being pretty easy. I beat the final boss, for example, on my very first try.

I also had a small problem with the fifth unlockable character, Rosalina, being made available so far into the game. She is actually a pretty unique character, and is a much more interesting than Toad (sorry, Toad fans!) so it would have been nice to use her in the earlier levels, especially in multiplayer.

The boss fights are not exactly satisfying
Shoe-horned into the game, as seems to always be the case these days, are some social networking features. In this case, Nintendo’s Miiverse network bleeds in, with player’s Miis scattered throughout levels spouting whatever nonsense they last posted in the game’s Miiverse community. I don’t know how it is for English speakers, but for the Japanese version of the game, most of them were just cute pictures made with the game’s unlockable stamps. No real harm done, but it doesn’t really add anything to the game either.

I’m in kind of two worlds on my last point, which is also the reason why I don’t believe this game is a “system seller” for the Wii U. Basically, the game does not really take any advantage of the unique capabilities of the system. The gamepad’s screen simply replicates the action on the main screen for player one, and while there is a “touch baddies to make them stop/touch areas to reveal secrets” feature, it feels more like a last-minute addition than something that’s integral to the game (and it’s certainly not integral to the game). On the one hand, I think this is bad because it really does not “sell” the system, but on the other hand, I honestly don't think the game would benefit from it anyway. It may have even been detrimental to "force" more gamepad features into the game.

The catsuit, contrary to the double cherry, is a great new powerup for the Mario universe
Is Super Mario 3D world a fantastic game? Yes. Does it sell the unique features of the Wii U? No. If you already own the system it’s a no-brainer, but I honestly doubt people will be rushing out to buy a Wii U for it. Furthermore, to your average Joe, it only exacerbates the problem of people thinking the Wii U is just an addon for the Wii, rather than a new system. There’s nothing, apart from the improved graphics (which average Joe doesn't really notice anyway), that distinctly sets it apart from say, Super Mario Galaxy.

That said, you probably should rush out and buy a Wii U for this game, because it’s flipping amazing.

The game, unfortunately, does not take good advantage of the Wii U's unique features
Verdict: Buy

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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

REVIEW: Battlefield 4 (PC)

I would like to preface this review by stating that I will, at no point, talk about the game's singleplayer campaign, because honestly, who gives a damn? No-one is rushing out to buy Call of Duty or Battlefield for their compelling, human stories. People buy Battlefield for the multiplayer, and the multiplayer alone, so it only seems fair that I review the game based solely on its multiplayer merits.

So here we are, just two years out from the release of Battlefield 3, and less than a year since the last Battlefield 3 DLC. If you're thinking that the game could not have possibly changed much in such a short time you'd be right. The difference between the games is not like the huge jump between Battlfield 2 and Battlefield 3, and more like the incremental upgrade between Bad Company 1 and Bad Company 2. However, this doesn't necessarily mean the game is automatically not worth your money. There is still an enormous amount of new content, engine upgrades, and gameplay modifications here to satisfy the Battlefield fans, while still being welcoming to newcomers of the series. That said, it is also not without its own shortcomings.

Let's start with the game's much touted new feature, the one that practically screams "next-gen" at the top of its lungs. It's called "leveloution" - the ability to use explosives and interact-able objects to physically alter how a map plays. For example, in Flood Zone, you can destroy a levee, which floods the entire map with water, replacing land-based vehicles with boats. In another, Siege of Shanghai, you can bring down an entire skyscraper, making the capture point (previously at the top of the building) much more accessible.
"Leveloution" can be pretty hit-and-miss.
Leveloution is pretty hit-and-miss. In some maps it is fairly easy to pull off just by a single, determined player, and is a really cool testament to the game's physics engine. On other maps, such as Lachang Dam, it requires several people to fire roughly twelve gazillion rocket at an object for a rather unimpressive effect that only barely alters how the map plays. Fortunately, I would say that overall it is more hit than miss, with at least six of the ten maps making good use of the feature. My personal favorites were the aforementioned Flood Zone, and Parcel Storm - a map which as well as having a periodic storm that whips up the seas, making boats and aircraft a more precarious option, also features a massive battleship that dramatically beaches itself on one of the map's islands.

Maps like Parcel Storm and Siege of Shanghai really show off just how beautiful the Frostbite 3 engine is. I played the game on a pretty beefy gaming PC, and it looked absolutely gorgeous. Those of you who played BF3 on a mid-to-high-range gaming PC won't notice too huge of a change, but the difference between BF3 on the 360/PS3 and BF4 on the Xbox One/PS4 is night and day. The big focus this time around is particle effects and physics, which help showcase the game's dynamic maps.
The game has a good range of map diversity.
So (most of) the maps are good, and the game looks great, but how does it actually play? Very similar to BF3, if I'm being honest. Veterans will be able to jump right into the game without skipping a beat, as the core Battlefield infantry vs. vehicles rock-paper-scissors mechanics are still there. The recon class has had a little bit of a mix-up, with the "spec ops" loadout returning from Battlefield 2, allowing him to equip shorter-range rifles along with C4 and motion sensors, while the other classes have simply been given more toys to play with. The classes have more diversity in weapon choice, with everyone being able to equip carbines, shotguns, and the semi-automatic "designated marksman rifles".

Possibly the biggest change veterans will notice with loadouts is that you can now choose any two gadgets, instead of being "locked in" to a secondary gadget. The engineer, for example, can have both an RPG and a stinger equipped, or the support can pack C4 and claymores.
"Customization" is the key word for Battlefield 4
Also, instead of the personal/squad perks of BF3, each class has a "specialization" they can choose. Each specialization has four "levels" of perks, which unlock gradually as you perform squad actions, such as supplying ammo to squadmates or capturing an objective marked by your squad leader. Everyone has access to the basic offense, defense and stealth specs, but each class also has two of its own unique specs. For example, the assault class has the "combat medic" spec, which increases the effectiveness of his healing abilities. Furthermore, if you entire squad is wiped out, the levels earned for your specialization get reset back to level 1, meaning there is a bigger incentive to work together as a team, and try and survive if you are the last squad member standing, rather than just Rambo-ing everything.

"Customization" is the big word for Battlefield 4, and in addition to the class loadout changes and the plethora of new and confusing weapon attachments you can choose from (what the heck is a "potato grip"?), vehicle customization has received a much-needed overhaul. Gunners for land vehicles now have a separate loadout selection, just like their attack chopper counterparts. Jets have been split into two classes (attack jets and stealth jets) and boats have been completely redesigned to be more than mere transports, complete with their own loadout and unlocks.
The game looks fantastic and plays well.
In order to help deal with the massive influx of new items, DICE has introduced "battlepacks", which are earned at various milestones, and grant three to five random unlocks upon being opened. It's a pretty cool system, but I feel it's missing some kind of trading option, so I can trade with my friends to get the attachments I want for my favorite guns, rather than just hoping to get lucky.

Also new is the "commander mode", which allows one player on each team to be view the game from a birds-eye view, and issue orders, drop supplies, and call in support options such as gunships and cruise missiles. It's a nice little feature, and the fact that it runs on tablets makes it a great little tablet game, but in the end it's just too simple to be more than a temporary distraction. I worry that in the near future the commander population will drastically drop as the playerbase grows weary of it. This is bad, as if one team has a commander and the other team doesn't, it puts the no-commander team at a noticeable disadvantage.
Commander mode is too simple to be anything more than a distraction.
Battlefield 4 is fun to play. It's a good upgrade from Battlefield 3 that fixes a lot of problems players had with the game, and if it wasn't for what I am about to say, I would whole-heatedly recommend it for both veterans of the series, and newcomers looking for a new multiplayer FPS to play on Friday nights.

However. However. The game is absolutely riddled with bugs. Battlelog, which was already a mess in BF3, has not really improved at all for BF4, refusing to connect to games, download updates, or even open at all for seemingly no reason. I was (and still am) unable to get its"battlescreen" feature to work on my tablet. In game, the sound cuts out in certain areas. There are graphical glitches. Weapons sometimes do not behave the way they are supposed to, and then there are the random crashes. When I first started playing, I was lucky to go 15 minutes without a crash. I now crash, on average, every two rounds. It's very obvious that the game was rushed to meet the next-gen console launch, and even now, several weeks after launch, the issues are still very glaring.

Battlefield 4 is a fantastic game, but it's not ready yet. Check back in a month.

Verdict: Don't Buy (yet)