On The Level: The City, Mirror's Edge

Andy Kelly at

Every week Andy celebrates a great map, level, or location from a classic PC game in On The Level. This week it’s the unnamed dystopian city from DICE’s Mirror’s Edge.

Faith might be the protagonist of Mirror’s Edge, but the city is the star. While most dystopian science fiction uses the Blade Runner model—grime, neon, perpetual rain—the artists at DICE went in the opposite direction. Their futuristic city is every bit as sinister as Ridley Scott’s Los Angeles, but also serenely beautiful. Glance at a screenshot for a fraction of a second and you’ll know it’s Mirror’s Edge, which is a testament to its stylish, vivid art design. The gleaming skyscrapers, contrails streaking across the sky, and use of bold primary colours are instantly recognisable.

Battlefield 4 adds Community Test Environment to help with netcode fixes

Emanuel Maiberg at

It’s been six months since Battlefield 4 launched, and while DICE has made numerous improvements, it’s still suffering from a variety of issues. Most relate to its “netcode,” meaning damage registration and other player-to-player interactions. Last week, DICE launched another initiative it hopes will improve the game performance, and it’s asking for your help.

Star Wars: Battlefront to be shown in more detail at E3, says EA's CEO

Phil Savage at

I can't keep up with what is and isn't Star Wars canon these days. Is EA's new Star Wars: Battlefront part of the Expanded Universe? Will it instead be relegated to the new "Legends" branch? More importantly, how does Evan's Droid Jedi diary fit into any of this? Rather than consult my panel of bearded lore-men, I'll instead console myself with knowing that we'll be seeing more of the game at E3.

Battlefield 4 fan-made video shows the cinematic side of war

Phil Savage at

"Through my eyes, I will show you war," claims this first video in a fan-made series of Battlefield 4 shorts. What it should really say is, "through a position just behind and above my right shoulder, I will show you war," the action of the piece taking place entirely in third person. And while it may not have Kevin Spacey delivering a bitter polemic, it's still a nice reminder that DICE's shooter can be a dramatic and beautiful thing. When it works.

Battlefield 4 server update fixes "Death Shield" bug

Phil Savage at

I've got it! The only explanation for Battlefield 4's ongoing campaign of unfortunate bugs, glitches and miscellaneous issues: the game was cursed by a wizard. I've arrived at this conclusion because—as part of the blog post announcing the end of the "Death Shield" bug—DICE also revealed a console based Rent-a-Server program. Then, soon after, they updated to say it wasn't working properly. Seriously, who has that luck?

The important thing is that one of the game's stranger quirks is now fixed. As discovered only a few weeks ago, but potentially present much longer, the Death Shield would block projectiles from passing over the bodies of incapacitated soldiers.

Battlefield 4 "death shield" bug discovered, causes projectiles to bounce off invisible walls

Phil Savage at

A previously undiscovered bug has been exposed in Battlefield 4, and it could be responsible for some of the game's more frustrating moments. The "death shield" is an invisible wall that extends from downed (but not dead) players. As they lie there, waiting for a revive, the 'shield' blocks all incoming projectiles—even bouncing them back to damage your soldier. It's another blow for a game that's already had more than its share of problems. On the plus side, I can now pretend like my own incompetence is really the result of a bug.

Battlefield 4 update adds loadout presets to Battlelog

Omri Petitte at

Up until today, swapping out weapons and equipment in the thick of a Battlefield 4 match wasn't easy. Sifting through piles of unlocks lengthened spawn times and hampered momentum for players on a roll (well, that and occasional teleporting soldiers), but a fresh Battlelog update hopes to simplify inventory management with the addition of preset loadouts for the game's four kits.

4K Screenshot Showcase: Mirror's Edge

PC Gamer at

Every Monday, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.

Mirror's Edge was the game that proved dystopia didn't have to be dirty. The crisp, elegant, angular city was in beautiful contrast to the corruption and double-dealings happening inside it. Throughout, the game drew the player's eye with a restrained use of colour across the clean white and glass backdrop. It was in parts muted and vivid, as Faith travelled over, around and inside the distinct architecture. To celebrate the gorgeous setting, here's a selection of the best Mirror's Edge locations, captured in a gloriously detailed 4K resolution.

Battlefield 4 experiencing "rubber-banding" issues, DICE say reducing lag is top priority

Phil Savage at

Battlefield 4's post-launch issues are, I think, just a few months from being officially recognised as a "saga". Soon, bards will write songs about DICE's efforts to squash bugs and tighten performance.

The most recent issue—affecting "certain platforms"—is 'rubber-banding'. It's a problem that results in players warping back and forth, as high latency causes the server to lose sync with the client. DICE have now issued a statement, saying that fixing this issue is their new top priority.

Battlefield 4's delayed Naval Strike DLC fights them on the beaches today

Ian Birnbaum at

After what turned out to be a pretty short delay, the new Naval Strike DLC is landing today for Battlefield 4 Premium members, along with an extensive update full of balances, tweaks, and squished bugs. The new DLC adds four new maps with a distinct ocean-y flavor and the new Carrier Assault mode, based off of the classic Titan Mode from Battlefield 2142.

Battlefield 4: Naval Strike DLC delayed on PC; "quality is our number one priority," say DICE

Phil Savage at

As Naval Strike sets sail on consoles today, the PC version of Battlefield 4's latest DLC is being held back in the dock. DICE have announced that the expansion's launch is being delayed for an indeterminate amount of time, while they work to fix "an issue" that "needs to be solved".

4K Screenshot Showcase: Battlefield 3

PC Gamer at

Every Monday, keen screen-grabber Ben Griffin brings you a sumptuous 4K resolution gallery to celebrate PC gaming's prettiest places.

For all their faults and successes, you can't say DICE make ugly games. The Frostbite engine, over its many iterations, has excelled at modelling the destruction and chaos of big-budget militaristic entertainment. It eschews pure realism for a cinematic set-up, and uses lighting and post-processing to cast the player as the game's action hero - even in multiplayer, where their lives can be measured in minutes. To fully appreciate what the engine can do, here are 20 super high-res shots that beautifully show every gun-metal glint and flare of the lens.

Battlefield 4: Naval Strike trailer is all about the war boats

Phil Savage at

Boats aren't traditionally seen as the sexiest of war machines, which may be why DICE are working overtime to bring the bombast. If you're a student of FPS teaser trailers, you'll recognise the tricks. There are missiles, explosions, shouty men, and the bit where the music goes "werrrrrRRROMP", then goes completely silent, and then goes "werrrrrRRROMP" again.

Battlefield 4's platoons now available for all players

Phil Savage at

Last month, DICE launched Battlefield 4's platoon feature, but restricted the creation of new platoons to Premium members of at least level 10. This is at least somewhat true to the real military, who have realised that letting anybody create their own command structure would be a very inefficient way to organise troops. Luckily, Battlefield 4 is not the real military, and so their variant of the clan model is now available for all.

Battlefield 4 update rebalances weapons, tweaks vehicles, and improves stability (again)

Phil Savage at

At this point, "several crash fixes and stability improvements" must be seared into the brains of every DICE employee. I imagine them wandering their offices, chanting it like some cultish mantra. It's cropped up again as a single line on Battlefield 4's latest giant update notes. This time, though, we're also getting some extensive balance tweaks to weapons and vehicles.

There's plenty here, both the significant and the specific. For the handful of people annoyed about the Active Protection and MP-APS's inability to properly stop 12G FRAG rounds, this could be the patch of a lifetime.

Battlefield 4 netcode fixes are still "top priorities," says DICE

Emanuel Maiberg at

Four months after launch, Battlefield 4 still suffers from a variety of technical issues. Today, DICE announced what it’s doing to address these issues, as well as listing out specific problems the developer wants to target.

Battlefield 4's final two DLC packs will be developed by DICE LA

Phil Savage at

The upcoming Naval Strike pack will be DICE Stockholm's last new content for Battlefield 4. That's according to "DarkLord7854", the Reddit pseudonym of a Battlelog engineer. In a post on r/Battlefield4, the developer revealed that the game's final two DLC packs, Dragon's Teeth and Final Stand, are being handled by DICE LA. Personally, after DICE's many dinosaur teases, I'm hoping a missed memo will lead to the US-based studio accidentally adding real dragons into the game's fourth expansion. It's about time the military FPS genre took on some giant lizards, be they historical or mythological.

Battlefield 4 Platoons roll out on February 27

Emanuel Maiberg at

DICE announced today that it will finally begin rolling out Battlefield 4’s Platoons feature on February 27. Similar to the feature in Battlefield 3, BF4's platoons will allow you to create (if you have a high enough rank) or join clans of up to 100 members, and coordinate battles for you and your teammates.

Battlefield 4 is giving away free weapon shortcut kits

Phil Savage at

We're over half way through Battlefield 4's "Player Appreciation Month" promotion. Personally, I've not been taking part, as - having not logged in for months - I'm not really a player anymore, and so worry that I'm not going to be properly appreciated. For those that are basking in the warmth of DICE's personal attention, a new set of Kit Shortcuts have been released, and are free for a limited time.

Battlefield 4: Second Assault launching on PC this week

Phil Savage at

Xbox One owners have already had their fun with Battlefield 4's Second Assault expansion. At least, it looked like they were having fun. Can we really be sure, though? Maybe they were tragically forced to act out some mock pantomime of enjoyment, lest Kinect became dissatisfied with their indifference and deployed Enforced Entertainment Education drones. Luckily, the PC has yet to be invaded by omnipotent cyber-eyes, so we can all be less nervous about sitting down in front of Battlefield 4: Second Assault when it launches tomorrow, February 18th.