I've been playing Battlefield 4's maps for almost three weeks now, and have a pretty good feel for them so far. I usually review maps closer to initial launch, but I waited for the PS4 version of Battlefield 4 to come out, and didn't think to review the maps until now. Off we go.
Dawnbreaker: Sucks that I'm doing these maps alphabetically, because otherwise, I'd probably save Dawnbreaker for last... truth is, I think it may be my favorite map on-disc, which is probably unusual, because I feel like a lot of people loathe it. I can understand why if you love to fly jets (why the hell are they on this map anyway?), but weaving through the skyscrapers in a helicopter and roaming the streets in an LAV is some fun stuff. Not to mention I love the variety on the map as far as map elevations. I wasn't expecting to care for this map based on what I initially heard of it, but it's grown to become one of my unquestioned favorites. I give this map a 9, simply because it seems fantastic compared to the vast majority of the maps on-disc. 4.5/5
Flood Zone: One of the maps I was really intrigued by, because I thought the whole Levolution idea of the map being flooded and having to travel around on boats would be awesome -- and in theory, it should be awesome. The problem I have with this map is pretty simple... there just aren't enough boats around. If you're stuck in the water, you're done for. There are some ledges to crawl up onto, but then you have to jump in the water again to get on another ledge, and so on. When you're actually at the parking garage or on one of the many roofs (or in a boat!), Flood Zone is actually a pretty fun map. I don't love the layout, but it's a pretty decent map. Hey, there are certainly far worse ones on the disc... I'll get to those soon. 3.5/5
Golmud Railway: *Shudder*. That's about it. This map is literally a battlefield. A battle... on a field. It's about as fun as it sounds. Most of this map is flat (with a few small hills), and it's the very definition of an uninspired map. There are few landmarks to make the map stand out, and it's just a bore to play, generally. The few little "towns" on Golmud Railway keep the map from being a complete dud, but it's still pretty bad anyway. Just a very generic, bland, un-fun map. Not much else to say about this one. 2.75/5
Hainan Resort: Fun stuff -- especially on Conquest Large (Surprise, surprise!). Hainan Resort has an incredible layout that balances a good amount of infantry fighting, naval warfare, and a little death from above. The flag points in Conquest Large are in memorable locations, and it's just a well-made map as a whole. Additionally, unlike Flood Zone, you don't get stuck in the water (in most areas) and feel like you're inevitably going to die. Another pretty fun map on a disc of general mediocrity. 4/5
Lancang Dam: Just a prime example of a Battlefield 4 map... EH. It's playable and alright and fine and okay, but it's not a map that comes up and makes you say, "Ooo, I like this one." The idea of an island out in the water away from the dam makes the map more interesting, and there can be some pretty intense naval battles, but it's generally a pretty bland experience, albeit not bad. There are some fun fights to be had on the ground as well. 3.75/5
Operation Locker: The one map that has no vehicles on any game mode by default, I didn't think I'd like Operation Locker... well spank my diddly, this is one hell of a fun map. Try playing this on Conquest (or Obliteration), and just watch the utter shit storm that ensues at choke points. Really, in all of my hours of Battlefield gameplay, I've never seen such intense gunfights among so many people in one area. It can definitely get insanely hectic, but that's what I like about this map -- there's little to no breathing room. Not a map to play constantly (not for me, I'd probably get a headache...), but awesome to have as an option to go to time-to-time. 4/5
Paracel Storm: I saw hours of gameplay of Paracel Storm, and I thought it looked phenomenal... almost like a new version of Wake Island. The big thing with Paracel Storm is probably its Levolution, which, naturally, creates a huge storm, and causes a battleship to crash into one of the islands. The waves will frustrate snipers and those on the water as the storm rolls in, because it can make controlling a ship or a boat very difficult, and hard to snipe from island to island. This is just a very fun map for people who love rolling around on a boat/ship or in the air. There are some nice little areas to have some intense gunfights, but the vehicles and Levolution (that's actually worthwhile, unlike some maps) really make this map. 4/5
Rogue Transmission: Kind of the same story as Golmud Railway for me, but a little bit better, as it's more memorable, and it seems like somebody older than eight years old designed it. The big thing about Rogue Transmission that makes it stand out is the satellite (?) on the map... that's really what makes it better than Golmud. Other than that, it's a very "meh" map with a few areas with buildings and nothing super spectacular. I will say that this is a good map for tanks/LAVs to roll around on. Not so much for air vehicles though, as it's really hard to get away. 3/5
Siege of Shanghai: Anybody who's anybody has seen Siege of Shanghai in some fashion. Like Paracel Storm, it's one of the few maps with a Levolution that actually changes the map fairly significantly. I've played a lot of this map between the beta and full version of the game, and I still enjoy it -- I think that's the sign of a well made map. I love the map more when the skyscraper is still in tact, but it's entertaining both ways. Siege of Shanghai may also be the best map for tank v. helicopter battles, and it's fun just to watch them. 4.25/5
Zavod 311: This reminds me of the one DLC map in Battlefield 3... I can't think of the name. Anyway, this is an underrated map, I think. However, Zavod 311 is a prime example of why Levolution is mostly just a gimmick. Sure, a little pathway gets blocked off, but it doesn't change the map all that drastically. Zavod is also one of the few maps where it may be possible to be in the air with a helicopter for more than fifteen seconds, as it's fairly easy to get away from spots... BUT, be wary of trees, since, you know, they're everywhere. A fun medium-ish sized map that actually sort of plays small/intimately. I like it. 3.75/5
Altogether, Battlefield 4's maps are just alright. There are a few stand outs, I suppose, but not really any maps (other than Dawnbreaker) that I'd consider a future classic. It's sad to say, but I hope that the maps DICE heldback from being on-disc for DLC are more fun than the lot of these, because otherwise I'll be a sad, sad, boy. All-in-all, Battlefield 3's disc maps were a decent bit better than those offered here in Battlefield 4.