The second DLC for Battlefield 3, Close Quarters, is content that many of the hardcore Battlefield crowd thought pointless. Pointless because what EA DICE had essentially done, in their eyes, was add Call of Duty into their game. Where that may be true in some aspects I don’t think it’s fair to generalise the content. At the end of things Battlefield 3 is a shooter and it’s always going to have some similarities to its competitors.
Because of this a lot of developers competing against each other in a similar genre tend to take notes, gain ideas from other developers and games, and try to make that idea better in their own creation. Though it may not have been the aim EA DICE have done exactly that with the gameplay in Close Quarters: it’s what Call of Duty does, small maps and hectic gameplay, but Battlefield 3 does it better.
Obviously when I say that it’s better that’s my own opinion and it has nothing to do with bias or the fact that I heavily dislike what Activision and Call of Duty are doing with their franchise right now. Honest. I think it’s better because EA DICE have put in that hectic gameplay that you can experience in Call of Duty and mixed it with their masterpiece of a game, making it a stunning experience of “WTF” and “OMG LOL”, or in some cases, “you f*cking hacking little b*stard, get a grip!”
Okay, maybe the latter features more than “in some cases”, but that’s what any FPS game is about; pointing the finger in a state of rage is all part of the fun, but before I get any further into that aspect of an FPS, let me carry on with reviewing Close Quarters.
The Close Quarters DLC adds four new maps, (Operation 925, Ziba Tower, Donya Fortress, Scrapmetal), all of which come in a similar size: small. For gamers like myself who have played the Battlefield series since Battlefield 1942 this transition to smaller maps may come as a slight shock. But with an open mind you will learn to enjoy this transition. Having more of a reason to use the shotgun and SMG that you don’t have a real need for on the Gulf of Oman, whilst all the while thinking that if you get tired of this sort of gameplay, and you need a quick break, you can always go back to the larger maps playing either Conquest or Rush. Which is something you can’t do with Call of Duty. Burn.
Sure you’ll get people pre-firing round corners, and you’ll get the wall-bangers and the RPG guys, but it can still be a lot of fun when you’re involved in such a relentless setting with nose-to-nose combat and ‘HD Destruction’. If you’re the kind of gamer who loves flitting round and capping flags in Domination then you may lose yourself in Conquest Domination which is one of two new game modes in Close Quarters; it’ll suit you down to the ground with its fast-paced capturing action. Am I selling it to you with those marketing skills of mine?
The second of the two new game modes is Gun Master. This is a completely new game type in the Battlefield series, one that can’t be compared to anything that has featured in the series before. You start at level 1 of 17, with a standard side-arm and each kill that you get with your current weapon helps towards levelling-up, which will award you with a better weapon, working your way from side-arms to carbines and more.
I can see Gun Master being addictive for some but I don’t think it’s something that will keep the interest of the masses. Like many others, I prefer Conquest to anything else and I’ll play that more than other game mode because that’s what Battlefield’s all about! But that’s not to say that it isn’t a great idea to change it up a bit to keep things fresh, because it definitely is; I like it.
Along with the new maps and game modes, there are 10 new weapons that will be well suited to the aforementioned, (AUG A3, SCAR-L, L86A2, LSAT, ACW-R, MTAR-21, M417, JNG-90, SPAS-12, M5K) all of which can be unlocked by completing the latest assignments that are featured in the DLC. For example: 10 squad revives and 30 assault rifle kills will get you the AUG A3. Pretty much the same deal as featured in the Back to Karkand DLC.
If, like me, you have Battlefield 3 Premium then you could have purchased and had access to the DLC back on June 12th or, if you’re a Playstation 3 owner, June 4th. For gamers without Premium Close Quarters has only been available since June 26th (June 19th for PS3), so the content is still very much fresh.
If you haven’t bothered gearing yourself up for Close Quarters yet solely based on snappy comments made about the way it sucks because it’s too similar to Call of Duty then take no notice and give it a go. Those comments are far too harsh and, as stated at the beginning of my review, far too generalised. These people are obviously too stubborn to accept that EA DICE are well within their rights to introduce more game modes and map sizes in Battlefield 3 to make their title suitable for everybody’s play styles. It’s clever, it’s happening, and we’re getting the benefit of a fully flexible, modern-day first-person shooter.
Why own Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty if one of them is currently the better game with everything for everyone? That’s my opinion, so I’ll leave you to answer that question yourself, based on your own opinions.