Battlefield 4 is out now. You probably already read my review, but if not, give it a look--I rather like the game. Now, getting started in any online shooter can be intensely intimidating, so Ive put together this little guide to help you out. Chances are, many of you play the game for hours and you already know some of these tips and tricks. Thats fine, there are plenty of ways to win a game of Conquest.
If you pick up any tips during the first few days of play, please let us know in the comments. If enough of you add something useful, Ill gather up all your advice and add them to this feature, so all GamesRadar readers can kick some ass.
1. Balance your squad
Every map in Battlefield 4 allows for vehicles, long-range sniping, and close-quarters combat (at least in larger-scale modes like Conquest, Obliteration and Rush). That means you need at least 3 of the 4 classes to really dominate each game. As its the least specialised, you can afford to ditch the Assault class, but then youre giving up healing and revives--abilities that are most useful on smaller modes like Domination and Defuse. Get yourself a Support soldier, and youre golden: few people dropped ammo kits during our review time with the game.
2. Take out tanks in pairs
Knocking out a tank or heavily armoured vehicle requires four RPGs or equivalent. The average number of rockets that you can fire at a tank, before it blows you into tiny pieces of man meat, is roughly two. Mathematically speaking, the guys in the tank will usually win each encounter unless you double up on vehicles with another Engineer. Not only can you eliminate vehicles twice as quickly, reducing the chances of you getting killed in the process, but you also confuse the pilot and gunner by giving them two targets to watch at once. Taking out vehicles is essential in bigger team modes, so this tactic can change the course of a battle.
3. Never drive alone
Hello you. Quick tip: dont be that guy who spawns into a tank at the start of the game, drives off to capture the nearest Conquest point, then abandons the tank to snipe from a bush. Youre not welcome in my squad, because youre selfish. If youre taking a vehicle, wait for other players--the more soldiers that you get into the more hotly contested Conquest points, from the start, the better chance you have of winning the whole game. Once youve grabbed central Conquest points, its easier to hold them than attack them. The best way to take hotly contested points? Show up, in force, in a vehicle.
4. For the love of God! Spot!
Every time I write a guide to Battlefield, I tell people to spot enemies. People laugh and say Hey, Andy, Im not stupid mate--thats rubbish advice. Then, when I play Battlefield online, only a tiny percentage of my team mates use spotting. So, Im going to keep writing about it. Spotting has now been assigned to R1 or RB on console, so its easier to do on the move. You get 25 points for every kill that you spotted (50 if your squad mate kills them). Its free points, and it helps your team. Keep in mind, though, that if an enemy commander is using an EMP drone, you wont be able to spot enemies in the area. Clever that.
5. Use map-specific weapons
Look at your radar. Actually, thats a great tip for anyone--keep an eye on your radar at all times. Whenever you see a gun symbol on there, you can grab a map-specific weapon, all of which are more powerful than anything in the standard kit. The .50 cal sniper at the top of the radar tower on Paracel Storm, for example, takes out enemies with one shot regardless of where you strike them. Plus, if youve grabbed it, youre already in the best part of the map to use it. Other map-specific weapons include powerful grenade launchers, automatic shotguns, and beefy heavy MGs. Use them.
6. Use vehicles in Obliteration
Whats the quickest way to get the bomb to the bomb-site in Obliteration? By jeep, by boat, by helicopter: just not on foot. The best way to win Obliteration is to team up with a decent Engineer who can fly choppers and drive boats. Not only can they get you to the site quick, but they can also cover you in the vehicle you arrived in while the bomb is getting planted. Win, win. Other smart tips for Obliteration? Use interior locations to traverse the map. You can confuse pursuers searching for you on radar, and break line of sight to recover health if youre under fire.
7. Make the perfect Assault class
Ok, so everyones preferences are different. Here are some of the set-ups I like to use playing as Assault. For starters, Id go with the M16A4 assault rifle, magnified scope for ranged damage, and grips to increase stability at long range, rather than hip-firing. M1911 as secondary. Kit? I prefer to go with the full medic set-up of Defribs and Health Pack, but if you just want to get stuck in, the M320 with HE rounds is a good option. Want to help out your team? Take the Flashbang rounds instead and blind enemies before assaulting fortified areas.
8. Make the perfect Engineer class
Engineer is my class of choice. I usually go for a Carbine instead of a PDW to give more punch at longer range. My favourite is the G36C, which lacks power, but offers excellent stability at medium to close range, especially with the right grips. Real men use ironsights on Carbines. Repair tool is essential as it can be used as a defensive and offensive weapon, and I usually pack the SMAW alongside it. Dont be afraid to switch your loadout to accommodate surface to air weapons when choppers become a problem. Oh, and once you unlock it, make sure you equip the Anti-tank field upgrade.
9. Make the perfect Support class
People under-value the Support class, so if you create a successful one, youll become a treasured asset. The M240B is one of the meatiest HMGs, so if youre going for power, grab that and stabilise it as much as possible with bipods and grips. Want to be a little more nible? The QBB-95-1 offers a little more accuracy, but at the expense of power. Always equip ammo packs as kit, and we recommend either Claymores or C4 as secondary kit, in case you run into armour.
10. Make the perfect Recon class
OK, Recon is my least favourite class. I usually turn my Recon into a close-range, shotgun carrier with C4 and a Magnum. However, if you like to snipe well, the SV-98 is a good all-rounder, although the final unlock--the SRR-61--is probably the best rifle to pick. Needless to say, get something with a high fire-rate as a secondary. As for kit? Motion sensors are handy if you want to camp, C4 is essential, and--if you want to be a team player--take a SOFLAM to beef up rocket fire.
Stay alive, soldier
Those are my tips. Given that Battlefield 4 is such a huge multiplayer game, with countless weapon options, you really should find the tactics that work for you. Use these as a starting point, and get stuck in. Doubtless, hardcore players will find ingenious strategies over the coming months. If you notice them, why not share them in the comments.