Takedown is a feature in the Battlefield series. When using on an enemy, a special melee takedown animation may play if conditions are fulfilled, locking both the attacker and the victim in place. If the animation plays out successfully, the victim will die instantly, and the attacker will claim their dogtags.
— A loading screen tip regarding Knife Takedown
The mechanic of takedowns is first introduced in Battlefield 3 as the Knife Takedown. Holding the button while behind or beside an enemy will perform a fatal takedown attack. Frontal melee attacks will be mere knife slashes, unless the attack is initiated from the rear, side, or the enemy subsequently turns to face the player at the last second, in which case a unique takedown attack will occur. When in range of a takedown target, the knife is raised to a vertical 'ready' position—the knife is held horizontally when equipped if there is no target, or if the target is not in range.
Players have to decide whether the extra time and exposure during a takedown are worth the risk, especially when other alert enemies are nearby. There are twelve takedown animations in all, four for each stance.
When a takedown is performed, the knife user is awarded the victim's Dogtags which is unobtainable in any other way. When attacking with a knife, the player does not appear on the radar; however, knife sound effects may reveal their position.
The Knife Takedown feature from Battlefield 3 returns in Battlefield 4, albeit with new features. Takedowns can now be initiated from 360 degrees with the knife, completely eliminating the possibility of slashing an adversary.
Takedowns can now also be performed while swimming, along with use of sidearms. Balancing this is the ability to counterattack frontal takedowns within a limited time frame. Victims of knife takedowns are now unable to be revived. There are still twelve animations for takedowns, which depend on the angle of attack and the stance of the players. Strangely enough, the animation is unchanged regardless of whether or not they're on land or in water; standing animations are played for players on the surface of the water while prone animations are played if they are diving.
Aesthetically, takedown animations are much more violent and involve more hand-to-hand combat techniques compared to those in Battlefield 3, with players performing punches, kicks, grapples, stabbing targets multiple times, and performing cutting attacks instead of stabs.
When under attack from the front in either the standing or crouching stance, the target has a HUD prompt appear and has roughly 4 seconds to pressbefore the attack connects and the player is killed. A successful counter-attack turns the knife on the attacker and kills them, awarding the victor with the enemy's dogtags. It should be noted though that a kill with the enemy's knife through a counter-attack will score as a kill with the enemy's model, and not the player's.
Counter-knifing can also be performed in the water. A missed counter attempt will result in the attacker eventually overwhelming the target, which takes longer to complete than a side or rear takedown.
Counter attacks cannot be performed if stabbed while prone or diving; the player being stabbed does actually try to hold back the attack as with the other frontal attacks, but is actually shoved back before he can brace the attacker's strike in this case.
The Takedown mechanic is also featured in Battlefield Hardline but is expanded beyond just knives, with a new addition being the Non-Lethal Takedowns that are central to the weapon class of Blunt Weapons.
For knives and Knife Takedowns, they are similar to their iteration from Battlefield 3. Takedowns may only be performed while standing behind the enemy, otherwise a knife will perform a normal melee attack for 75 damage. Functioning in conjunction with Non-Lethal Takedowns, Knife takedowns may only be performed with a blade and do not allow the player to Interrogate the target, but are significantly faster than Non-Lethal Takedowns.
There are nine knife takedown animations, three for each stance. Reflecting the cops and criminals nature of Hardline, the lethal takedown animations have the player character appear noticeably less well trained compared to the takedowns performed by the soldiers in Battlefield 3 and 4, with him performing crude maneuvers including stabbing the target directly through the head and forcing the knife through the target's eye after a struggle. Animations are also much faster compared to previous installments due to the addition of non-lethal takedowns.
Patches, which replaced dogtags from past installments, are awarded to players upon successfully performing a takedown animation. As with other installments, they are not made available for use after being awarded unless they are "Viral Patches". These patches are developer exclusive and may only be obtained by performing a takedown. Likewise, if any viral patch that was obtained from a developer is equipped, then it may also be obtained by those who perform a takedown on the player, hence the name "viral".
For melee weapons (excluding the bayonet), takedowns occur any time that a melee weapon would inflict lethal damage on an opponent, although rear and prone takedowns can be performed on enemies with full health. The takedown health threshold and the takedown detection range varies depending on the weapon class.
Similar to past installments, takedowns may be performed on any stance of the enemy, although animations for standing and crouching are now combined. Takedowns are generally quicker than in previous games, and the kill is credited much sooner.
Bayonets will trigger a takedown as soon as a player performing a Bayonet Charge runs into an enemy.
The Raider Club is unique in that it never performs takedowns.
- The victim of the takedown is invincible to other forms of damage (except during a frontal attack in Battlefield 4), while the attacker always remains vulnerable to external attacks, even after a frontal attack is countered. This can result in melee kills being stolen by both teams depending on the timing if there are other players attacking during the confrontation.
- Players performing a takedown from the maximum distance abruptly teleport to and back from the targeted player before and after the attack. Later games place the player at the victim's position following the attack.
- The crouching counter animation is glitched in third-person, causing the attacking player to be teleported backwards when the counter begins. At the end of the counter, the victim will teleport to where the attacker was standing.
- If a player initiates a frontal attack, the defending player is vulnerable to enemy attack up until the point where they initiate the counter knife, in which case they will become invincible until the attack is complete, whether by a successful counter knife or the attacker being killed by bystanding players.
- There is a glitch where the victim, if turning towards the attacker either from the left or right (whichever side the attacker initiates the takedown from), is capable of countering the knife despite the rear-attack animation playing. This is evident by a quick showing of the "Counterattack" button while being attacked, and if one presses it within the half-second window, they perform the counter-knife. From the attacker's perspective, the normal rear-attack animation will play before switching to the counter animation and killing him.
- There is a glitch affecting the victim of a knife takedown when attacked from the side. The animation for a frontal attack, of the player defending, will play instead, but will offer no prompt to "Counterattack" and the victim will be killed. On the following killcam, the victim's perspective shows the player stuck in the defending animation until they respawn.
- When initiating a knife takedown from the front while the enemy is prone, the enemy is still alive even after being stabbed for about 3 seconds. The attacker cannot use a weapon until the victim is dead, which makes the attacker extremely vulnerable. Sometimes, the victim can redeploy, to avoid giving the attacker a kill. If the attacker gets killed, the victim is completely fine and loses no health. It is not known if this is a glitch or intended by DICE.
- Although dogtags are still claimed for all takedowns, none of the animations incorporate the act of removing the dogtag from the victim.
- Teammates generally cannot be saved from takedowns once the animation begins, as the player is considered killed on the first hit. Players may still find themselves briefly caught in takedown animations, but saved if their attacker is killed before the animation begins for their teammate.