Anybody who knows me or follows me on twitter will know that I am something of a Battlefield fanboy. Its probably my favourite online shooting game, and apart from the woeful shooting mechanics I think its more of a deeper and immersive game. I also think it has a lot more variety than other games that it can be compared to. There are numerous game types, and the maps are different enough to offer something to any type of player. There are maps that range from small scale, man to man focused areas, to massive wide open levels that allow you to drive or fly into battle.
With this in mind, DICE are bringing out several new map packs for Battlefield 3, that will concentrate on those various types of games, and the first pack ‘Close Quarters’ is geared towards infantry combat in small scale arenas. Call of Duty Elite….I MEAN Battlefield Premium members also have access to them two weeks early which is a nice little treat.
Just as in the ‘Back to Karkand’ map pack, there are 4 new maps, 10 new weapons and a few new game modes. One thing to note about this pack is that, unusually for Battlefield, there are NO vehicles present in any of the new maps. In fairness, the new maps are too small to support them, but I always thought that the vehicles were one of the main things that set BF3 apart from the rest, and losing them does make it suspiciously more comparable to Call Of Duty. Also, one big issue that I have always had with Battlefield is the aforementioned shooting mechanics. Battlefield takes a more realistic approach to gunplay, and there are multiple aspects that you have to consider when shooting a target. Don’t get me wrong it works perfectly at long range, but it is frustrating when you fail to hit a target that’s 2 metres away you were aiming at because of bullet spread.
The new maps themselves are however amazing to look at, well designed as always and are fully destructible. The four maps are the high class apartments of Ziba Tower, the run-down warehouses of Scrap Metal, Operation 925’s multi-floored offices and Donya fotress’ claustrophobic halls and corridors. What they lack in scale my make up for in fun, as I have had some of the best shootouts I’ve ever had in BF3 in some of them. My particular favourite fight was set in 925’s offices, which were being blown to pieces around me as I took cover behind a desk.
The new weapons add lots of incentive to keep on playing, as there are 10 of them and they each have their own challenge attached to them which needs to be accomplished before you can unlock them. Some are relatively simple like ’30 Assault Rifle Kills’, to the more challenging ’50 headshots’ or ’20 grenade kills’. They are compelling enough for you to keep on playing, and its extremely rewarding when you finally unlock a new gun after grinding a few hours of tricky challenges.
There are 3 new game types on offer too, Conquest Domination, Team Conquest Domination and Gun Master. Conquest domination’s format and name has basically been stolen from COD’s domination mode. And if you’re not familiar with that its just a king of the hill mode which is extremely fast paced. The highlight for me is Gun Master, where 16 players compete to be the first to get the best weapons by scoring kills. The big downside is that other fantastic game modes such as Rush BF3 has are absent and the map pack suffers slightly for it because, as good as the new game modes are, Gun Master isn’t too rewarding for XP, and conquest domination can become stale after a few games.
One thing to note is that CD is ridiculously generous with points. At the end of my first CQ session I had gained over 200,000 points. So if you’re in a hurry to level up, play a few games in this mode and you’ll be laughing.
Close Quarters isn’t quite as good as B2K, but when added to the rest of the BF3 package the maps and modes strengthen the overall depth that this game has. Having said that if your new to BF3 it may or may not be the introduction into the series that does it justice. Overall the maps and weapons are fantastic, and gun master is one of the most fun modes on the game, but these CQ maps are let down by unfair gaming mechanics, perhaps with some patches this can be fixed, but for now it doesn’t fill me with the same ‘one more round’ feeling that I had when playing the Karkand maps.