So I Thought I’d Play Battlefield 4′s Single Player. About That.

By John Walker on November 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Our coverage of Battlefield 4 got rather interrupted by the arrival of a baby. It happens. So in trying to catch up, I wanted to play through the single player campaign, see how it compared to COD: Ghosts’. Yeah. That would have been nice, wouldn’t it. But then EA happened.

Here’s how the process for launching a game should go:

1) Launch game.

That’s the system by which I think we can all agree games should start. This was how it went with Battlefield 4′s single player game. Let’s just repeat: single player.

1) Download via Origin. This went smoothly enough.

2) Launch game. Except no. Clicking “Play” took me to a web browser, and the Battlelog site. Except no. Because it told me that there was an error with my login details. The ones it hadn’t yet asked me for.

3) Persist with logging into Battlelog. I don’t want to use Battlelog, because I’ve no intention of playing the multiplayer. I want to just play the game. But eventually it let me in.

4) Select “CAMPAIGN”.

5) Click “PLAY CAMPAIGN”.

6) “DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL THE LATEST BROWSER PLUGIN TO PLAY THE GAME” it booms. So I click Download Plugin.

7) I follow the instructions, and it tells me it will now work.

8) I click “PLAY CAMPAIGN”.

9) It continues to ask me to download the plugin.

10) I reboot the web browser, and now when I choose “PLAY CAMPAIGN” things start happening at the bottom of the screen. It is “initiating”.

11) It jumps back to Origin, in its attempts to start.

12) It jumps back to the Battlelog site, with a new message about logging me in.

13) It jumps back to Origin, with a new window that declares that my version of Battlefield 4 is not registered to the address I’m using. I’m using only one address for the entire process.

14) I try to start over, but now the EA servers won’t let me log in at all. “Problem contacting EA Login, please try again in a while.”

15) Start writing this.

16) Keep trying to log in. Eventually it works.

17) Click “PLAY CAMPAIGN”.

18) If faffs around, flips back to Origin, back to the website, and then finally, it launches.

19) I alt-tab out of the “Borderless Window” game to get back to this CMS page to report the success.

20) I can’t do that.

21) BF4 has taken over Chrome, despite the number of tabs I have open, and it’s impossible to access any of them while the game is running.

22) Quit out of BF4.

23) Drop to my knees, shake my helpless fists at the sky, and wonder if EA just hates its customers beyond all previously known scales of hate.

This is pitiful. After the clusterfuck of idiocy that accompanied SimCity’s pathetically embarrassing launch earlier this year, you’d imagine EA might have gained some insight into the abject stupidity of making your game near impossible for people to play. The above likely happened because of a blip on their servers. But it happened. And goodness knows how often they blip. I tried to play a single-player game, with no interest in the multiplayer component, and I was forced through a monstrous process of gibberish that had nothing to do with anything. Sure, if it weren’t permanently spying on my otherwise offline gaming I wouldn’t get the Wuzzles sticker to put on my soldier’s backpack in the online game, or whatever blither it might be. I think I’d scrape through.

And yes, BF4 is considered, by the hardcore die-hard fans, to be a multiplayer game, it’s single-player there for only the silly people. But what die-hard fans tend to forget is that they aren’t everyone else, and the single-player game was created – at vast expense – for people to play. Except then the bullshit gets involved and what a miserable experience it is to try to.

It runs, in a fashion, now. But bloody hell, if I hadn’t had the satisfaction of being able to chronicle the tedium on here, I’d have given up trying and gone to play something else.

Update: People are reporting switching Origin to Offline mode gets you a working version of the game. Two things there. 1) Why the hell should that be necessary? and 2) I don’t want it in offline mode, when updates, etc. A useful workaround, but one that should never be needed in the first place.

, , , , .

188 Comments »

Top comments

  1. Bodge says:

    Just a quick shout to say that there is a significant crown or RPSers banding together for BF4 multiplayer shenanigans and we even have our own server. Seach for “Rock Paper” in the server name box and it will pop up. It is only 30 + 2 slots right now but may change in the future. Pop to the thread to get involved:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?11989-Battlefield-4-extreme-mans-shootings

  1. Premium User Badge

    Llewyn says:

    All made worse by the fact that you know you won’t even have a good time now you’ve got it running…

    • Grey Poupon says:

      And the fact that a pirated version most likely just starts up when you doubleclick the .exe also makes it quite a bit worse in my eyes. Sometimes it feels DRM is there just to mess with the legit customers.

      • JimboDeany says:

        This. It’s similar to being forced to watch the “You wouldn’t steal a bag” video on a legitimate copy of a DVD – why the fuck they think that making me watch that is a good idea when I’m clearly not one of the target audience….

        • FurryLippedSquid says:

          I just stand up and confront the TV. Oh I wouldn’t would I? Then next time I’m in Tesco I’ll put an EMPTY bag in to one of my bags and feel smug.

        • Runty McTall says:

          Also the fact that stealing an intangible asset (intellectual property theft) is not the same thing as stealing a tangible asset, let alone with violence.

          Not to say that IP theft isn’t important and morally suspect but if they said “You wouldn’t buy generic drugs from an emerging market manufacturer that doesn’t respect the patent rights of the western pharma giant that developed them…” then it would be a much fairer analogy.

          Also, watching a Disney DVD is a thing of horror – you need to pop it in the tray about 30 minutes early to give it time to run through all the damn adverts (half of which are for things that are “coming soon!” as if that makes sense on a fixed medium!)

          • Premium User Badge

            bglamb says:

            Yeah. I always think “Well no, I wouldn’t steal a car, but if I could just download one … “

          • MightyRoboto says:

            You know that you can just hammer the skip forward button to get to the menu in about four second flat right?

          • malkav11 says:

            If they haven’t generously disabled that function for the duration of that and any other pointless bullshit they’ve decided to stick ahead of the menu. Which, let me assure you, most of them do at this point, especially the sort made by people who think it makes any sense to put antipiracy warnings on your legitimately purchased copy. (This is why I watch these things on my PC, where there is software to disable their disabling.)

          • Runty McTall says:

            So, I was going to write:

            “Next time I watch Cinderella I’ll try hitting all the various fast forward, skip and menu keys to see if I’ve missed one but to be honest I think I’ve tried everything at this point”

            But then I realised I’ve just ripped all the DVDs to my NAS and stream them to my TV so I don’t need to deal with this rubbish. And that, incidentally, put me to a lot of effort and was still technically illegal so they should be damn grateful I didn’t just torrent them (quicker, often easier*, still illegal and the low, low price of free).

            Dealing with the “modern” media industry really is ridiculous. In a few years I’m sure that they will wake up to the market reality and this period will seem so bewilderingly idiotic as to be scarcely credible (my optimism in this regard comes from the trajectory that mp3s have taken).

            *I’m looking at you, Disney, with your BS limited release windows for actually buying your damn back catalogue.

          • Baines says:

            Various movies have different buttons disabled, leading you to mashing everything on the remote to find the one that might have accidentally been left enabled. Is it Menu? Or Top Menu? Sometimes you have to Scene Advance each separate preview. I’ve run into one or two DVDs that only allow regular VHS-style fast forwarding.

            The annoyance really does drive me to consider ripping repeatedly viewed DVDs (like kids DVDs), stripping out the garbage, and putting them on an external drive or NAS and letting the Blu-ray player just read them from there.

          • LionsPhil says:

            If ripping is too much hassle, you could also just play them through a computer. Last I knew, VLC automatically skipped sections marked as unskippable, since they are almost certainly “STOP RIGHT THERE, POTENTIAL CRIMINAL SCUM” or advertisements.

          • Premium User Badge

            Vandelay says:

            Huh? The Disney Blu-Rays I have all actually say to press the Top Menu button to skip the ads right at the start of them. They are probably one of the easiest to get through the crap at the start. Not sure if the DVDs are the same though.

            It is annoying and I don’t like being told not to be a criminal when I haven’t been, but it isn’t something that will drive me to piracy any more than developer videos at the start of a game. It isn’t really comparable to the above.

          • Beekay_ says:

            Cheat code for DVDs: Hit stop stop play and it should skip all previews and go straight to the movie. It works with most DVD players anyway.

          • apa says:

            What are these doovdes you speak of? Can you play them with a Joovce? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=scjVvav-rXo

        • Scumbag says:

          In my experience with retail an actual thief (if they gave a moment to think about it) would say:

          “I would not steal a bag, but I usually use a bag to steal.”

        • NoseBagUK says:

          I always think….”No I wouldn’t steal a car, but I’d probably buy a stolen one for the right price”

        • AngryAnt says:

          I really hate the “you wouldn’t steal” theft ads, but recently i’ve been seeing the “You bought a legal dvd, THANK YOU!” ad appear, which i think is far better (plus i believe i can skip past it).


          The problem with BF4 is EA.. Take away EA and their TERRIBLE servers/bugs/etc and if you can actually play BF4, it isn’t a bad game, just don’t try and play on a 64 person server as you’ll crash very quickly even though they’ve claimed to have fixed loads of bugs.

          • GameCat says:

            “You bought a legal dvd,”

            You bought a legal DVD just to watch 5 minutes of unskipable commercials at the beggining of movie. Yeah, fuck you legal consumer, watch these ads, WATCH THEM.

          • Premium User Badge

            phuzz says:

            I was wondering why I’d never seen that “you’ve bought a legal DVD, thank you!” screen, and then I realised I’ve not bought a DVD in years.
            Too late movie industry, too little, too late.

        • bleeters says:

          I think my absolute favourite was one I saw a couple of years ago perhaps, contrasting people who watch legitimate dvds against someone who just downloads it.

          The first group, cool guys with genuine attractive girl people in the room omg, sat in their brightly coloured, orange tinted room full of furniture and sunshine and good times. They laughed, they woo’d, there were even high fives at one point. Do people high five when watching films? I can only guess.

          The downloader, by contrast, sat alone at his grey table, on his grey chair, in his grey room, slowly and frustratingly watching his download trickle away through his nerd-goggle glasses. Eventually, the download cancels and he has to start all over again (uh?), causing him to leave his dank cell of a room in frustration.

          I swear this was a real thing, and it was the most equal parts patronising and hilarious attempt to discourage me from hypothetical piracy I’d ever seen. They’d tried telling me piracy funds terrorism. They’d tried telling me piracy. Is Stealing. Stealing. Is. A. Crime. Now they were basically just calling me a loser. And who wants to be a loser, right?

          • Universal Quitter says:

            Dude, you gotta watch part 2 of that one, where the loser-pirate kid grows up to be a software engineer and the “cool kids” succumb to STDs and teen pregnancy, with the survivors forced to work fast-food and retail till their meaningless, impoverished deaths.

        • Daemoroth says:

          Always makes me think of this.

      • mouton says:

        Similar thing happened with AssCreed 2 back when Uplay was introduced in its early form. All that talk about slowdowns due to synchronizing with servers had me scratching my head – had no such issues in my Slightly Counterfeit Demo Version.

      • GameCat says:

        DRMs like these always remind me of some imaginary shop where every customers are accused of beign a thief AFTER they paid for their weekly groceries and security guard must search them while huge groups of real thieves are watching through window and laugh at them while drinking can of soda and eating chips.

        • LionsPhil says:

          And that just makes me think of pseudo-Daily Mail outrage headlines.

          THIEVES GET AWAY WITH STEALING GOODS FROM GROCER’S AFTER LEGAL LOOPHOLE ALLOWS THEM TO BRIBE CASHIER WITH PRICE OF ITEM

          • bleeters says:

            I’m not sure there’s enough scapegoating for that to be a Daily Mail headline. Now, if they were immigrants using benefit money to pay the bribe, we’d be reaching the required level of bullshit.

          • His Dudeness says:

            @ Bleeters

            You left out the part were aforementioned immigrants, after running out of benefits money, were conning a poor pensioner, survivor of the Crimean War and the charge of the Light Brigade, out of his pension money.

            Now the Daily Fails editors cockles are slowly warming up…

      • max pain says:

        And that’s why you crack legitimate copies of the game too. Or don’t play it at all. Vote with your wallets!

  2. WeltEnSTurm says:

    It knows that your response to the game itself will be worse than this, so it keeps you from playing it.

    • Hallgrim says:

      I know it is a bit spammy when people say this, but that really made me chuckle. Well done.

  3. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Sounds just like the time I bought Battlefield 3, except on top of all that it didn’t work for around 2 months. EA customer service were no service to this customer at all. Hence I have not bought this game. Do one, EA.

    • guidom says:

      I too had massive stability probs initially with BF3. I mistakenly bought BF4, thinking that EA would have learned their lessons. Let’s just say that I get through about 30% of the games I start without crashing. Shameful.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Stability – specifically the crash-to-desktop thing – is a bizarre problem that’s been plaguing the series since Bad Company 2. It affects a noticeable number of players, it’s infamously well-known to both EA and DICE, yet they can’t be bothered to attempt fixing it and they blame it on anything from “hardware conflicts” to “PunkBuster” to “DDOS attacks” to “it must be your dog”. They’ve never taken responsibility for it, and it’s the primary reason I won’t even think of looking at BF4.

        • Geen says:

          Punkbuster is a somewhat valid excuse given how shit it is (Red Orchestra 2, anyone? YOUR FRAMERATE IS LOW, THUS YOU ARE A SPEEDHACKER) but it’s still their fault for using the godforsaken thing in the first place.

      • His Dudeness says:

        Sorry but…..WHY?

        Isn’t that the definition of insanity…doing something time and again expecting a different result?!

    • Koozer says:

      My first few weeks of BF3 were spent staring at a little box saying ‘initialising’ in the corner of my browser. When I finally got it to work I discovered that when I joined a server, it would kick my brother from his game. On a different server. With his own copy of the game.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Sounds like a bullet point feature to me.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          I don’t mean to pry (which, come to think of it, is a strange thing to say since people saying that usually do mean to), but.. familial problems, dear sir?

          • Smion says:

            Not after that tragic accident at the Essex County Fair “Blitz-Shearing Contest for young and old”. Now there are no problems at all.

      • Runty McTall says:

        I’m assuming you were behind the same network, right? Otherwise this is some impressive voodoo shit right here!

        Almost Molyneux-esque; “I envisage a game where when a family member is killed, their relatives are kicked out of whatever game they are in to return home for the funeral”

  4. RoyalPumkin says:

    Wanted to play BF3 Multi, opened the battlelog: “Problem contacting EA Login”
    In the corner of my screen Feedly advertises this article.
    I’m not alone in this EA madness.

  5. BockoPower says:

    And that’s why I love torrents for such single player “games” from certain publishers.

  6. Ansob says:

    I still don’t know why they insist on running Battlelog via your actual browser rather than the perfectly good Chromium that is already integrated into Origin. It would skip having to download plugins and having to use your real browser for this stuff, and actually make use of Origin’s integrated browser.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Because somewhere in Marketing, someone had an awful idea and then beat anyone who came to them with legitimate concerns to death with their penis, or just decided to compete with Steam then underfunded the result.

  7. nothingfaced says:

    It *is* a bit shit, no doubt, but I didn’t have that much trouble. Installing the browser plugin caused the largest diarrhea pile for me. Messy.

  8. Jason-118 says:

    Or you could just set your Origin client to offline mode and then launch Battlefield 4 singleplayer like it was designed to do?

    • Stardreamer says:

      1) How do you know that will work?
      2) Is that insane requirement clearly stated at any point, either on the manual/box or on the Origin page?
      3) No modern game should ever require the client to be set to a specific mode of operation by the user simply to launch it. That way lies madness, possibly even death.
      4) Please stop trying to make it sound like 3) is in any way normal. The entire history of games that are not Battlefield is evidence to the contrary.

      • Jason-118 says:

        Well I’d just thought i’d post a workaround for the original poster seeing as he was complaining he can’t play singleplayer in his free time.

        Thanks for the hostile reply though!

        • John Walker says:

          You were being hostile too!

          Tsk.

          • Jason-118 says:

            I was being hostile what by posting a solution to your problem that you wrote a whole article for?

          • Spoon Of Doom says:

            No, you were being hostile by formulating it in such a way that it implies the solution is obvious and/or normal and that the author was kind of dumb to not think of it.

          • Jekhar says:

            I’m not a native english speaker, but i’d say his sentence could either be meant helpful or hostile, all depending on the tone he delivers it in. As this is missing in text form, maybe we shouldn’t imply he had bad intent without any context. If you just desperately want to take offence on the other hand…

          • 00000 says:

            Hello-ooo, you’re on the internet! Hostile intent is assumed by default, don’t you know?

          • Premium User Badge

            Nogo says:

            Jekhar, please refrain from commenting on written English.

            Thanks.

        • Stardreamer says:

          Apologies if that came across as hostile. Wasn’t aimed at you per se, I just think that such a requirement to launch a singleplayer game is ludicrous, and any such requirement should be more clearly explained to the user, than letting anyone endure the torturous process John described. *I* had no idea that was a thing, and I’ve been playing games heavily since 1982.

          And it wasn’t what you said that prompted the responses, but the way you said it. It sounded rather patronising.

          • Jason-118 says:

            No problem, I know that it shouldn’t be this way but what i’ve come to learn from pc gaming is that it’s never straightforward.

      • Longtime Listener says:

        “3)No modern game should ever require the client to be set to a specific mode of operation by the user simply to launch it. That way lies madness, possibly even death.”

        Isn’t that precisely how Steam’s offline mode still works? I know last time I mentioned being unable to play Portal 2 without an internet connection I had a dozen people respond calling me a fool for not performing the voodoo ritual that lets Steam run in offline mode. “What you thought you could just click the exe and run it? Moron! First you need to go online, then you need to download all the updates for the client, then update the game, then disable future updates, then close any ongoing background updates and now that you’re finally online you can enable offline mode.”

        Between broken offline modes, endless inescapable patches and the need to keep a legal pad to track all my usernames/password any kind of meta game client is a huge turn off for me. It’s gotten to the point I’ll actually buy the inferior console version of games that require Origin, Steam et al. My start up time for BF3 single player on PS3 was thirty seconds and that included the time it took to tempt my cat out of the comfy chair.

        • killias2 says:

          He wasn’t trying to play offline. He was simply trying to play single player under any circumstances. Different problem.

          Also, consoles have a lot of the same issues with patches and logins, at least when it comes to multi-player. It sort of seems that a bullet was dodged when it came to next generation single player as well, given the last minute DRM changes.

          • Longtime Listener says:

            When a game is unplayable because of broken online DRM the first thing you do should be to switch to offline mode. I thought that was standard practice by this point?

          • killias2 says:

            I’ve never fixed a DRM problem by going offline, but, regardless, it’s still a different problem. You wanted to play a game offline. He wanted to play the game, regardless of the state of his connection.

        • Banjo-Tuesday says:

          Yes, but was your cat in offline mode?

    • guidom says:

      oh my… had no idea that was possible. Facepalm.

  9. Fenix says:

    Haha, “Battlelog”. Seeing these images reminds me of when I was trying to get GFWL plagued games to work properly (spoiler: in the end, they never did and I gave up).

    P.S. You say “battlenet” several times, that’s Blizzards online service.

    • Haplo says:

      Yes, exactly. This reminds me exactly of when I tried to once get Dawn of War 2 to play on GfWL.

      The typical culprit is that the game would go YOUR CLIENT IS OUTDATED, UPDATE GODDAMNIT and I’d hit update, and the update mechanic would always, like broken, knockoff clockwork from Negaswitzerland, fail.

      And then you’d have to update manually, and that’d work sometimes, but this one time I tried to get to to play with a friend and it took three hours and several reinstalls…

    • John Walker says:

      Cheers, fixed.

    • The Dark One says:

      YOU MUST DOWNLOAD ADDITIONAL PLUGINS.

    • Ross Angus says:

      If you say “Battlenet” five times, does it magically appear?

      • Nick says:

        Yes, but it also shanks you in the spine.

        • Longtime Listener says:

          Nah that’s GFWL. Battlenet is much more a slenderman style creature who just silently watches your every move from afar.

          • solidsquid says:

            Personally I’d say it’s more like an Enderman, but instead of taking your blocks it takes your ethernet ports

          • Ross Angus says:

            @solidsquid: oh, my aching ports.

      • SIDD says:

        What we really need to know is what to say to get it to f*ck off for good! ;)

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      No. There is no way that Battlelog can be compared to the unholy abomination that is GFWL (or Uplay, for that matter.) Battlelog never tied saves to both account and OS, unlike GFWL, which nearly caused me to lose 40 or so hours of progress in Batman: Arkham City. Battlelog never made it literally impossible to log into my account, unlike Uplay, which created an account for me through Steam sans email, but which now requires an email to log in.

  10. Stardreamer says:

    Just had a flash there of myself as a 60 year old man telling my grand-children fireside scare stories of the way the games industry used to be run, the trembling mites clutching at each other every time I mention the dread name “EA”. More likely they won’t even believe it, they’ll just laugh at the crazy old duffer with his wild tales of bygone horrors.

    • Mman says:

      If things continue to ramp up the way they are then we’ll be looking back on only having to deal with this with fond nostalgia in the future.

      • Sakkura says:

        The way things are going, he might run into DRM on his grandchildren, with their genes copyrighted by corporations and DRM to ensure he can only interact with them if he’s paid his subscription and the server has validated him as a person they’re allowed to recognize. EA, Monsanto and the like probably view Gattaca as an interesting, but too unambitious vision statement.

        • Baines says:

          Genes get patented, not copyrighted.

          The US Supreme Court finally decided earlier this year that you couldn’t patent naturally occurring human genes. By the time they had made the ruling, apparently over 40% of human genes had already been patented.

          The company that tried to patent a couple of cancer genes might have pushed things too far. (The patent would have given them exclusive rights to testing for those cancer genes as well as developing gene therapies.)

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Yeah. With the new consoles out any minute now the big publishers will need to find new ways to crap all over PC gaming. Like last time. Because everyone should play their new shiny expensive console games and “PC is dying and horrible” again.

  11. Bodge says:

    Just a quick shout to say that there is a significant crown or RPSers banding together for BF4 multiplayer shenanigans and we even have our own server. Seach for “Rock Paper” in the server name box and it will pop up. It is only 30 + 2 slots right now but may change in the future. Pop to the thread to get involved:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?11989-Battlefield-4-extreme-mans-shootings

    • Felix_Bisto says:

      To echo Bodge’s comments, its always a hilarious game because we are all (apart from a select few) terrible at BF4!!

  12. Brian_black says:

    But were there dogs?

    • TheVGamer says:

      Your squadmate kills two dogs as you, the camera man with a gun that doesn’t shoot, silently watch the game put this on your table as some sort of spectacle. It happens five minutes into the game, not counting the Origin/Battlelog wankery.

  13. Screamer says:

    Its much easier to go offline and launch the singleplayer from there. They should really tell people that when their servers are acting up/maintenance.

    So far the PC launch has been disastrous.! Servers crashing, shit net code, Siege of Shanghai unplayable because everyone gets kicked as soon as the building falls over, etc…. I don’t think they can honestly say they tested this on a single PC before BETA/launch.

    But I keep going back, great fun!

    • kud13 says:

      But how can they communicate with you when their server is down?

  14. Zanchito says:

    “13) It jumps back to Origin, with a new window that declares that my version of Battlefield 4 is not registered to the address I’m using. I’m using only one address for the entire process.”
    So for those of us without a static IP address this means “do not bother, ever. At all.”

    • Premium User Badge

      tigerfort says:

      I’d assumed that meant “email address”, rather than ip address. Home connections with static ip addresses are pretty rare in most parts of the world.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        I’m so glad that my ISP switched to static. When they were still circulating a dynamic IP range I once got an address some gamer troll had totally ruined. It was banned from a whole bunch of my regular websites and communities. I didn’t dare to play anything online or use steam while I had that address.

  15. richlamp says:

    I tried playing some Battlefield 3 for the first time in about a year the other day but no matter what I did I’d end up being automatically booted from every server I entered. I tried updating Punkbuster (whatever that is) and tried playing on a variety of servers but the end result remained the same – me getting kicked. I gave up and uninstalled it after a while.

    • Viroso says:

      Here’s what Punkbuster is
      http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/ZoranCunningham/20131004/201504/The_problem_with_PunkBuster_and_the_lack_of_good_anticheat_solutions.php

      TL;DR

      From Punkbuster’s ToS<

      Licensee understands and agrees that the information that may be inspected and reported by PunkBuster software includes, but is not limited to, devices and any files residing on the hard-drive and in the memory of the computer on which PunkBuster software is installed. Further, Licensee consents to allow PunkBuster software to transfer actual screenshots taken of Licensee’s computer during the operation of PunkBuster software for possible publication.

      Some more totally WTF stuff

      Licensee agrees that any harm or lack of privacy resulting from the installation and use of PunkBuster software is not as valuable to Licensee as the potential ability to play interactive online games with the benefits afforded by using PunkBuster software.

      Statement from Punkbuster’s developer

      In order for games having PunkBuster integrated to be more secure, the part of PunkBuster that needs full access to the computer for scanning purposes now must run all the time at the system level.

      I once like a year ago installed Red Orchestra 2, it had Punkbuster. I played it maybe one hour of it, uninstalled the game. A month ago Punkbuster was not only still installed on my computer, but it was RUNNING. It had been RUNNING ALL THE TIME SINCE I INSTALLED RED ORCHESTRA 2! And I know RO2 was the only game I ever played with Punkbuster.

      It’s totally bonkers.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Wow that’s crazy! I knew that the process was still running in the background when not playing and even after uninstalling any punkbuster games but didn’t know the juicy bits from the license. =/
        I wonder if it’s possible to block it with a simple firewall rule as long as it’s kept updated. Probably not.

      • Koozer says:

        Punkbuster has always been horrible ever since Battlefield 1942. It kicks legitimate players, and never catches cheaters. The best servers were the ones that just turned it off.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        I wonder if they are collecting details of all Torrented games on PC’s for future legal actions? If you pirate by agreeing to those T&C’s you are opening yourself up to a whole load of shite!

        I don’t pirate but if I did I’d have a dual boot!

  16. DougyM says:

    Strange, i managed to get the campaign running without any problems, including running it in offline mode when i was installing my new graphics card and wanted to test things out before connecting everything back into my rig again.

    As for the campaign, not a great experience, not a terrible one either. Games like battlefield really only have a campaign so that they can use snipets from it in the pre release marketing of the game. Not that that excuses the single player being mediocre but it illustrates why its thrown into the MP side of things via needing battlelog to launch (at first, afterwards offline mode works like a charm).

    Lastly its not just a minority of “hardcore” fans who think that Battlefield is first and foremost a multiplayer title, until the likes of Bad Company 2 and BF3 the series never even had proper single player on PC. It was launched and grew for 4 major releases as only a MP game (1942, BFV, BF2, BF2142)…

    The day that Dice remove single player from the series entirely would be a great day. Though RPS might need to find something else to intentionally have trouble with so that they can post a diatribe about EA.

    • Koozer says:

      “intentionally have trouble with?” Please tell us how to intentionally cause all these problems, so we can tell EA and they might actually fix them.

      • derbefrier says:

        Exaggeratioin is what he’s talking about I suppose. I had some of the same issues as john but I was still playing the game within a few minutesof initially launching it. Shit needs to update sometimes its not the end of the world as this story might have you believe, just a little annoying is all.

        • Runty McTall says:

          If it takes 16 steps to get a game to load, that’s far too many even if they are all clear and appear to work as expected, which in this case they were not and did not.

          You may be willing to swallow such poor service but many of us are not and sitting quietly and taking it doesn’t get shit fixed.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        That is a bold accusation to make, especially considering he is not alone in his grievances!

        Dare I interject ‘Fan Boy!’

        • Lusketrollet says:

          As a member of the RPS-community, you should be careful about calling other people “fanboy”.

          Also Dice should stop making this horrendous story-driven “Campaign”-nonsense and instead try and hook single-player enthusiasts by spending that time and energy on producing good, high-quality, smart AI-controlled Bots for simulated multiplayer.

    • MattM says:

      I dunno about BF but COD spends a lot of money on creating its SP campaign and a lot of time promoting it in the press and with advertisements. These campaigns aren’t the TF2 offline tutorial.

  17. cunningmunki says:

    I remember going through all this rigmarole with both BF3 and the BF4 beta. I bet console players don’t have to go through all this shit, so why is it inflicted on us PC players?

    That’s a good word, “rigmarole”. My PC gaming life often seems to be full of rigmarole.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Gaming PC’s are often called Rigs, which may explain the perfect fit of the word. :)

  18. Premium User Badge

    Malcolm says:

    Any (non-browser) game where the startup sequence involves the instruction “Install browser plugin” should be discarded with the contempt it deserves. I had a similar series of “WTF?” moments after being convinced against my better judgement to buy Battlefield 3.

    I’m assuming they arrived at this bone-headed design so that you can launch multiplayer games from the browser. I’m also assuming that whoever designed this atrocity has never heard of custom protocol handlers (think steam:// links) where you can register your application (like origin, or just the game) as one and then you click a link in your unadulterated browser and it automagically runs the registered app. That way your game is in the driving seat and you can bypass all this crap if you just want to launch a game like a normal person.

    • mouton says:

      They could use the damn browser, if they really wanted.

      But for that they would have streamline the whole thing. Why can’t it all be automated?

    • Baines says:

      I believe the excuse given for Battlefield 3 was that the browser set-up was easier for DiCE/EA to modify and update.

  19. John Mirra says:

    But this experience is much more interesting and challenging than the game itself.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I disagree: what makes me most cross about this article is that I’m being denied one of John’s famous articles about modern shooters. It seems I can’t get enough of John getting furious in a corridor.

  20. derbefrier says:

    Battlelog can be wierd but after I got the plugin updated it hasn’t given me any trouble. I like it to be honest despite its occansional pain in the assness. Though it would be nice if the single player was seperated from that for obvious reasons.

  21. yogibbear says:

    We need follow up article:

    “So I thought I’d Play Battlefield 4 Multiplayer”

    Opens Origin -> Clicks Battlefield 4 -> Looks at messy Chrome Battlelog screen and attempts to find a server with minimal filter/search capability -> Double clicks on something appropriate, “waits in queue”. -> Gives up waiting and double clicks on the same server again -> Client loads BF4 with window minimized -> Alt-tab’s and shift+enter’s to maximise the window -> Selects a load out -> Spawns -> “YOU WERE KICKED FROM THE GAME BY PUNKBUSTER”, -> Downloads punkbuster -> Restarts PC -> Repeats all previous steps and can’t find last server trying to join, so picks new one -> Loads into it after 2 minutes (game is installed on SSD) -> Runs around a corner -> “YOU WERE KICKED FROM THE GAME BY PUNKBUSTER” -> Goes to Punkbuster website, selects windows latest version, rather than game release that was installed -> installs that one, navigates to PkbstrA.exe and runs that file -> waits…. -> PkbstrA.exe is blocked -> Runs PkbstrA.exe again -> PkbstrA.exe is OK -> relaunches BF4 -> Battlelog -> server queue -> double click again -> loads games -> Runs around corner of map -> GAME OVER YOUR TEAM WINS ? (opponents out of tickets) -> Waits for server to load next map.

    • MykulJaxin says:

      I don’t really care for Origin. I played the Battlefield 3 beta and I just felt kind of dirty as Origin opened several windows and installed lots of things. It’s like I had no control over what it was doing.

  22. xcession says:

    I appreciate this review is mainly meant as a damning indictment of BF4′s single player experience, but you’re really only just scratching the surface even if it had worked as expected. BF4′s multiplayer experience is where the facepalms really start to fly.

    It’s currently unplayable, not because the game design is bad or anything so easily put down to opinion and shrugged off, but because the game crashes on – from what I can tell – every platform (with a wide-ranging selection of hardware combinations), every match, every 15-20 minutes. And up until yesterday, if your game didn’t crash, you’d have experienced some of the worst netcode ever.

    I’d really like RPS to take DICE/EA to task on their launch, testing and community support procedures. Is it too much to ask, for example, for an apology that 3 weeks after launch the MP game is still literally unplayable?

  23. womp says:

    23) Drop to my knees, shake my helpless fists at the sky, and wonder if EA just hates its customers beyond all previously known scales of hate.

    EA = AM

  24. Lemming says:

    I don’t use Origin, but the bits about you having to add something to your browser certainly raised an eyebrow. Are you joking? Tell me you’re joking. WTF are EA doing pissing about with your browser?

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      Sadly, it’s not a joke. This particular madness started with BF3 already.
      And by the sound of this article, the process hasn’t been improved a single bit.

      • bstard says:

        The browser would allow this game to being sold by other digital resellers ;)

      • Ross Angus says:

        Can you nominate a browser to take a hit, on behalf of your real browser? (IE: I’m looking at you)

        • Spoon Of Doom says:

          Kind of. If you hit “Play” from Origin, it opens your default browser. But you can manually start another browser and open the battlelog page from there.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            The question is which browser gets “the operation”, which is to say the plugin.

            At least in firefox, it’s pretty easy to kill off plugins you didn’t ask for. I don’t know about other modern browsers.

          • Spoon Of Doom says:

            Good question. It’s been a while, so I’m not sure, but I think it’s an “install once and fuck all browsers simultaneously”-installer, meaning you’d have to remove the plugin from your real browser afterwards.

          • Ross Angus says:

            Thanks. I feel a bit better about one day installing Battlefield 3 now. I shall get all my little browsers in a tub, and scrub them thoroughly afterward.

          • LionsPhil says:

            FWIW, modern IE has got very defensive about browser add-ons (being the usual target for a hundred of the horrid little buggers), and you can enable/disable them all individually much as you can with Firefox.

  25. Viroso says:

    What can men do against such reckless hate?

  26. Dug Briderider says:

    I’ve seen that Error screen far too many times over the last week, decided to upgrade my old graphics card because BF4 was stretching it a bit. Not been able to play it since. “Error, Disconnected you were kicked from server” on 99% of all attempts to get to multi-player

    Reinstalled everything to do with the game Hoping the rumoured client patch will help, but I’ve only seen two other EA forum post with the same problem so I imagine it low of their very long list of fixes.

    The gutting thing is the 1% of times I have got on and thought I’ve fixed it (or identified the problem) gives me false hope. The old graphics card is sitting on the side of my desk tormenting me with “25Fps better than sweet FA bruce yeesss”

  27. Spoon Of Doom says:

    That’s pretty much why I still get stomach cramps and anxiety attacks when friends ask me to play BF3 with them. Because, should I be foolish enough to accept this invitation, it almost certainly means that there is a new version of the browser plugin available, which I need to update to. This works maybe one in five times, the other times it just refuses to acknowledge that I actually installed the update, no matter how often I restart the browser, my PC, which browser I try, or how many virgin goats I sacrifice.
    Then, when/if it finally accepts the new plugin version after 30-60 minutes of fiddling (optimistically), half the time of that the voice chat, which the others are using and thus group pressuring me into, won’t work, so I have to start fiddling with the half working plugin yet again. Each try may result in any of the following possibilities, ordered by descending probability:
    1) No change
    2) Back to square 1, i.e. the “update your plugin, puny human” message is back
    3) The second coming of christ, accompanied by the flying spaghetti monster, Zeus and Cthulhu, all sharing a hearty laugh at how stupidly we humans used to argue about religion
    4) Voice chat AND launching the game is possible.

    This of course does not mean that you can successfully join a server. And that’s not even all that bugs me about this stupid browser-plugin-Origin monstrosity that is Battlefield 3.

    If you haven’t guessed it, I’m not particularly interested in trying BF4, even though I think that I might actually like the gameplay, if there’s any way to get to it.

  28. ZackRoyer says:

    I’ve gave up after reinstalling BF3 and get throught the same issues and bugs I’ve already fixed once (punkbuster shits, drivers issues ALREADY fixed). Too much trouble to play, no play.

  29. remoteDefecator says:

    At this point, if you piss your money away on EA garbage, you deserve what you get. It’s not like they just started this crap. Every release just reinforces the fact that they don’t give two shits about customer satisfaction or making good games. It’s all about the profits for the next quarter and everything else be damned. No thanks; I’ll spend my money on games that have devs who care.

    • Synesthesia says:

      amen. Fuck that battlelog bullshit. What on earth are they thinking? What is the idea behind it?

  30. Monkeh says:

    Everything worked fine from the get-go for me, though I have played BF3 a few months ago.

  31. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    EA working harder than ever to maintain their worst company in America title I see. And from what I hear the singleplayer, while better than BF3, still isn’t that good. I think I’ll give it a miss so I don’t end up stabbing a small child in my frustration.

  32. Didden says:

    As with all Origin only products, I will vote by not buying it. This message has been endorsed by Russell Brand.

  33. Metr13 says:

    Someone is STILL buying EA games?
    Really?
    Honestly?
    You don’t even feel ashamed telling everyone you did so?

    I hoped we’d all learn something by now.

  34. jlgroves1 says:

    I didn’t buy BF3 until the origin bundle (I’d never played dead space either and wanted to give it a go and my wife likes the sims). I installed it and clicked launch and as soon as it opened Chrome and tried to force a plugin install I uninstalled the game. I’m really glad I paid all the money to charity as I usually split it even with the devs for humble bundles but, well, you know, EA….

  35. pi8you says:

    As one that primarily ignores the manshoots, for this and other nonsense, I just wanted to not that it looks like EA has gone and broken all of their Online, fun times!

    https://help.ea.com/article/online-play-matchmaking-and-login-are-currently-offline

  36. Deathmaster says:

    And this is why I haven’t bought a single EA game since they’ve pulled theirs from Steam. Origin is the devil.

  37. Lagwolf says:

    Mr Cranky aka Angry Joe has a good rant about B4 & EA… not for the faint of heart of course…

  38. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    Please, please don’t let Mirror’s Edge 2 end up like this.

  39. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    But then EA happened.

    Rarely has anybody summed up a whole year with such precision in one single sentence.

  40. kud13 says:

    Origin=GaFWL 2.0?

    this update plugin malarky sounds suspiciously like GaFWL’s “update is required” circle of doom-process.

  41. danijami23 says:

    “DOWNLOAD AND INSTALL THE LATEST BROWSER PLUGIN TO PLAY THE GAME” it booms.

    I almost wet myself at this.

    • danijami23 says:

      incidentally, this article should be stickied on the internet’s home page. Can we do that?

  42. stele says:

    I bought BF4 for the MP, but gave SP a try. I just wanted to point out I didn’t have any of the problems you had. The only thing I had to do was update the plugin, which was entailed running the plugin installer and manually refreshing the web page. This was on release day too. YMMV.

  43. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Funny. It worked without a hitch here. And very likely for almost everyone else as well. But let the circlejerk commence!

    The SP … you can skip it :p its only purpose is to hide some weapons from you ;(

    • ZackRoyer says:

      How many goats did you sacrificed?

    • Dude (Darloc) says:

      Same here, since bf3 never had a single problem. Worked on chrome and firefox like a charm. When I clicked play campaign it started without a hitch, every time. My soul must belong to EA, that’s probably why. I find it got better with bf4, it actually save your loadout now. But hey EA is evil right, bf4 must be crucified then.
      I do think anyone in the RPS bf4 group has any problem with battlelog, the major problem are the random crashes which hopefully will be solved by today patch.
      Also good timing for the article, the day they did a big maintenance of 3h this morning, maybe that’s why it was not working for a lot of people.
      I would not bother with the single player as well, this game is a multiplayer game… It’s like buying a Ferrari and then driving it 2miles every day to get to work.

  44. shutter says:

    PEBKAC

    From starting from Origin rather than Battlelog (which has been the game launcher for two title iterations now), to the completely untrue assertion that BF4 takes over Chrome (I’m browsing with the game open right now). If only there were some way to filter out Mr. Walker’s EA-hate-screeds from the rest of RPS.

  45. lanelor says:

    How about waiting for GotY edition? Torrent version optional :)

  46. killias2 says:

    http://www.destructoid.com/all-of-ea-s-multiplayer-and-online-functions-are-offline-265582.phtml – I guess EA in general was having some server issues. That doesn’t make it better, obviously.

  47. soopytwist says:

    What the hell did you expect? this is EA and on a PC…come on man!

  48. morbiD says:

    I really don’t understand all the hate that Battlelog gets.

    For single player, what difference does it make whether you launch the game from a Start Menu shortcut, or the Play button in Steam, or the Play button in Battlelog? It takes pretty much the same amount of time.

    For multiplayer, what difference does it make whether you browse for servers in-game or in your browser? You still have to wait for the map to load once you’ve selected a server and frankly, it pleases me no end that I can launch straight into the map without having to sit through a circle-jerk of intro videos from all the game’s sponsors (as seems to be standard for other franchises these days). It’s nice being able to tinker with your loadouts while the map loads as well.

    Sure, you have to install a browser plugin first, (which takes all of 30 seconds) but do yourself a favour and pin Battlelog to your taskbar as a Chrome App with your login memorised and you have pretty much instant access. (Bonus points for setting it up in a separate Chrome Profile so you can have Battlelog running in one Chrome instance with no resource-consuming extensions, and use your default Chrome Profile for normal web browsing).

    On top of that, the Battlelog developers are very active on Reddit, taking bug reports and suggestions as well as posting about upcoming features in order to get feedback before release. With Battlelog being browser based, they can make constant improvements totally independently from whatever retarded certification hoops the game devs have to jump through to push game client updates out the door.

    That’s not to excuse the piss-poor service we get from EA, Origin and PunkBuster, but personally I think Battlelog by itself is pretty cool.

    • Nihil says:

      Totally agreed on all counts. I have no idea where all the hate comes from either, the ability to view unlocks, loadouts and such in your browser between games is really very good and launching directly into maps is win. I have no major problems with battlelog at all. Plus in game server browsers tend to be complete shite as well.

      As you point out, the issues are with EA, Origin and Punkbuster.

      But you know, why be rational about anything when you’re on the internet!

    • wolfinexile says:

      Games should be self-contained, and keeping external dependencies to a minimum.
      Having to run Origin, the battlelog AND the game at once is both inefficient and taxing on PC hardware.
      Due to work and my browsing habits, there are upwards of 30+ tabs open in my browser at any given time, having to keep it running in the background eats up system resources unnecessarily.

      Worse still, they only “officially” support browsers like Chrome and Firefox, while others like Opera, Safari etc. are not supported. If they want a browser-dependent component in their game, they should damn well make sure their web client works with everything.

      AND, if Chrome/Firefox releases a new version, which totally breaks the battlelog, you won’t be able to play the game until the bloody plugin is updated.

      Also, I’m running on an older PC, and having to quit the game every time I want to change a server is tedious and puts stress on my system (every successive time I start up and close the game, it gets progressively laggier). This might not seem an issue with newer and more powerful systems, but it will shorten your computer’s lifespan if seeing the effects on an older system is any indicator.

      All the functionality in the battlelog can very easily be built directly into the game itself without needing external programs to support it.

      If Steam can make a client with a built-in web browser, there’s no reason why DICE/EA can’t do the same.

      • seizethanight says:

        Origin? Battlelog? Web browser with plugin? Cloud? Syncing? Tokens?
        Good lord what has happened to PC gaming?
        Why can’t I just double-click a shortcut and go straight into the game, and stay within the game to handle all my gaming needs.
        Why can’t I just launch Single Player offline and play it when my internet’s down?
        I’m all for the Cloud and stuff but hell, I work with Citrix and we even let people run applications when they have no network connection.
        Also how can I go into a multiplayer map in this game and just practice by myself to memorize it? I can do this just fine in CS:GO…

  49. kud13 says:

    Here’s hoping Dice and EA don’t make us jump through such hoops for Mirror’s Edge 2 and they’ll give us a perfectly playable offline mode.

  50. soopytwist says:

    Oh and screw Origin and screw EA and get the Yar-me-harties version.

    • GernauMorat says:

      Seconded. There is no excuse for a legitimate copy of a game being worse than the pirate version. Although considering what BF3′s campaign was like, I wouldn’t waste the bandwidth.