For a triple-A shooter, Battlefield 3 has been slow to get the DLC treatment. Instead, developer DICE has focused their efforts on a long series of major updates and bug fixes to get the game to where players wanted it to be at launch. With the big Spring Update now available, and a few more fixes on the way, the Battlefield is about to get bigger… actually, smaller as we prepare to delve into close quarters combat.
The Battlefield series and most especially, Battlefield 3, differentiates itself with vast, open environments chock full of usable vehicles, but the first post-Karkand content expansion will bring smaller groups of players indoors, without the help of vehicles for total and utter mayhem.
Say hello to Battlefield 3: Close Quarters, the first of three upcoming DLC expansions planned for Battlefield 3. The long-awaited DLC was announced at an event in San Francisco co-hosted by DICE and Medal of Honor: Warfighter developer Danger Close Games while Game Rant was in attendance.
Close Quarters is the first pack which comes out in June and from there, it just gets bigger. ‘Armored Kill’ debuts in the Fall and brings with it new vehicles and the biggest map the franchise has ever seen. Last but not least is ‘End Game’ which comes out in the Winter and details on that remain hidden under a veil of secrecy (expect more at E3!).
The first Battlefield 3: Close Quarters trailer and screenshots highlighted the intense, chaotic gameplay in the Ziba Tower map which looks as if it came straight from a Michael Bay movie. Needless to say, playstyles and kit loadouts will be vastly different on these maps.
With only weeks remaining until BF3 players finally get to enjoy new maps, here are the details on what’s coming, followed by the brand new trailer and screenshots for the Donya Fortress map:
Battlefield 3: Close Quarters key features
- Get plunged into frantic and relentlessinfantry combat on 4 new maps
- HD Destruction lets you reduce entire locales to ruin
- Complete 10 new Assignments and equip 5 uniquedog tags
- Earn 10 new weapons and bring them back to the base game including:
- AUG Assault Rifle
- SCAR Assault Rifle
- ACW-R Carbine
- MTAR-21 Carbine
- M417 Sniper Rifle
- JNG-90 Sniper Rifle
- L86LSW Machine Gun
- LSAT Machine Gun
- M5K Tactical Machine Pistol
- SPAS-12 Shotgun
The lighting, particle effects, destructible environments and animations all come together beautifully – EA/DICE sure now how to construct brilliant gameplay trailers. There are spots for all kits, including snipers, on this map which appears larger than Ziba Tower. Conquest Domination is one of the new game types shipping with the Close Quarters DLC.
Battlefield 3 is current available for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. The Close Quarters DLC arrives one week early for PS3 players.
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Last week we told you about Battlefield Premium, a package that not only gave you access to all upcoming expansion packs on release but also gave you them 2 weeks early. Due to Sony’s agreement with DICE and EA, Playstation Battlefield Premium users were given access to the newest expansion, Close Quarters, last week and this week is the turn of the 360 and PC Premium users.
I’m a recently converted PC gamer and got BF3 free with the graphics card I purchased — I used this freebie to justify paying $49.99 for Premium as in the long run it works out cheaper than buying each expansion and there are a great many more benefits beside. Close Quarters adds four new maps, two new game modes, five new dog tags, and 10 new assignments and weapons. As the name suggests the new maps and game mode are all designed for close quarters combat.
Mode: Gun Master
Gun Master is one of the new game modes and was originally seen in Counter Strike but was also implemented in CoD: Black Ops. Each player starts at level 1 with the same pistol, but to advance a level you need to kill two people with that pistol. You are then given a different gun with which you have to kill another two people and so on, until you reach the last level (17) in which you have to kill someone with a knife. If you’re the first to do this then you win.
In my brief stint with this game mode I actually quite enjoyed it. I can’t see myself playing it all the time but every now and then it’s nice to take a break from the strategy involved in some of the other game modes and not have to think about which loadout to choose. And while it’s very easy to come from behind in this mode, it can get a little disheartening to see everyone moving on levels and coming at you with assault rifles while you’re still struggling on the Magnum. A couple of lucky encounters can come straight after each other and put you right back into mid table, but that doesn’t always happen.
Map: Ziba Tower
Ziba Tower is set on the top floors of a luxury hotel, there are two floors of interiors which provide the three walls surrounding an outdoor pool area. There are a couple of long empty corridors — just long enough for you to start sprinting along then have an enemy come round the corner shoot you in the face before you can even aim down the sights of your gun. There’s an open balcony running around the pool area on the second floor which is great to pick off some unfortunate soul who is trying to sprint their way across. There’s also a little pool bar in the middle of the open pool area which is great to take cover in if you find yourself being picked off from the heavens with no idea which direction it’s coming from. As frustrating as running into an unexpected enemy can be, it’s the same for all the new maps and I found this one to be one of my favorites. The surprise drop can just as easily be swung the other way round with you coming out on top. If you find yourself being shot from behind more often than not you can jump into a side room and lie in wait as your predator comes bundling through swiftly becoming the prey.
Map: Operation 925
Operation 925 is one of the maps I’ve played most in my time with Close Quarters, purely by chance. It’s not my favorite but it’s the one I seem to perform best on, probably because I know the layout that little bit better. Navigating your way around any of these maps can be tough at first because of the many corners, you may also find yourself getting frustrated at your K/D ratio because you weren’t expecting to suddenly bump into an enemy or spawn and find one stood not ten feet away ready to pick you off.
This map is set in an office building which is probably where the operation name came from (working 9 2 5), my favorite part of the map is the blocks of office desks just next to a long walkway. You can easily take cover in between these desks popping your head up just long enough to fire a clip into an enemy soldier who hasn’t taken cover. Most action takes place on the middle of the three floors with some people using the underground car park or upper floor to try and navigate round the back of oncoming infantry.
Scrapmetal is an interesting map, set in two warehouses connected by two bridges with multiple levels and numerous nooks and crannies that I’m still getting lost and disorientated in it. I tend to head for the two connecting bridges as there’s some strategically placed obstacles that can be used in a firefight between you and an enemy at the far end and more often than not you’ll end up in a duel whenever you take the bridge. There are also a number of metal staircases with gaps in between the steps leaving you vulnerable from both fire above and below so be sure the floor you’re on is clear before moving up.
Map: Donya Fortress
Donya Fortress is a beautiful map set in a huge mansion, with ongoing restoration projects on and under the ground floor. The map reminds me a little of Villa from Black Ops but on a grander scale. Again, much like the other maps, always be expecting to run into an enemy especially on the inside as there’s plenty of sharp corners here too. There’s an exposed courtyard too but there’s not much cover here so best to stick to the edges if you need to get across. There’s a vantage point on the upper floor for picking off people in the courtyard but not many people will be running through and you’re more likely to have an enemy chance upon you than you are at taking someone out.
Up close and personal
I’ve focused my play time on the 16-man Gun Master mode so far, so I’m not sure if the maps get bigger depending on the mode and/or number of players, I imagine it would get pretty hectic on all of these maps if not. The other game mode is Conquest Domination which is similar to CoD‘s Domination mode as players may spawn in a random location, because of this, capturing control points becomes a lot quicker. Throw this in with with the Close Quarters maps and some RPGs and you’ve got all out mayhem on your hands.
All of the maps do feel like they should be in a Call of Duty game but that’s down to their close quarters nature instead of the sprawling expanse of the maps we’re used to in BF3, especially on the 64-player PC maps.
All in all I’m enjoying this release so far and for anyone looking to purchase it I’d definitely recommend putting in the extra and getting yourself Premium, the early DLC and monthly double XP events alone are worth it (even if none of us really wants to give anymore money to EA).