Thoughts On The Battlefield 4: Dragon’s Teeth DLC

Dragon’s Teeth is the fourth expansion to arrive for Battlefield 4 and up to now those expansions have been a bit of a mixed bag. In my opinion, China Rising was the first and probably best of the three released prior to this week, with Second Assault offering a bit of nostalgia for BF3, and then Naval Strike arrived in a distant third place, despite the promising inclusion of Carrier Assault – a new spin on an old game mode from Battlefield 2142.

Like the three expansions before it, Dragon’s Teeth comes with four maps, a set of new challenges and a handful of new weapons and gadgets, but it’s the focus on infantry combat that makes Dragon’s Teeth stand apart. It also comes with a new game mode, Chainlink, which plays to the infantry-focused combat by offering a smaller, faster variation of Conquest that rewards each team for linking nearby objectives by having them captured at the same time.

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I had very high hopes for Chainlink going in to Dragon’s Teeth, as it seemed like a nice little deviation from Conquest, the mode I play most often. Unfortunately, there are quite a few things I didn’t like about it, starting with the smaller player count. Although you can change this via a custom server, Chainlink runs at 32 players by default, and when you pair that with virtually no vehicles, some of the most memorable Battlefield mayhem gets lost.

I also didn’t like how quickly games progressed in Chainlink. Objectives are captured much faster than in Conquest and more like in Domination, but with the aim to control multiple adjacent objectives, as it is the links between these that will quickly drain the other side’s points. However, the distance between objectives is often so small that I felt like I was constantly running around trying to recap an objective that I’d just taken a moment ago, and teams are constantly trying to get around behind each other. Additionally, the time limit is set at just ten minutes but games often ended well before that, and when you combine a six minute match with long load screens and a 45 second intermission lobby, there’s just too much downtime over the course of several games.

Just like the prior expansions, the maps are the center of attention and all four of them are wonderfully done. They all look very different from one another and each has its own flow, despite the heavy infantry focus on the entire expansion. Although I thought most of the stock Battlefield 4 maps were quite good, these feel like they were given a touch of extra time and refinement before being released.

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Sunken Dragon was the first map I played and it’s probably the most visually pleasing of the four. An LAV and a little bird chopper are available so there is a small bit of vehicular combat, but I still did most of my traversal on foot. Moving from one side of the map to the other has to be done via either an exposed body of water or a bridge, both of which are open to sniper fire, so sticking with teammates and moving as a unit is necessary.

There’s also a control room in a tower on one side of the map that can lower the water level, but I didn’t find that it changed the way the map played very much, outside of the objective in the beached and broken restaurant ship. That said, the map moves well and requires a methodical approach to taking objectives. Holding objectives on the opposite side of the river from where you spawn is a tough task, as anyone who doesn’t spawn on that objective has a long way to travel to provide backup.

Pearl Market was next and is by far the smallest of the new maps, despite its vertical nature. The outside of the map opens up quite a bit but almost all the buildings on the inside have three or four stories loaded with balconies and rooftop firing positions, so staying as high as possible when moving between objectives is a good idea.

There’s a lot of destruction on this map and although the distance between objectives is short, there’s a sprawl of alleys, side doors, and corners which made successfully moving around the map without taking enemy fire very challenging. At times it can be frustrating to move only 50 feet from where you spawn before being trounced by the bullets of your enemies, but the close quarters this map provides did make for some epic battles.

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After that came Lumphini Garden, which is perhaps the most diverse of the new maps. Between a bridge with a parked train (which can be destroyed), a second-level train station, a large and steep muddy hill, and generally long sight lines, just about every infantry combat opportunity presents itself at one point or another. This map also proved hard to traverse without teammates but also offered intense fighting over objectives due to their cramped locations.

Finally, Propaganda rounds out the new maps with a snowy terrain that plays a little more like the traditional Battlefield experience. Tanks are offered but are better suited for providing heavy fire from a distance, as there aren’t a lot of roads or main paths to drive them on. Taking them into the middle of the map often proved to be fatal, as they’re easily destroyed by enemy C4 and launchers, thanks to the confined spaces you’re often forced into to capture objectives.

The big Levolution event on the map is a large train that moves through the map every minute or two and will obliterate anything (and I mean anything) you put in its path. Sight lines on this map are good but there are also plenty of choke points and a few buildings, particularly around the objectives. Propoganda has so far been my favorite of the new maps as it offers a little of everything, and each objective in Conquest must be approached a different way.

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Despite not enjoying the new Chainlink mode, Dragon’s Teeth is definitely the best Battlefield add-on I’ve played since China Rising. All the maps have their own flavor, they all look stunning, they all offer plenty of destructible environments, and I enjoyed the infantry combat more than I thought I would. It’s also worth noting that after many patches, Battlefield 4 is in pretty good shape on PS4 these days. I haven’t recently had any rubber-band lag or random server disconnects, and while I do still see a bug here and there, it’s finally in good enough condition to justify the purchase of a solid expansion if you’re looking for something new.

Dragon’s Teeth is available now for premium members on all Battlefield 4 platforms, and will be arriving to non-premium members from July 29th.

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for this – I have been wondering whether it is worth getting premium this time around (never bothered with BF3), so some insight into how the new maps & modes play is appreciated.

    Truth be told, I think I am most interested in second assault to see how the BF3 maps fare with added levolution & upped player count, but China Rising does interest me, as does this (Naval Strike I couldn’t give two tosses about if I am honest, but if I am likely to be paying £36 for the three, I may as well get that chucked in or £4 I guess).

    Still not sure whether Premium is for me tough, that said. £40 would buy me an entirely new game. :/

    • I shouldn’t of bothered with Premium as I generally play the original maps and don’t like the previous 3 map packs, but I am enjoying Dragons Teeth.
      Next time I think I’ll just buy what map pack I want separately.

  2. I never play any other mode than Conquest Large. I don’t play BF much, so when I do want to play it, that’s always the choice as it IS Battlefield in my opinion. Anything else feels like a compromise.

    I do have Premium, so I’ll definitely check out the new maps. Too bad there’s still no playlist with all the maps in it, that’s my biggest issue.

  3. As stated above, I haven’t liked any of the previous DLC map packs but I am enjoying Dragons Teeth.
    I always play Rush and I am finding taking the objectives at the beginning of one of the maps where you parachute in annoying though. I noticed, pretty much as soon as you get out of cover to move forward, you’re pretty much exposed to everyone resulting in your head getting pounded by about 5 billion bullets.
    The Map Pack I really can’t stand is the BF3 maps, never liked any of them the first time round.

  4. Agreed with most people above. It’s all about the Conquest mode. Not so sure on the dlc opinions though. I’m in reverse to the article, meaning it’s naval strike first then second assault and china rising last place. I’d agree that Dragons teeth is the best of the bunch as it feels the most diverse. If anyone else is playing on BF4 and wants to squad up add me on psn id is Quinkill. I’ll be about for the Destiny Beta too.

  5. I actually quite like the idea of Chainlink, which is rather similar sounding to the Onslaught mode from UT 2k4 or Chain Reaction in Uncharted, but plays out very differently.

    For one thing, you’re able to get around behind the enemy team to break their links and it’s also not a straight progression. You can control any two adjacent links to drain points.

    The map layouts for each are rather nifty too, switching the CP layout around, so that each is a very different challenge. It might be zigzags, a straight line with a side-channel for counter attacks, etc. etc.

    Either way, the new maps are pretty good for Conquest too. Pearl Market is just carnage and nearly impossible to navigate without the objective markers, while the shifting central body of water on Sunken Dragon can really change the flow of the game. I think it’s maybe a bit too easy to lock down the beached Chinese themed boat (thanks to the 4 levels inside), and the layout feels like it’s stacked in favor of one side more than the other, but I’ve already had one or two very tight matches on there.

  6. Needed an excuse to fire up bf again (its been a chore so far). Hopefully this will rekindle my affection for the bf franchise.

  7. Really liking Chain Link although I haven’t played too many games of it as yet (waiting for friends) Sunken Dragon has been my favourite map so far in this DLC. Tried to play a round of Carrier assault as I want the achievement for destroying an objective but vitually no one playing that mode any more

    • looks like the problem is Battlefield not finding active servers. I love this game but FFS how long do we have to suffer these stupid problems.

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