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Battlefield 4: China Rising DLC

By NAG3LT31-12-2013
MrJenssen (editor)
Bobfish (editor)

The Defence

Electronic Arts
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Quad-core CPU
AMD Six-core CPU
Nvidia GeForce GTX 660
AMD Radeon HD 7870
8 GB
30 GB
10, 11

The Case

EA loves operating on a schedule no matter what. Battlefield 4 was released with many issues, making it barely playable during the first week. While a month of fixes has brought the game to a much more playable state, those issues have not postponed the DLC release even by a single day. So let’s see if China Rising is worth getting and how good or bad that pre-order bonus is.

The Trial

China Rising does not deviate much from a standard Battlefield DLC delivery. There are 4 new maps with a common theme, some new guns, some new game modes and some new stuff found only on these new maps. Maps use real locations in China as inspiration for their geographical design, which provide some interesting vistas. Disappointingly, all of them have much less interactive elements or dynamic weather, compared to the base game. This is very strange, considering that the Second Assault DLC composed of remakes of popular BF3 maps had a lot of dynamic elements added to them. Lastly, it seems that the new fashion of BF4 DLC is the 10-rank extension of the old 100-rank maximum. The one star general is the new top rank now, which is shown in-game as a colonel with an ugly purple text for some reason.

Hopefully it will hit something.

Hopefully it will hit something.

Guilin Peaks is the smallest map of the package with interesting sights and a multiple underground caves. Its size makes it more infantry focused, with only light vehicles and helicopters available for transport. Fortunately, it never feels too small, and the caves provide many additional paths for interesting conquest matches. The biggest problem with this map is the tendency for very noticeable FPS drops.

Altai Range is a large map dominated by a wide central mountain. It has a majestic look to it, and the scale favours the use of both ground and air vehicles. The central capture point on its slope gives access to several bonuses and becomes an important place to fight for. The usefulness of a mountain as a large sniper nest also adds another reason to keep enemies away from it.

Dragon Pass is a very diverse map, with several steep mountains and rivers carving large islands. Such terrain favours a wide variety of weapons and vehicles to fight over every location. When both teams are evenly matched, most of the fighting happens around a few central points with the occasional lone soldier capturing the outlying points.

More attack helicopters at the same time than ever before.

More attack helicopters at the same time than ever before.

Silk Road is the least special map of them all. A desert map filled with medium sized sand dunes leaves little long range visibility and very little high ground. Almost all action happens at the capture points, with a few accidental encounters in-between.

To make transportation around maps faster, the dirt bikes are back with several rams on the maps to encourage some extreme drivers. All maps also have a ground-controlled bomber plane, which can drop 8-12 bombs on the ground or carry another cruise missile. The presence of the bomber also means that all CR maps give commanders a cruise missile instead of a gunship. The large delay between bomb targeting and detonation as well as the limited visibility makes the bomber an extremely situational weapon. The queues near the bomber control booth usually means that you will fly it when you can instead of the situations when you need it.

The new weapons include several guns for the troops and several new gadgets. The Recon’s SUAV is a small plane that can spot enemies and laser tag vehicles. These abilities make it quite useful on larger maps. Support players get a different radio controlled plane – UCAV, which can be used to blow up enemies out of range for more traditional weapons, with more precision than the mortar. Unfortunately, unlocking most of them requires 3 jet fighter ribbons, which isn’t easy for most of the BF4 players and can cause a lot of frustrating moments as jet newbies take to the skies just to get the ribbons.

High Five!

High Five!

The Air Superiority gameplay mode from BF3’s End Game DLC is back with a few changes and some old problems. There is still a conquest for the jets, where you battle over the control of 3 points. It’s also still limited to 24 vehicles, which makes the experience on some servers very boring. Another mode is the King of the Hill mode for attack helicopters. This mode has its merits, but it is also jammed together with jet rounds in Air Superiority. Unless you find a specifically configured server, the constant switching between helicopters and jets in Air Superiority gets annoying fast. It is unfortunate that while adding some new features for this gameplay mode, DICE has ignored the old problems and instead opted to adding new ones.

The Verdict

China Rising brings the standard assortment of additional stuff for the base game. While the new maps are nice, they are more barebones than the base maps of BF4. There are a few interesting new gadgets, but they are not enough to justify the price. It’s not a terrible DLC, but it does not seem like a sure buy and is certainly not decent compensation for those who pre-ordered BF4 and had to endure an unplayable game for the first few weeks.

Case Review

  • New Weapons: Some of them are quite interesting to use, like UCAV.
  • Helicopter Superiority: The addition of helicopters to Air Superiority is good, but it should have its own separate mode instead.
  • Higher Ranks: Lvl 100 Colonel is no longer the ceiling, meet the lvl 110 generals on the ground.
  • Static Maps: New maps have much less interactive dynamic elements than the base game.
  • Same Limits Again: Air Superiority is still effectively limited to 24 players.
Score: 3/5
China Rising is decent, but ultimately below expectations.


The Battlefield 4 launch only a few months ago was plagued with severe issues. Most of the major crashes have been addressed now and DICE have tossed their first DLC into the ring - China Rising. China Rising contains four new maps, a few new weapons and vehicles while raising the commander level cap to 110.

All the new maps are based on actual locations in China and are well varied in their aesthetic presentation. They’re downright beautiful to play on at max settings. You’ll be fighting across rolling yellow sand dunes, through dim, watery caves that punish your inattention. Other players always seem to appear over a dune or from behind a rock when you let your guard down. There is also a greater emphasis on vehicular combat, with more of everything you've already driven, crashed and used to kill opponents, along with the addition of the dirt bike from BF3’s End Game DLC. Throttling over a sand dune at full speed with someone riding shotgun is a lot of fun.

For all the fun of China Rising, DICE don't really seem to have capitalized much on their concept of the interactive environments in Battlefield 4. There isn't much in the way of destructible buildings or even as much as a closable gate. None of the levels change in any way during play, which was one of the highly touted new features of Battlefield 4 when it launched. This is disappointing, as the destruction could have been incredibly well realized with the amount of vehicles in use on some of these new maps. Despite this, the new maps are a lot of eye-candy fun that do add some variety to the maps that came with the base game. They serve to broaden the gameplay when taken together with the already available maps. With the increased vehicle count, it can make for some joyfully explosive confrontations.

Score: 4/5
Comments (10)
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Posts: 3290

You have to remember though, DICE aren't just under the EA umbrella, like a lot of studios. They're out and out owned by EA. They'd have as much luck saying no as, for example, Ubisoft Massive would if they told Ubi to sod off.

Only real difference being that Ubisoft would probably listen because they actually want their games to work.

Unless it's on the PC

Posts: 1317

NAG3LT, technically speaking, you've got it the other way around. Life Of Brian was banned in Norway because of the religious content (LOL Norway in the 70s), and SWEDEN took advantage and called it too funny for Norway. A pretty great joke. :D

Posts: 1317

Glad you saw the light, Merc! Fuck DICE. They don't care about their community, clearly, or they wouldn't have released BF4 in the pathetic state it was in. You could blame EA all you want, but in the end, DICE could've stepped up and refused. They didn't. Money and beating Call of Duty is too important.

Posts: 1548

I hope EA doesn't compare BF to Monty Python. Monty Python is much better :D

Posts: 267

Well, one of Monty Python films was advertised in Norway as "too funny for Sweden" after the ban in Sweden.

Posts: 3290

Why am I so certain that, long term, the advertising plan for this will be 'buy the DLC that made China ban the game'?

Oh yes. Because EA

Posts: 596

I haven't had much time yet to play and what time I have had to play I have spent on War Thunder (truly fun experience so far!)

I do want to try BF4 China Rising though having read this review, it sounds very disappointing in some aspects. But then again perhaps I had too high hopes from DEACE.

Posts: 351

CR is certainly not the worst DLC ever but the game is not great because its so unstable/broken.

Posts: 341

Battlefield 4 - GOTY 2014
~Pixel Judge

CR is the worst DLC ever.
Even CQ > CR.

But then again, game is still broken and DICE still doing squat.
Adding patches that do nothing.
Claiming they fixed XYZ, among them was: Kill Trading and Hitreg/Netcode.
Guess what, nope.

Posts: 351

I like the maps but this game is so fucked up that I think I am done with the BF franchise. It saddens me to say it. I heard that they may even make it an annual franchise lol. I guess Titanfall is my next shooter. Oh yeah, Dota 2 is okay as well :D