When I talk about Battlefield 3 with friends, it’s usually always about epic, battles spanning some of the largest maps in shooters. While that notion is generally true, some of my favorite maps and experiences deal with the smaller urban maps. I’m a fan of running around with a pump-action shotgun, barreling around corners and shredding unsuspecting enemies. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the large-scale showdowns, but the frenetic close quarters firefights play to my strengths.
The first expansion, Back to Karkand, added an assortment of maps. Some were smaller and filled with alleyways and buildings while some were gigantic and complete with vehicles. In Close Quarters, DICE has taken a step away from their usual mindset of medium-to-large maps and injected Battlefield 3 with four maps designed to cater towards people like me, who enjoy getting up close and personal.
If you bought Battlefield Premium to get the rest of the maps early, you may be disappointed with this set of close maps, as they don’t present the experience that the Battlefield series is known for. Luckily, you’ll get access to ten new weapons to at least justify the new expansion. I’m still unlocking them, to be honest (as you know, it’s a slow process), but I have used about a third of them. So far, they each have unique aspects. The AUG has become my new go-to assault rifle based on it’s weight and power. The new Spaz shotgun fits comfortable between the 870 MCS and the M1014, blending aspects of both into one fancy shotgun.
Taking a page from its competitors playbook, Gun Master is a shameless (albeit tweaked) stab at Gun Game from the Call of Duty series. Instead of a free-for-all, you still play on teams so as long as one of your teammates wins you still get a victory. You run through 18 stages. The first 17 stages are two kills with progressively better weapons until you get to stage 18, in which you need to obtain one knife kill to give your team a stylish victory. Sadly, there is no final kill cam to recount your glory. The mode generally plays well on the new maps, as its just about as frantic as the COD variant when playing in a full room. I did have quite a few issues of spawning directly in front of an opponent, but since I always got the kill it was hard to complain.
The other new mode is more or less an adjusted Conquest- Conquest Domination. It will have you recklessly running from one of the three points to another, with capture times reduced to next-to-nothing. If a team smartly splits up to cover at least two points with a few people randomly running around, it can be a very easy victory. This is also one of the few instances you will want to play with more than the regular amount of tickets. I played some regular ticket games and they went a little too fast, some being less than five minutes.
It makes sense to have such short capture times. As soon as you see a blinking objective that the enemy is taking and start running towards it, it’s nearly half taken already. You generally meet the enemy in passing since the maps are so small, which ends with one side being slaughtered and the other one continuing to another point. If you are part of the capturing group, you can rack up some serious points, too. I ended one ten minute long game with nearly 10,000 XP.
All of the four maps have very similar aspects but vary in size and structure. Ziba Tower is probably the smallest of the four maps. In the center is a courtyard, with two separate buildings. Being as all of the maps have multiple floors, this one has two floors in each building. A wonderful view from building to building would usually be sniper heaven, but with the fast paced nature of the map, you simply don’t feel safe sniping in one spot for very long. You can comfortably run around with a shotgun, though, and do quite well doing so as you will rarely run into mid-range combat and when you do, you can avoid it by swooping through the various side-paths through the towers.
Danya Fortress took the longest to get accustomed to, and to be frank, I am still a little lost after playing for a few hours on it.It’s three floors of madness, in a Middle Eastern-like temple, with more vertical range than the other maps. This map resembles Ziba Tower in layout, but with fewer long corridors. The underground passage would make a great way to flank the enemy, except the map is so fast paced that by time you go under the chaos and get behind everyone, they are on their way back towards you.In Conquest Domination, though, the objective underground becomes a violent hot spot.
One of the two larger maps, Operation 925 is an office building turned into a warzone. Complete with server rooms, offices, a garage, and a second story loft, this map contains more medium range combat than the ones previously mentioned but you can still do well with close-quarters weapons like SMGs and shotguns. This is honestly one of my favorite maps, as it is a great mix of short to medium range and there’s so many paths to maneuver through to find that great vantage point. The garage offers one of the more exciting places to engage swarming enemy forces.
Scrapmetal is the other larger map. By “larger”, I mean a general sized TDM-variant map from the standard maps. Instead of being outdoors with various places to hide like, say, Seine Crossing, these maps are usually indoors with lots of corners to catch people off guard. Scrapmetal in particular has two buildings connected with a few pathways at each end of the map. Both buildings have great sniping points. This is probably the only map where you can successfully snipe if your team knows how to protect the stairs to the roof. This is also the most unfair map out of the four when playing TDM. A good team can hole-up on the smaller roof with a few snipers, a few rocket-spewing engineers and a few support classes guarding the stairs and providing ammo. I joined quite a few matches on the opposite team and just got slaughtered. The indoors areas offer plenty protection, but the main points of interest are usually the rooftops.
All four maps will quickly become littered with bullet holes and signs of conflict. The destruction isn’t on the same scale as the regular maps, but it feels like an improved use of the Frostbite 2.0 engine since more things can be ravaged with your guns.
This map pack is not for everyone. I’ve played nothing but these maps for most of the week, and in small moderation they feel refreshing but they lack that “Battlefield-feeling”. I find it admirable that DICE stepped outside their element and attempted a different approach to map design. I have always praised DICE for their maps, and even though these are so drastically different, they still have that touch only DICE can provide. The new modes also give you a change of pace, but will leave you wanting the general Conquest/Rush modes if you play them too long. If you don’t have Premium and don’t like the idea of Close Quarters, buying this expansion will at least deliver ten new weapons.
- New weapons!! Additionally, new assignments
- Vastly different than the rest of the maps offered in BF3
- The use of the Frostbite 2.0 engine seems more fitting
- Vastly different than the rest of the maps offered in BF3
- Will cause large frownie-faces to people that love vehicles and larger maps