Yes, my legendary love/hate affair with Battlefield 4 continues. The newest installment of this on-going saga has to do with Dragon’s Teeth, the latest expansion pack that dropped yesterday for Premium members.
An infantry-focused map pack taking place in urban settings in several Asian cities, Dragon’s Teeth removes a lot of the things I don’t like about Battlefield 4, such as almost every type of vehicle, but leaves in all the sweet on-foot action you can handle. The maps are somewhere between the regular size for BF4 maps and the cramped Close Quarters DLC for Battlefield 3, meaning that a lot of the running and dying between objectives has been removed.
While throwing vehicles into the mix along with infantry combat might be the Battlefield series’ claim to fame, I much prefer being a foot-soldier whenever possible. I’ve always enjoyed Battlefield’s take on shooting more so than CoD’s or ARMA’s, so Dragon’s Teeth was more or less made for people like me. The four maps included in the expansion are gorgeous, as you might expect, but not having to cater to vehicle gameplay means that there’s more areas for excellent firefights with multiple routes to get around, so the maps not as constricting feeling as Operation Metro or Locker.
The new game mode packaged in with Dragon’s Teeth is Chainlink, which functions like a smaller version of Conquest. Players need to take flags but the twist is that the enemy team won’t start losing tickets unless the flags your team owns are linked together. So if you take A and C flags but don’t own B, there will be no link and the enemy team won’t lose tickets. If you do own A, B and C, all the other team needs to do is take B to break the link, and you can do the same to their flags. If one team owns the majority of the map’s flags it can sometimes be difficult to stage a comeback but making win conditions dependent on holding linked flags adds a lot of strategic thinking as you always have to be looking out for which flags the enemy might take to break your links, or searching for flanking routes to do the same to the other team.
Dragon’s Teeth also adds a score of new weapons including the ever popular .44 magnum variant of the Desert Eagle pistol, which is currently the go-to for anyone that has unlocked it. If you’re a DE user in Dragon’s Teeth, I’d expect a nerf very soon. This expansion also adds riot shield and a new battle pickup called the R.A.W.R., which is an EOD bot with a .50 cal machine gun and four grenade launchers bolted on. The R.A.W.R. is difficult to control but very well armored and quite powerful, although using it does leave your player model exposed as the gadget is remote controlled.
Based on my playtime with Dragon’s Teeth last night, this might be my preferred map pack to play on for the rest of BF4’s life cycle. Bolting around the map on Chainlink, breaking enemy links and flanking fools was a heck of a good time. While Battlefield 4 is still an uneven experience, drilling down to just infantry firefights removes a lot of the frustrating deaths from tanks and helicopters that can leave you feeling powerless. Even if you don’t own Premium, I recommend picking up Dragon’s Teeth.