Watching the Battlefield 4 trailer I had one overriding thought, aside from that is the prettiest construction site I have ever seen, was how completely lacking in choice it is. Essentially pushing forwards and shooting things that pop up, much like many modern day shooters, or indeed those light gun games you get in arcades. The only choice you have is what you shoot them with, in the case of the video an assault rifle or shotgun, or assault rifle or grenade launchers. You know what, it looked boring. Despite all the explosions and beautifully rendered debris, hell despite the amputations and Bonnie Tyler, it looked dull.
It looked dull because it looked like a film. As previously blogged, my attention span for films is pretty terrible, however I can enjoyed a good action movie as much as the next guy. However that is where games like Battlefield and Call of Duty fail as action movies. A good action movie, like Die Hard (one of the best) works because the hero is likeable and the bad guy is evil, and you find yourself routing for the good guys. However in a lot of shooters this gets very muddled and you find yourself playing multiple protagonists and having no connection or liking of any of them (this is an expectation that Spec Ops brilliantly subverts). So when the terrible things happen you feel no connection because they are all happening to bland army men, like Modern Warfare 2 which kills the guy you are playing on more than one occasion. This is meant to prompt an emotional response but doesn't.
Good games get around this by offering choice, I am fond of my Far Cry 3 character not because he is likeable in cut scenes. I like him because he has a habit of sniping enemies from a far then getting close with his bow. I like that because it is my choice. I could go in all guns blazing, I could plant explosives and mines all over the place, but I don't because that is not my choice. All the games I have loved recently, like XCOM, Dishonored and Dragon's Dogma, have offered me a wide range of choices and left me up to how I play, the polar opposite of what BF4 looked like. Hell choice is one of the defining features of Battflefield multi-player.
So while some might be impressed with the bombastic trailer for BF4, I find this significant more enticing.