By: Jeff Cater
Third in the planned expansions for Battlefield 4, Naval Strike emphasizes the use of air and watercraft but still provides plenty of heated infantry engagements. Each expansion so far has brought something back from the past, whether it’s a simple knife, set of maps, or, in Naval Strike’s case, a new take on a classic game mode.
Carrier Assault, the new adaptation of Titan Mode from Battlefield 2142, scatters the map’s objectives to missile emplacements. Once a team controls a capture point it will begin to barrage the enemy carrier, thus lowering their ticket count. Inevitably, a carrier will receive critical damage that allows the opposition to infiltrate and bomb M-Com objectives to secure the victory. Whether or not the M-Com’s are destroyed however, the carrier will continue to sustain damage from the missiles and eventually be destroyed.
The new maps all work excellent for balanced carrier assault play, as they’re some of the biggest maps in Battlefield history (Nansha Strike apparently has the largest stretch of water in a map to date!). Given the size, the most fun is had with full 64-player servers. Smaller modes like Rush and Obliteration feel a bit constricted because there’s simply so much map around you that isn’t taken advantage of fully. So, play Conquest or Carrier Assault, it MAKES this set.
Nansha Strike features a central island facility with smaller battlements on surrounding islands. Holding the central island is largely an infantry affair, but maintaining consistent control of the peripheral islands is going to require steady sea legs.
Centered on the wreckage of a passenger jet, Lost Islands might be a nod to the old ABC hit Lost. The plane has crashed in the shallows located between several sizable islands. The various islands provide different tactical options such as a further off, flatter island for discreet sniping action or the closer cliff-ridden island for providing steady suppressive fire. Any place you pick will be mostly sending bullets at and around the plane, as that becomes a critical point in attaining victory. There’s also a hidden cave behind a waterfall that you can shoot at the plane from!
Taking place at a vacation resort off the coast of the Chinese seas is Operation Mortar. This hotspot destination for the Chinese big-wigs quickly turns into smoky hell as the boats start shredding the various rooms and sections of the resort. There’s also an old fort that overlooks a good portion of the map and provides the utmost in security when it comes to locking down a point.
Saving the best for last! Wave Breaker features a hidden mountain base, complete with barracks, kitchen and submarine bay! Though the sub cannot be driven, it can be blown off of its mounts and sent down in a giant fireball inside the bay. When that happens this map turns into absolute chaos; its smoky, everything hurts, and boats cruising in and out of the base is almost torturous when defending that capture point.
In conclusion, it’s definitely the most James Bond-y of expansion packs: it has hovercrafts, hidden caves behind waterfalls, and mountains containing hidden submarines. Also it has 11 new assignments and five trophies to smash out, which rounds out the feel of this expansion nicely.
Carrier Assault is a damn fun mode, the maps are all gigantic and structured well (except for Lost Island; that one is a bit iffy), but they only truly make for a good Battlefield experience when in a full 64-player server. Otherwise the game feels a bit restricted and forced.