Game: Battlefield 3: Close Quarters
Available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC (Reviewed on Xbox 360)
Close Quarters is the second expansion for Battlefield 3 and the first since the announcement of the game’s premium service.
DICE has decided to step away from the large expansive maps that the series is famous for and instead try their hand at something a little different, but has it paid off?
Close Quarters’ tight, focused maps make traditional modes like Conquest and Rush infeasible, so in their place steps Conquest Domination and Gun Master. The player count has been dropped to just 16 (8v8), which makes sense given all four maps combined would easily fit into Caspian Border.
Conquest Domination sees two teams battle it out to control four flags thus whittling down the opposing team’s tickets at a faster rate. The flags are pretty evenly spaced out with multiple ways to reach them, the mode is very cat and mouse with flags being quick to capture and, in turn, lose. Overall the mode is fun and favours players who focus on the objective, with the huge points awarded for taking control of flags easily outweighing what you’d get simply going for kills.
Gun Master is similar to the modes found in Counter Strike and Black Ops, each player starts out with a pistol and after racking up two kills is granted a new, more effective weapon. There are 17 guns to get through in each match and you’ll be able to keep track of how other players are progressing while waiting to respawn. Only one player needs to complete the final level, which requires them to get a kill using just a knife, and the match is over. Although it’s hardly original Gun Master is a fast-paced, exciting, and a welcome addition to the Battlefield playlist; one that almost everyone will be able to enjoy.
Although both new modes are fun in their own right, they also de-emphasise what makes Battlefield feel, well, like Battlefield. Classes are scrapped altogether in Gun Master and feel pretty irrelevant in Conquest Domination, with the hectic nature of the objective leaving little time or need for ammo-refills and med packs. Squad play is also less necessary but working as group will still inevitably make things easier.
Now on to the new maps that you’ll be getting. Ziba Tower, Donya Fortress, Operation 925, and Scrapmetal make up the four new maps included with Close Quarters, and what a beautiful collection they are too. Featuring what DICE calls HD Destruction the spectacle created as bullets rip through walls and shatter glass is fantastic; however the overall level of destruction has actually been toned down from the main game. Why, because all four maps take place within confined structures and if every wall could be completely flattened, matches would end with players stood in a big rubble filled room.
Considering DICE’s limited experience when it comes to designing small, entirely infantry-based arenas, the layout of each map feels unique and well thought-out. Scrapmetal and Donya Fortress are particularly impressive, offering a myriad of choke points, vantage areas, and flanking routes that keep matches interesting even after you’ve memorised every square inch.
Ten new weapons and a handful of dog tags are also included and although they’ll go unnoticed by more casual players, their inclusion is none the less welcome.
My biggest complaint with this DLC would have to be its isolated nature; the two new game modes can only be played on the four new maps, this separates Close Quarters from the main Battlefield experience and can lead to fatigue when it comes to map rotation.
VERDICT: Close Quarters may not feel like a Battlefield expansion, the comparisons between it and Call of Duty are definitely justified. However, if you take it for what it is and don’t mind the play style, you’ll get a decent amount of enjoyment from this DLC.