It is fair to say that Battlefield 4 has encountered its fair share of negative publicity in the first few months of release but no one can fault DICE for the effort they have made to address the issues with the game and the second DLC pack is a welcome salve to the chaffing of consistent issues.
Second Assault is the re-imagining of four fan-favourite maps for the latest iteration. Caspian Border, Operation Firestorm, Gulf of Oman and Operation Metro are all revisited, revitalised and updated with some interesting Levolution moments.
Operation Metro (affectionately known as Operation Cluster-f***) was famous in Battlefield 3 for its insanely intense action spread across multiple levels with lethal choke points. In the new version DICE have added a few new flanking routes and the use of elevators to provide additional assault avenues. Various areas of the ceiling can be collapsed with well place shots to supporting beams which provides some very satisfying kill-bonuses if you catch an unsuspecting enemy walking past. In spite of DICE’s efforts to reduce choke-points the map still holds true to its nickname. The floor of the Metro often resembles Battlefield 4’s interpretation of a scene from 300. Personally I think this is part of the charm and perfect for those that want to level a weapon up quickly.
The map in Gulf of Oman has remained largely the same as in Battlefield 3 but with one, very significant Levolution moment where a giant sandstorm rolls in off the sea and reduces visibility to practically zero. I have found the infra-red and night vision sights come into their own on this map. Previously there was never any good reason to equip these but in Oman, with good camo and a silencer in your load-out you can roam the map picking unsuspecting foes off with the skill and subtlety of the Predator.
Operation Firestorm is the least impactful of the four maps in this Battlefield 4 DLC. With oil spills littering the scene, the pyromaniac in you can have a field day setting fires. You can cause various pipelines to erupt in flame but with very little significant impact.
Caspian Border is so much more impressive in every aspect. A giant wall runs through the centre of the map, acting as a strategic pot of gold. Whoever holds the wall can control the flow of armour across the level as gates and roadblocks provide difficult obstacles to overcome, forcing the enemy convoy into a bottleneck where they are at the mercy of the anti-armour of the opposing force. Atop a hill near the centre of the map is a giant tower which is the focus of my favourite Levolution event in Battlefield 4. A timer is set off in the basement of the tower and when the clock strikes, that tower comes down in a glorious chain of explosions that then opens up new routes and obstacles across Caspian Border.
There are five weapons in added with the DLC but these don’t really change the game in any significant way. The return of Gulf of Oman also brings the return of the Dune Buggy but other than that there is not too much to get excited about. The real focus of Second Assault is the re-imagined maps, which DICE have done a fantastic job with.
Beautiful visual updates and some fantastic variety in gameplay.
Operation Firestorm could have been so much more.
Overall: 4 out of 5
DICE have done a fantastic job with this DLC pack and with most of the games issues resolved we’re back to Battlefield at its best.