With the brand new Battlefield 3: Close Quarters DLC finally releasing to all Premium members on each platform, I finally got to sink a few days into the infantry-based, CQC-themed expansion. Close Quarters boasts 4 new tightly compacted maps, 10 new weapons, 10 new assignments and a brand new HD destruction feature that literally rips these maps to shreds.
Prior to Close Quarters releasing, we only saw gameplay footage on two of the four maps, Donya Fortress and Ziba Tower. The game mode included in these features was Conquest Domination. DICE kept the other two maps and other game modes guarded until the Playstation 3 release last week. The entire Close Quarters expansions consists of maps: Ziba Tower, Donya Fortress, Operation 925 and Scrapmetal. The ten new weapons include two for each of the four main classes, as well as two extra weapons that can be used as any class. Those weapons are the AUG A3, SCAR-L, L86A2, LSAT, ACW-R, MTAR-21, M417, JNG-90, SPAS-12 and M5K. I will get into an in-depth review of each of these weapons a little later in the review.
In Conquest Domination, two teams are pitched against each other in a battle to capture the three main objective points, represented by flags A, B and C. The first team that bleeds the opposing team to zero tickets will emerge victorious. You do this by killing the enemies, and capping and holding as many flags as you can for a longer duration than the opposing team. Gun Master, extremely similar to Counter Strike’s Gun Game, pits you in a race to level up the fastest through 16 weapons. Each of the new Close Quarters weapons makes an appearance in Gun Master, except the M5K. You start out battling it out with basic pistols, then you graduate to the shotguns and then onto the Assault Rifles and Light Machine Guns. You finish off with the Sniper rifles, the ever-so-difficult LVG grenade launcher that doesn’t detonate on impact and, finally, you complete this ladder by getting a knife kill. Beware though, getting knifed yourself while climbing the weapons ladder will demote you back down a level. Gun Master, to me, is a mode that every Battlefield player should play. Not only does it give you experience with each type of weapon, but it makes you adapt to it’s play style as well. Overall, this mode could make you a better Battlefield player. The last new game mode is Close Quarters TDM, which is the same thing as the old TDM mode, but limited to 16 total players, so nothing too exciting there.
Ziba Tower is one of the smallest Battlefield maps ever created. Located in the middle of Tehran, Iran, Ziba Tower is a beautiful looking map. There’s plenty of open staircases to enable you to get throughout the map and Ziba Tower preaches vertical gameplay more than any of the other maps included in this expansion. The platforms overlook a courtyard area, including a bar and a small indoor swimming pool. Falling off of the side of this map will net you a secret achievement, and personally speaking, Ziba Tower is one of my favorite maps out of all of the Battlefield maps to date. It caters to the role of close quarters combat extremely well.
Operation 925 is by far the biggest map in this expansion pack. Also located in Tehran, Iran, Operation 925 sports different levels of play, ranging from the bottom parking garage all the way up to the cafeteria which harbors an over-looking balcony. Gun Master on this map may take you a bit to complete because of how large this map is. If you’re looking for a fun Conquest Domination match then play here. There’s plenty of office and cubical space that exhibit how beautiful the HD destruction feature can be. Ripping apart an office building has never been so much fun.
Scrapmetal is a decent-sized map. Scrapmetal’s theme is an abandoned factory that features multiple levels, including rooftops and sky bridges that separate the flags in Conquest Domination. This map sports a pretty dull color pallet, but also shows off absolutely beautiful lighting. The sun rays shine through the windows in a beautiful way that makes you really appreciate what the Frostbite 2 engine is capable of. I’ve actually committed suicide on accident a few times by falling off the sky bridge, and I noticed there’s a train that passes underneath the C flag. Scrapmetal as a whole is a good map. It preaches vertical gameplay like Ziba Tower does with it’s different levels.
Donya Fortress is an old fortress that now looks like a modern palace. It has turns everywhere you look, which causes hectic and chaotic action between close quarters weapons. There’s not as much vertical gameplay here based from the games I’ve played. Players tend to stick to the outer hallway routes rather than cutting through the courtyard area. There is an underground area that harbors the B flag. When there is action here, you’re lucky to make it out alive based on how tightly compacted this area is. Seeing the HD destruction by blowing away the wooden railing found throughout this map is a thing of beauty. You got to see gameplay of this map from one of the gameplay videos that Battlefield teased on YouTube.
On to the weapons. I’ll start off with the two Assault class weapons, the AUG A3 and SCAR-L. The AUG A3 supports 700 rounds per minute (RPM). Firing this weapon you’ll notice the recoil is very easy to manage, and the reload speed of this weapon is similar to that of the AN-94, a base weapon. The SCAR-L is very similar to it’s SCAR-H counterpart in the Engineer class, boasting similar reload speeds, accuracy and recoil.
The Engineer class holds the best weapons in the entire expansion, one of them being the ACW-R. Everything about this gun is perfect. Very little weapon recoil, 850 RPM, a quick reload speed and an average magazine size of 27 makes this weapon extremely deadly. The MTAR-21 boasts a faster rounds per minute count at 900. You will need to be smart when using the MTAR-21 due to it’s fast RPM. The reload speed here is rather quick, like the ACW-R, but much better in close quarters combat.
The L86A2 is the big daddy version of Back To Karkand’s Assault kit version, the L85A2. Basically similar in attributes, the L86A2 sports a small mag size for the average Support class weapon, rocking 750 RPM as well as being more suited towards medium ranged combat. The LSAT is the more traditional Support weapon, holding a 100 bullet mag with a slow RPM of 650. This weapon is also better suited for medium ranged combat.
If you thought semi-auto Snipers were a pain in the butt before, wait until you play against someone with the M417. The M417 is essentially a battle rifle, hosting a large mag size for a sniper at 21, it can be deadly at any range. This to me, is by far the best semi-auto Sniper available in Battlefield 3, especially when you can control it’s crazy recoil when firing from the hip. The JNG-90 is a bolt action sniper with a smaller mag size at 11. This weapon is like most of the other bolt actions in the game and is better suited with the Straight Pull Bolt attachment for quicker aimed shooting.
The assignments needed to obtain these weapons are much easier to complete this time around in comparison to the Back To Karkand assignments. The hardest one you’ll have trouble with is the ‘My Own Terminator’ assignment that asks you to get a kill with an EOD bot, which isn’t even difficult to a lot of people. The rest can be completed by simply playing the game as it will come over time. Various goals for these assignments include 15 grenade kills, 10 knife takedowns, 10 C4 kills, 10 T-UGS assists and other objective-based goals.
4.5 / 5
Overall, if I had to grade the Close Quarters map pack, it would get an A from me, or a 4.5/5 rating. What’s stopping this expansion from getting the full A+ from me is Operation 925. Sure, the map is a lot of fun, but for a close quarters map, it’s way too big. Playing a Gun Master battle here will take you longer than 30 minutes in many cases. Outside of that small nitpick of mine, this expansion is a ton of fun and a huge welcome to the Battlefield frenzy. If you aren’t already a Premium subscriber, or you were on the fence about getting this expansion, don’t be so hesitant. As a whole, Close Quarters does what it’s sole purpose was intended to do: Pit you in crazy, frantic and explosive close quarters combat. I recommend that every single Battlefield player, regardless of your play style, try this expansion out for yourself.
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