Battlefield 4: Naval Strike
System(s): PlayStation 3/4, Xbox 360/One, PC
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Publisher (Developer): EA (DICE)
ESRB Rating: “Mature” for Violence
Battlefield 4 has had an “interesting” year. Between the massive technical issues, some of which persist to this day, and the rise of new competition in Titanfall, the Battlefield series is at a crossroads. As has become typical of all multiplayer franchise titles, Battlefield 4 has a season pass to get everything early in one gulp. Naval Strike is the third DLC for the game, and the first constructed from whole cloth after the game’s completion. With four new maps, and Carrier Mode, a new game mode loosely based on Battlefield 2142‘s Titan mode, Naval Strike is probably the first DLC worth considering for standalone purchase.
New lands to explore.
Probably the best reason to get Battlefield 4‘s Naval Strike is for the maps. They’re worth it, because they’re big and focus on the DLC’s theme. You get four, which I’ll briefly summarize in a tidy list.
- Operation Mortar centers around a fort, hundreds of years old on a mountaintop. Bristling with functional old-fashioned cannon, the fort offers fast access to the other flags, making it even more important to take and hold than the traditional high ground. Defending it isn’t easy however, as the vast number of tunnels underneath, as well as the overland approaches, require constant vigilance to be a success.
- Nansha Strike is the opposite: a huge expanse of water with a small landmass in the center. A huge number of boats are available, from jet skis to hovercraft, to heavily armed gunboats. The mad scramble for water transport gives way to the hunt for cover for the stragglers, whose best strategy is to snipe people off the boats, and take them for your own.
- Wave Breaker is destined to become a fan favorite, featuring a huge, dark submarine pen as it’s centerpiece, the opposing forces have a thousand places to hide, using light, elevation, and structure to create something even more compelling that Battlefield 3’s Operation. Metro.
- Finally, Lost Islands gives you a cluster of small islands and reefs to leapfrog between. Agile vehicles like the jet ski and hovercraft are key to quick movement between flags. I’ve even seen people using the quads to jump the rocks between the reefs. It’s a vehicle lover’s paradise, but the lack of cover makes joyriding….inadvisable.
This isn’t the Titan Mode I wanted.
In my opinion, Battlefield 2142 is still the best game in the entire series. Titan mode is one of the most thrilling things in any multiplayer game I’ve ever played. The assaults on the Titan are reminiscent of the opening scene of Star Wars, and when I heard Naval Strike was bringing a form of it back in Battlefield 4, EA had my money.
Sadly, Carrier Assault is not Titan Mode. It’s a kludged up approximation that lacks the depth of 2142. For example, instead of parking transports on the roof to take advantage of the ventilation hatches and to create a spawn point, there’s a single door. Instead of spawn beacons, which can be destroyed by the defenders, there’s a jump point that never goes away. It’s understandable that my initial reaction was one of disappointment. What we have here is mostly an evolution of Rush mode, where the bomb objective is inaccessible until all the rooms are opened. If you like Rush, you’re going to love Carrier Assault. If you’re expecting Battlefield 2143, like me, it probably is going to leave you a bit cold. I’m praying that the new, DICE developed Star Wars Battlefront will scratch that itch.
Though, I have to admit, I did love this moment.
You’ll mostly enjoy this Naval Strike
Battlefield 4 still has problems like rubber banding, audio dropouts, and other issues that drive hardcore players crazy. The deletion of campaign save files, which has killed my progress twice, is just the icing on the cake. If these issues don’t bother you, or you’re lucky enough to have not experienced them, then Naval Strike is one of the best DLC packs you can pick up to extend your Battlefield 4 experience. Perhaps wait for a sale or some justification to buy the season pass, though, as the $15 price tag is a bit high.