Battlefield 4: Dragon’s Teeth is the fourth of five planned expansions for the game. The pack contains a ton of new stuff including four maps, five weapons, and a brand new gamemode to enhance your Battlefield 4 experience. While many of the additions are enjoyable, and do lend the game a bit more longevity, I can’t help but feel like this expansion lacks the quality required to get most players back into the Battlefield 4 groove.
The maps end up being a mixed bag in terms of their overall design
The four all-new maps, titled Lumphini Garden, Pearl Market, Propaganda, and Sunken Dragon, are the biggest thing that Dragon’s Teeth adds to Battlefield 4. All of them take place in war-torn cities across mainland China, which adds to the already varied environments available in Battlefield 4. However, the maps end up being a mixed bag in terms of their overall design.
Propaganda is the best new map by far, adding in a snow covered landscape full on interesting areas of conflict. Train tracks run the length of the map, with a central area full of buildings, and long stretches of open street leading to high risk and high reward flanking opportunities for both teams. Pearl Market is another fine addition, though less so than Propaganda. This city center is crammed with buildings, causing it to feel cramped and maze-like. This is both a benefit and a problem, as the map can lead to interesting battles once players have figured out the best routes, but allows for cheaper strategies, such as camping and hiding, to prosper. The tall buildings are fun to explore and battle in, but having to run up three flights of stairs, or climb the deathtrap ladders, to reach the roof is never enjoyable in a fast-paced, action-heavy game like Battlefield 4.
The other two maps offer much less enjoyment, and feel like steps back in terms of Battlefield map design. Sunken Dragon features some great eye-candy, with a large sunken building dominating the middle of the map. However, the gameplay is hampered by DICE’s continued obsession with adding water to its maps. Swimming across a vast stretch of water is my biggest annoyance with Battlefield 4 and Sunken Dragon only gives me more of these moments to loath. The lake can be drained using Battlefield 4’s levolution mechanic, but that just makes the middle area a dethazone of inactivity. Once out of the water Sunken Dragon becomes your standard Battlefield 4 fare, with large buildings and small side-streets. Lumphini Garden also feels the need to throw water into the mix when it isn’t called for. Luckily, much less so than Sunken Garden, leading to it being more enjoyable, but still fairly bland. There isn’t much that makes Lumphini Garden feel special or unique among Battlefield 4’s already large map selection and the poor spawn points during certain gametypes, such as Capture-the-Flag lead to some real frustration with the map layout.
The RAWR…is a great new gameplay element that is both fun and lethally effective
The weapon and gadget additions contained in Dragon’s Teeth are another mixed bag, but with more good to outweigh the bad. The RAWR, a remote-controlled robot drone found on the map, is a great new gameplay element that is both fun and lethally effective. Making it a pick-up rather than a permanent unlock keeps it from unbalancing the game while letting you enjoy the power it wields. Unfortunately some of the new weapons don’t have this balance, with the new Bulldog assault rifle being especially troublesome. While many fans will argue with this, I’ve tried it out and feel like the Bulldog is too powerful at this time leading to it becoming the defacto assault rifle for anyone playing the Assault class.
The Ballistic Shield is probably the item that most alters strategy, making it so one player can shield himself and others while working toward an enemy. In the end, how it plays is largely dependent on how the community will use it, as it isn’t inherently overpowered or flawed at the moment. Other add-ons like the DEagle, MPX, and Unica 6 change little while giving players more options as to how to play the game. Some of the assignments that were added to unlock these items can be a chore though, causing you to play in ways that aren’t just against your norm, but actually cause frustration and annoyance both for you and the players you kill.
Finally, the new gamemode Chainlink rounds out the package giving the classic Conquest mode a great new twist. In Chainlink you still capture points on the map, but they only start draining opponent’s ticket numbers once they have linked up with other nearby capture points forming a chain. The longer the chain, or the more chains your team has, the faster the enemy loses tickets. This allows for more strategy by letting players break their opponent’s chains, even if they don’t fully control that area of the map. This helps keep choke points from forming, and mixes up the battle locations more than previous gamemodes allowed. It’s a nice change to the usual Battlefield 4 gameplay, letting more organized teams mount a comeback against enemies that might otherwise steamroll them.
Battlefield 4: Dragon’s Teeth adds a lot to the game, but a few missteps cause it to be less of a revolution and more a small step up. It won’t bring anyone back to the game who got tired of the usual Battlefield formula, but if you’re still playing and just want some new stuff to mess around with then it will likely be enough to please. With two enjoyable maps, a great new gamemode, and some fun weapons and gadgets there’s at least enough content here to warrant checking it out, assuming you feel like diving back into the Battlefield 4 fray.
Battlefield 4 Dragon's Teeth DLC
- Available On: PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Published By: Electronic Arts
- Developed By: DICE
- Genre: shooter
- US Release Date: July 15th, 2014
- Reviewed On: PC
- Quote: "Battlefield 4: Dragon's Teeth brings a large quantity of new additions to the game, but the quality has some issues that holds back this expansion."