Firestorm is one of those levels that you love and hate at the same time. I hold it as my number 4 favorite Battlefield 3 level but loathe it if I do not have access to a tank, jet, or helicopter. My fondest memories in Battlefield 3 are when my squad of friends posted up on the mountaintop by the US base and spent the entire round with sniper rifles, Javelins, and SoFlam designators basically owning a 64-person round of Conquest Large.
Not much has changed between the original Firestorm and Firestom 2014 other than some new construction, better textures, and a much more hazy/smoke filled atmosphere.
Starting off on the RU side, the first thing I noticed was how realistic the small building to the left of the tanks was. As you can tell, the fire is still burning far off in the background, and the entire level is much darker than before. I don't know if the darkness was a contributing factor or not, but this level looked far more realistic than any other Battlefield 4 map I have played. Metal actually looked like metal, and the grass looked more convincing too.
A shot of the ground and grass that went a long way in convincing me that I really was in a photorealistic environment.
Here you can see the large oil tanks. In Battlefield 3, they were largely intact and provided awesome sniper nests, but now some have been destroyed with a large fire blazing in the background.
Moving on to the refinery area, we can see that the old building has been replaced by a new taller structure that has been damaged from the fighting that has taken place since Battlefield 3. The cars have changed a little as well, and the tanker truck seems to have been flipped over at some point.
Not much has changed with the refinery. With the sun coming in at a new angle, the entire structure appears to be darker, but, upon closer inspection, you will see that the colors are more vibrant and the textures are more realistic.
Fire in Battlefield 4 is more realistic than anything else I have seen in other games. Frostbite 3 does a very good job at rendering realistic flames and explosions. This was a cool shot I felt I needed to include to showcase just how graphically intense the game actually is.
Lighting in Battlefield 4 is much more dynamic than Battlefield 3, and here is a perfect example of that. In Battlefield 3, the lighting inside these warehouses was mottled and dark, but everything appears brighter, and much more dynamic in Battlefield 4.
Some argue that high-resolution textures are not a necessity when it comes to FPS gaming, but I counter by saying that realistic textures make the game better as a whole and those who spend thousands on their gaming machines deserve to be able to push those high-end graphics if they chose to do so. Here is an example of just how textured things get. The cracks in that wall have cracks themselves.
These last two images showcase my favorite spot on the map. As I mentioned at the top of this page, I spent many hours perched atop this mountain with my old squad while we dominated the map with Javelins and sniper rifles. Now, the smoke makes it hard to see across the map, and I would guess that sniping is made much more difficult because of this.