Monday, August 04, 2014

Game Review (Naval Strike expansion for Battlefield 4)

This came out awhile ago, but I realized I hadn't ever typed up my no-one's-ever-gonna-read-it review for it, so here it goes. China Rising was a solid map pack, and Second Assault had a few winners, so Naval Strike has to do quite a lot to impress me the way the previous two map packs did. First of all, the smaller things -- Naval Strike adds five new achievements/trophies (no surprise at all there), 11 new assignments, five weapons, two gadgets, two vehicles, four maps, and a new game mode exclusive to Naval Strike maps, Carrier Assault. I could review each individual thing in the pack, but I'll focus on what most people get the map packs for... the maps. As usual, I'll hit them alphabetically.

Lost Islands: Probably one of my least favorite maps in the map pack, Lost Islands is the map distinguished by a plane crashed in the middle, with several little islands scattered around. This map, to me, is a bit of a cluster and doesn't seem particularly inspired. Sure, you have the airplane in the middle, and the neat little waterfall area, but nothing else really feels new or particularly exciting -- it's generally bland. The village capture point in Conquest as well as the bunkers can get a bit hectic, but like most maps in this pack, travelling around is a bit of a pain in the ass given the needless lack of transport vehicles. There'll likely be plenty of times where you're standing or walking around waiting for something to spawn so you can delve back into the action. 3.5/5

Nansha Strike: This is definitely the least inspired map in Naval Strike, as far as I'm concerned -- so uninspired, in fact, that it uses the same storm levelution we've all already seen in Paracel Storm. Nansha Strike is the map I've played least in this pack, and that's the main reason. If you want to talk about a truly mediocre map, this would be it. Nansha Strike just feels like it was created alongside Paracel Storm, and the latter won in a DICE poll and wound up being the disc map, while this one was made to be DLC. It's not awful (not quite anyway), but it is most definitely a bore. 3/5

Operation Mortar: Here we are -- "the one with the cannon." As it turns out, the map is a good one with or without what many look at as a gimmick (it kind of really is...). The map pack may be called Naval Strike, but helicopters can shine on this map as well. The elevation of the "castle" area of this map makes it a good map for helicopters, but the attack boats prevent the helicopters from being overwhelming. Really, it's a map with a pretty perfect balance of vehicles and infantry battles. The on-ground vehicles may seem a bit unfair at first, but with the map being so busy/full of hills and islands, if anything, the ground attack vehicles are frustrating to use if you're playing against a competent team. Operation Mortar may well be my favorite map from Naval Strike. 4.25/5

Wave Breaker: A close second with Operation Mortar as my favorite from the map pack. There are a few reasons why I really, really like Wave Breaker. First of all, while it has a number of islands (like any other map in this pack), these ones are generally a bit bigger and offer more character/serve more of a purpose than some of the islands on, say, Lost Islands, where the itty bitty islands seem to be there just to fill some space. The second reason I really like Wave Breaker is the awesome area that, I guess, is inside the mountain in the middle of the map. Things get pretty rowdy in there, and it makes Wave Breaker feel like it's two maps in one. The downfall of Wave Breaker is the island near "C" on Conquest. If you're stuck there, chances are you won't see too much action, and there never seems to be a vehicle to get around when you need it most. I love the aesthetic of Wave Breaker more than any other map in the pack, but that fact keeps it from being my favorite of Naval Strike. 4/5

Naval Strike is a map pack that, as a whole, is rather "eh." Having a whole map pack dedicated to water vehicles never sounded like a good idea in the first place to me, but it turns out it wasn't all that bad. Nansha Strike and Lost Islands are maps I could do without, but Operation Mortar and Wave Breaker are worthy additions to the Battlefield 4 map line-up. Of the map packs released thus far, Naval Strike is probably my least favorite, but it's still a pack worth getting -- especially if you enjoy the naval aspect of Battlefield 4.


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