By: Jeff Cater
The latest installment in the Battlefield 4 DLC repertoire comes to us in the form of Second Assault. This package includes fan favorite maps from Battlefield 3 — Gulf of Oman, Caspian Border, Operation Metro and Operation Firestorm. Each map has been given a facelift and is portrayed not as re-workings, but rather as evolutions of the classic levels we loved. A few new weapons and assignments also await completion, which just adds to the already large list of things to do in Battlefield 4. Let’s look a little closer.
Terror at the oil pipeline again! This time around we are treated to some tactically placed oil slicks that can be set ablaze to provide murky plumes of smoke that cover you and/or obscure the enemy. Operation Firestorm still focuses heavily on armored combat, but with the addition of a few buildings, plus a ladder to the top of the tallest smokestack, infantry combat is fast-paced and ultimately chaotic. Obliteration is a bit difficult on this map, given how wide open nearly everything is, but it’s still perfectly suited for Conquest or Rush mode.
Here we have one of the more considerable facelifts in this pack. Caspian Border now features a more defined border; rather than a chain-link fence we have 30-foot-high concrete walls with defensive turret vantage points. Where the gate system was has been reworked to include a deployable spike wall to prevent vehicles from crossing into either side, but all of that doesn’t really matter when the tower falls down.
Remember the tower we all used to blow up? Well it’s there, on the ground growing rust, so we’ve been given a brand new tower atop the much-enhanced hilltop. A giant smokestack protrudes from the hilltop, and at its base is a ladder to a brand new area of the map with a small gangway to connect the few buildings atop the hill. Downstairs there is a briefcase with a timer that will trigger an overload sequence to eventually bring the tower crashing down through the wall. It’s impressive, fun to trigger, and tactically viable. There are plenty of hidden areas to access as well that aren’t immediately obvious, including two underwater passages!
You either loved or hated this map, and not much has been done to change it. New routes were placed between points B and C, but they all lead to the exact same chokepoint that everyone camped at in the first place. The evolution in place here takes the form of wooden pillars that can be shot out to make portions of the roof collapse onto the enemies. While it is pretty cool at first, the action is usually so chaotic given the grenade-spamming nature of this map that it largely goes overlooked due to early triggering. Much of the map can go unseen unless playing Rush or Capture the Flag, but Conquest is still heavily geared against the American team.
Gulf of Oman
This is probably what will be known as the showcase map for this pack. The Gulf is still a sandy-shored scattering of installations, but the map immediately feels more real and deep. Either side you’re on, when the match starts you will notice something different — an absolutely huge haboob (giant dust storm) is creeping its way across the Gulf. Just as in Paracel Storm, the air feels like it changes. Suddenly trees are whipping violently and it’s nigh impossible to see 20 feet in front of you!
With all the dust kicked up screaming by, it definitely makes tactical play considerably more difficult by making spotting almost non-existent because of the obscuring sands. Snipers are must less effective in this map during the storm as well, encouraging more players to get in close to score points. The map is still a little bit rough for the attacking forces during Rush, but in Conquest it feels a bit better due to the availability of different avenues of approach.
Although these are maps of the Battlefield of Olde, they’ve each been given considerable face lifts and make good showcases for the power of Frostbite 2. They’re all true improvements on their former selves and will make any Battlefield fan happy… except for Operation Metro; like, they really can’t get that one right.