For DLC with ‘naval’ in its title, you might be forgiven for expecting large-scale, open warfare on the sea. Yet for all the pomp and statistics about how much water has been poured into the four new maps in Battlefield 4’s latest, it’s amazing how little time you actually spend bouncing across it.
There is plenty of H2O around, of course, but most of which is just the body that separates the two initial spawn points on each map – rarely are you forced to swim or jet ski your way across as you island hop from one location to the next, and if you are, it’s only a short distance.
The maps themselves are extremely open, a snipers paradise with elevated positions that favour the defenders in Rush mode while providing the perfect vantage point for picking off players who adopt the run and gun approach. As with any online Battlefield experience, teamwork and speed are essential: if you let the other guys become entrenched, you’re dead, and will wind up frustrated with little hope of victory.
Naval Strike’s launch was marred by a delay on Xbox One and there are still a few persistent issues. Server lag is ever-present during 64 player battles in Carrier Assault – a throwback to the Titan Mode of Battlefield 2142. When fighting inside the carriers themselves, waves of water will often clip through the hull of the ship to the point where everyone might as well just be using a Super Soaker than semi-automatic machine guns.
This DLC isn’t without merit: there are five new weapons and two gadgets to play with, including a grenade launcher and anti-air mine – a first for the series. The addition of the hovercraft makes for swift travel, and you can even use an old cannon in the fort on Operation Mortar.
With five extra achievements and 11 new assignments to chip away at, there is enough for experienced players to sink their teeth into, but you can’t help but feel that it’s simply more of the same, and it's still blighted by technical issues.
Version Tested: Xbox One. Played for 4 hours
5 / 10
- The hovercraft makes traversing the landscape quick and easy.
- Snipers will have a field day.
- Lack of actual ship-to-ship naval combat.
- Server issues – particularly bad lag with 64 players.