It’s been a long wait since we were given Back to Karkand last December, but finally DICE has put out some brand new content for their shooter, Battlefield 3. Closer Quarters is the latest and greatest from the team over in Sweden and with it comes a formula shift to the traditional Battlefield gameplay. Gone are the big maps and vehicles, replaced with high-octane infantry action. That alone is quite a big shift. I know what you’re thinking, “DICE has gone to Call of Duty style gameplay.” It’s understandable and to be honest, I thought the same thing. After putting a ton of hours into the DLC already, I can say that’s not the case. Lets take a closer look at what’s really going on here, shall we?
Full impressions after the jump…
The main focus of this DLC revolves around the foot soldier. The maps are smaller focused so you won’t see any expansive areas or vehicles to rampage around in. As I mentioned above, I’m sure that raises a few alarms with traditionalists out there but fear not. While the action is faster and more focused, certain Battlefield elements are still in place. Destruction is once again a staple and core mechanic at play. I never get tired of seeing the maps start out so clean and pristine only to be turned into a war zone by the end of the match. These maps are left decimated as bullet holes riddle walls, glass is shattered, doors broken, cars on fire, or just general destruction remains. It’s for this reason, that it still feels like a Battlefield game in addition to the normal support actions and team based gameplay.
Two new game modes also make their appearance here in the forms of Conquest Domination and Gun Master. If you’ve played Valve’s Counter Strike or Call of Duty: Black Ops, you should already have a handle on what Gun Master brings to the table. Battlefield’s version pits two teams against one another with 17 gun levels. Everyone starts with a simple pistol at level one, and every two kills gives you a new gun to use. The final level is a knife so things get pretty intense by that point. It’s a very fun mode and extremely tense. The most difficult aspect is just getting used to the new guns and how they handle.
Conquest Domination is a variant on the very popular Conquest mode from the bigger maps. In this new mode, you have three flag capture points on the new Close Quarters maps and to keep the fast paced action going, these flag points capture very quickly. Because of this, you’ll see flags being captured and recaptured quite often. It’s a high action, very faced paced mode and fits extremely well with the small maps.
Close Quarters is bringing 4 maps to the table: Donya Fortress, Operation 925, Ziba Tower, and Scrapmetal. For being small, the maps are very well made and offer a more vertical style of gameplay. Out of the three, I’d have to say that Scrapmetal is my least favorite as it doesn’t seem to flow quite as well as the others in this pack, but even still, there’s plenty of nooks and crannies to explore. The interesting thing about the other 3 maps is how diverse the areas are in them. For example, in Operation 925, you have 3 levels taking place in a commercial style building. You have an area that’s fully furnished complete with cafe, an underground parking structure with cars and debris, and then a section of the building that’s not quite complete yet as construction equipment litters the floor. Having such different areas in a map helps it to stay feeling fresh. Ziba Tower is probably the smallest map of the four but features platforms, terraces, open stairs, and a massive courtyard all on the penthouse level of a massive tower. Finally, Donya Fortress is basically have a war inside someone’s palace.
Also in the DLC are 10 new assignments for you to finish and will reward you with new guns, 5 unique dog tags and for you premium players out there, 5 black dog tags.
After being initially skeptical about “Close Quarters”, I’ll fully admit that I misjudged the add-on content. After spending a good amount of time with the maps and new modes, I’m a big fan of what it’s bringing to the table and being able to still keep that very unique Battlefield 3 feeling. With every release, DICE manages to somehow up the HD Destruction to almost absurd levels, so with “Armored Kill” next on the horizon focusing on vehicles and large maps, I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves.