Games journalist and Battlefield fan Guy Cocker looks at how Battlefield 4’s attack boats are becoming more popular than helicopters, plus a look at the SAR-21 Assault Rifle.
I’ve been playing a lot of Conquest mode on Battlefield recently. While it’s a mode that will be familiar to Battlefield veterans it’s pretty much the “default” multiplayer game type I’ve noticed that BF4 players are approaching it slightly differently than they were in previous games.
For example, it’s traditional for players to race for the helicopters at the start of each match, which was understandable--it’s cool to fly a helicopter, and they’re an effective way of quickly taking an early capture point or two. The helicopter rush still happens in Battlefield 4 to a certain extent, but the thing I’ve really noticed is that the Attack Boats have now superseded the helicopters as the go-to vehicle at the start of each match.
The attack boats in Battlefield 4 should become your new best friends. The DV-15 Interceptor, used by the China faction, is fast and deadly, and available on maps featuring waterways, such as Siege of Shanghai. The RCB is similar to the DV-15, and appears on naval-themed maps such as Flood Zone and Paracel Storm. Just be aware that it’s a little slower and has less protection for passengers than the DV-15.
When you’ve spent a bit of time in either of these vehicles and upgraded them, they become seriously potent killing machines. Use the 25mm (on the DV-15) or 30mm (on the RCB) canons to lay down suppressing fire from a long way away. Or go in hard and take out Infantry Fighting Vehicles using the Active Protection mod, which makes you immune to rocket and tank shells for a few seconds. This will infuriate your opponents, as they literally can’t do anything to stop you all they can do is wait to be torn apart.
The most popular secondary feature of the attack boat is the TV Guided Missile. This could well be the most powerful rocket in the game, because you have guided control of the missile on the way to its target. A guided missile will destroy a rival boat in two hits, and is also potent against land-based units as well. It also reloads really quickly, so by the time you’ve hit your target, the second missile is ready to fire.
The main thorn in the side of a boat’s captain is airborne vehicles, which are able to take out boats pretty easily. So what can you do to stop them? Well, at the most basic level, just make sure you keep moving as much as possible, as a moving target is harder to hit than a stationary one. Another great tip is to try, like all vehicles, to have an engineer in the back, as they can be focussed on repairing the boat as you’re taking care of offensive strikes. As ever in Battlefield, working together as part of a squad always reaps rewards.
However, in terms of specifically combatting air attacks, you should use the IR Smoke feature to hide your location, not to just helicopters and jets, but infantry, tanks and other ships too. If the worst happens and your boat does start to run out of health, remember that both of the attack boats feature two jetskis on the back, which can help you and your team make a speedy exit.
As ever, it’s worth spending time in Battlefield 4’s new training grounds learning how to use the attack boats and the preview missiles. I’ve seen people not being able to properly control the missiles, who end up pulling the missile to one side rather than hitting their intended target. If you’re lucky enough to get control of an attack boat in a real multiplayer match, make sure that you’ve put the practice in beforehand to make it count.
This week, I wanted to focus on one weapon that I’ve been using a lot of, and this time, it’s a weapon that’s brand new to Battlefield 4. The SAR-21 is an assault rifle with a very, very low recoil, which makes it perfect for beginners. At the medium to longer ranges, it's one of the best rifles because it doesn't bounce around and is very easy to control, especially compared to other early weapons that can feature a lot of recoil. The only real downsides are that it's one of the slower firing assault rifles I've used, and the short range isn't as good. Overall though, it’s a fantastic weapon to use as the off as your main assault rifle. This is especially true on next-gen, with the bigger maps, where you won't always be as close to people, so if you're a PC, PS4 or Xbox One player, it's definitely a weapon that's worth looking at.
A Note About Rocket Launchers
It’s worth noting, that the classic rocket launchers have been given a new twist in BF4. For example, the RPG and the SMAW models in Battlefield 3 were effectively reskinned models of the same weapon, depending on which army you were playing as. In Battlefield 4, though, the RPG is more powerful than the SMAW, but has a shorter range and a bigger ark. To counterbalance that, the SMAW has a higher velocity but does less damage. Remember that when you’re using rocket launchers in Battlefield 4, as it could be the difference between you taking out that tank.
So there you have it--Battlefield 4’s attack boats should definitely be on your radar, if they’re not already. Remember to get some practice in on BF4’s new Training Mode, make a dash for the boats at the start of each game, and team up with an engineer so they can fix you up, all while you rain down death on unsuspecting soldiers on land.
As ever, I’m really keen to hear your experiences of playing Battlefield 4, and if you have any tips of your own, please let me and your fellow players know by commenting below or by tweeting me at @guycocker.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you again next week for more Battlefield 4 tips.