I'm a sniper by trade. I like hiding in the brush, somewhere off in the distance and snipe the shit out of people. It's the thing I do, and I like doing it. Need proof? Just check out my Battlefield 1943 stats. I like the safety of distance and the challenge of knocking someone out of the game from across the map.
It's not camping; it's technique and patience.
Battlefield Close Quarters denies me the trade and gift I'm use to in the series. It tells me that I need to grab a PP2000 with x4 sights and run around like a mad man, who continually gets deployed back into the game as if there is some ADHD child respawning me back into action continually. It's an entirely new ballgame, and one that I consider most likely the brother of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 than anything else. Is that sort of comparison fair? Absolutely.
Close Quarters is a faster paced game that requires you to be the grunt to survive the missions. It puts you in the uncomfortable position of thinking quick, understanding you will die regularly and requiring you to go-go-GO! What makes it all work? Well, it's the title of the game 'close quarters'. The areas you're use to are limited in distance and space. For example, when you're dropped into Siene Crossing you're limited to the crossroads of the inner city, and it's surrounding buildings. There aren't any plazas or outside bases available; you're fully restricted to the inner portion of the city. It makes you literally run and gun, especially once you have the maximum amount of team members going at it. It's complete chaos. Again, it reminds me a lot of MW3, but that's okay because there's nothing wrong with MW3's fast-paced gaming.
Scrap Metal Map
I digress, getting back to maps -- there are a few new ones to look forward to in this DLC release.
First, you get a taste of a scrap metal map that is rusted and decaying. It's one of the more perfect places for people to blend in with camo, and one that frustrated me the most. It's multi-level, so you can go up, up, up! There is a section that divides the respawning teams. It's a collapsed walkway between two buildings that slants down. Sounds like a perfect place to camp and wait for someone to run down, right? Not so fast! It's one of the more brutal areas of the map where the king of the mountain has reign. It's a bit unbalanced when it comes to fighting it out. There were more than a few times when I had three team members trying to take out the other team at the bottom of the walkway. Almost every time they were decimated. Don't get me wrong, it's a neat map. Certainly not my favorite.
The second map, and the beginning of something interesting with this DLC, is the Operation 925 map. It's based in a commercial building in Tehran. It's definitely a lot more open at the entrance and straight office when you start traveling through multiple areas. It's not as claustrophobic as the scrap metal map, but it does have some tight hallways to catch people running down. It contains three levels that act as their own effective area of battle with each having some very open rooms for some real firefights. It lends well to the 'close quarters' battles. It also contains some very nice places to crouch down and hide, such as behind desks. You will find people will run past your area more easily than in the scrap metal map. That's a huge plus if you want to keep the game going at a constant pace. This map definitely excited and intrigued me, but it wasn't my favorite.
The third map, and by far my favorite in the Close Quarters DLC, is Ziba Tower. It's got the same feel as Operation 925, but it has some flexibility to it. It has a LOT of open rooms that allow for multi-level firefights. Lots of stairs everywhere in this board, including a nice fountain/pool. You also have the ability to go outside effectively and find some good firing spots. On top of those things, you have some glass ceilings that you can shoot out and make enemies tumble to the level below. It's like something out of a freaking Bond film. Much like Operation 925, you have lots of desks to hide behind, plenty of nooks and crannies, and plenty of walls to crouch behind. Did I mention the insane amount of glass? There is an insane amount of glass on this map. I just love shooting glass, so sue me.
As for the last map, the Donya Fortress, it's a gigantic mansion that allows for cross courtyard fighting. It's a lot lengthier than the other maps, and there are plenty of columns to shoot. It is better than the scrap metal map, but it still isn't nearly as entertaining, at least for me, as the Operation 925 and Ziba Tower map. It reminds me of a lot of maps in MW3, where it's open and everyone is just shooting the hell out of each other. It's a gorgeous map, but a little too open for my taste. It certainly will make the game shift into fifth gear for players. Very quick stuff.
As for other goodies that come along with the DLC release, you also get a couple of modes.
TDM Close Quarters, which is pretty much what I've been referencing with the maps above, is the main mode here on the DLC. It's a tight fight that keeps you in the game quicker and quicker. There is less time to wait on deployment, which makes the pace much quicker. The majority of this review time was spent on this mode, and I can't say that I'm disappointed with that decision, as it felt like this was the beef of the release.
The other mode you get with this release is Gun Master. I don't know why, but this reminds me a lot of the basketball game 32, where you can put back someone's shot and send them back to zero. In Gun Master, you start with a certain weapon and you are given a quota to complete. Once that quota is met then you are upgraded to the next weapon. If a takedown is performed on you then you are demoted a level. See where this is going? It's addictive, and I can see where this could be a HUGE draw for this DLC. The winner of the game is the player that makes it to the 'knife level' of Gun Master and successfully earns a kill via knife. I like this and it's definitely along the same lines as Close Quarters. Very intense and very fast-paced action. It's a perfect fit for this DLC.
So is this DLC worth the $15 you would pay for it? If you're a hardcore fan of BF3 then most certainly it belongs in your library. Let's face it, EA is doing a fantastic job with releasing solid content for this edition of the BF series. Back to Karkand brought back some great maps and allowed us to do things we hadn't done before in BF3. Close Quarters allows us the other side of the BF3 equation. It's not cold and calculating, as it is fast and bloody. It gives us another notch in the series and it's certainly worth every penny that EA and DICE are asking.
With that said, Battlefield 3 Premium is interesting to consider. For a one-time fee of $49.99 you get all the DLC for BF3 (including Karkand). That's future and past DLC. That's a helluva deal. You also get videos, bonus content and a very easy-to-read calendar of what to expect from upcoming BF3 releases. While it's not as flashy as CoD Elite, it certainly does what BF does best; it sticks to the business at hand. I like that fact that it's not a reoccurring fee and that you get actual stuff you can use for the $49.99 you would pay. You save $15 on the DLC alone. It's a tough deal for any hardcore fan of the series to pass up. I'm impressed that EA and DICE went this route, and I understand considering the success of Elite. I also like that you don't have to shovel through crap to get to the beef of the package. It's easier on the eyes and wallet. Anyway, if you're going to consider getting Close Quarters then you may want to go this route. DICE and EA rarely disappoint with their DLC in the BF series.
Anyway, let's wrap this review up. To the summary!