Battlefield 3: End Game DLC Review – Battlefield 3′s Last “Hooah” Is Its Best One Yet

End Game is exactly what Battlefield 3 needed.

As Battlefield 3′s fifth and final expansion, End Game fills in the empty spaces with the more-than-welcomed addition of two classic Battlefield game modes, a round of four gorgeous Frostbite 2-powered maps, and a number of new ways to play the game with a set of new vehicles.

Capture the Flag and Air Superiority instinctively fit right in with Battlefield 3′s now impressive roster of game modes, while vehicles like the new motor-bike and AA jeeps prove to be a natural extension of the vehicular warfare that Battlefield 3 already does so well. Lastly, each new map stands out on its own while providing that true classic battlefield experience.

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First, let’s briefly cover exactly what you get for the $14.99 USD price tag, or free if you’ve already dropped some cash for a Battlefield 3 Premium membership. As per previous DLC before it, Battlefield 3: End Game comes packed with four new maps, each based on a different season: Kiasar Railroad (Spring), Nebandan Flats (Summer), Operation Riverside (Fall), and Sabalan Pipeline (Winter). What’s nice about the seasonal theme is that each map carries with it a completely different look and feeling. End Game doesn’t suffer from the lack of diversity that the Aftermath Expansion did only a few months ago. The maps look great too. Kiasar Railroad captures the same natural beauty that Alborz Mountain did from the Armored Kill Expansion, while Operation Riverside shows off a gorgeous fall setting surrounded by rolling hills and snow-covered peaks.

End Game’s maps are built to accomodate a number of new vehicles as well. The new motor-bike requires tons of space and, of course, things to jump off of. Luckily, each map allows plenty of room to race around and gives you plenty of opportunities to catch some air as well. The addition of the motor-bike definitely feels like something Battlefield 3 has been missing its entire lifetime. It fits right in with the gameplay and is a ton of fun to ride. A motor-bike can accomodate up to two players: one driver and one gunner on the back. It’s quick and nimble and can slide around corners or perform wheelies for an extra boost of speed. We’ve already seen some crazy videos like this one showing off some of the insane stunts you can pull off with the motor-bike, and we’re looking forward to more.

New anti-air jeeps have been introduced to the mix as well, one for each faction, giving players a more mobile AA solution to the threats from above. Since all of the maps include at least one scout chopper for each side (plus attack choppers and jets in Conquest) there’s usually a lot going on in the air, so it’s nice to have the extra bit of defensive power on the ground. Sadly, the AA jeeps don’t seem all that effective. It can be hard to make good use of them, especially since they aren’t very heavily armored. They are best used in teams – one in the driver’s seat and one manning the cannons.

Like Armored Kill introduced the AC130 Gunship, End Game introduces the Dropship. Only available in Conquest, the Dropship gives the owning team a chance to call in additional infantry fighting vehicles and provides additional paradrop points when spawning into the Battlefield. It’s a subtle bonus that isn’t overly effective, as some would argue the AC130 Gunship was in Armored Kill.

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Regarding the maps, in terms of visuals and size, as well as vehicles, it seems that lessons have been learned from previous expansions like Armored Kill and Aftermath, making End Game’s content some of the best Digital Illusions CE has had to offer yet.

That’s not all, however. Let’s not forget about some of the classic game modes returning to the Battlefield like Capture the Flag and Air Superiority, as well as some of the additional persistance which you can check out in detail here. (Learn how to unlock the M1911 S-Tac!)

Capture the Flag

At long last, Capture the Flag returns from Battlefield: 1942. At default settings, CTF requires you to race to the enemy flag, take possession of it, and bring it back to home base by any means necessary three times before the enemy does. If both teams are stacked pretty evenly and no one can manage the full three points for a win, a built-in timer counts down to the end of the match, either ending it in a tie or giving the win to the team with the most flag captures. Should you down an enemy who’s taken your team’s flag, you must stay within its vicinity in order to retrieve it. Like in Conquest, the more soldiers in the flag’s vicinity, the quicker it will return. Your flag must be at your home base in order to successfully capture the enemy’s.

Because distances between each flag on all four maps are substantially greater than in most other iterations of the same game mode in other shooters, Battlefield 3′s distinct vehicle-based gameplay really comes into play here. It’s also why the game mode just feels like it belongs. With the numerous sandbox elements granted to each player, there are a ton of different ways to accomplish your goal. Each class of vehicle plays a different role and it’s up to you to decide how to best utilize that role. Currently, the most popular method seems to be by way of the motor-bike, using tanks and aerial vehicles to stop pursuers in their tracks and clearing a path for the flag runner.

Motor-bikes tend to play a larger role in CTF than in any of the other games modes, understandably. CTF is all about speed and precision. What better way to strike at the heart of your enemy than with two soldiers on a motor-bike? In modes like Conquest or Rush, bikes serve primarily as a method of quick transportation, albeit an extremely fun method of quick transportation.

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Air Superiority

Air Superiority, a game mode returning from Battlefield 1943, is a lot more fun than I had originally anticipated, and much more enjoyable than Tank Superiority, its tank-based counterpart, introduced in Armored Kill. When you have two teams of 12 players, each of whom get their very own jet, that’s a lot of dog fighting going on at one time and it can get hectic, in a good way. Though, that isn’t to say the fun will last forever. Capturing bases, fending off heat seekers, and gunning down your opponents can only go so far. Eventually, it gets old, as there really isn’t a whole lot else to do. Despite this, the game mode still does have its very important place in Battlefield 3.

The true beauty of Air Superiority lies in the fact that it gives those normally too frightened to fly jets in other game modes a chance to fool around, get more accustomed to flying, and unlock some stuff without the worry of upsetting others by wasting a perfectly good ride. What’s better yet is that anyone can earn points by capturing bases, which means you’ll unlock items much faster than in modes like Conquest. A few good rounds of Air Superiority should get any rookie pilot up and running with a decent amount of confidence in a short amount of time.

It’s too bad it only took DICE until now to introduce the mode, but better late than never.

It’s noteworthy that pilots can no longer eject themselves from their cockpits, meaning you get the kills you deserve. It would have been nice if a few more obstacles were thrown into the mix as well. Nebandan Flats features rows of wind turbines that you can use to dodge your enemy, but none of the other maps provide any sort of interactivity the same way Coral Sea did in 1943. Something as simple as a large mountain range would have sufficed.

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In closing, Air Superiority is a fantastic and essential addition to Battlefield 3, but one that could have used some extra spice in order to retain a greater amount of interest.

Conquest and Rush

Conquest and Rush on End Game’s maps play out very similar to maps like Caspian Border and Operation Firestorm from the original game. It’s clear that DICE had these two maps in mind when building End Game’s maps, and that’s not a bad thing. They are big, but not too big. They include just the right amount of space to allow for some seriously epic vehicular-combat, but they keep the action constant so that you’re not always looking for your next fight. Where Armored Kill was a bit of a bore on consoles, End Game gets it just right.

Even if some Conquest flag layouts might seem a little big on a couple of the maps, DICE gives you more than enough tools necessary to deal with it. There’s usually a motor-bike at nearly all bases ready to swiftly carry you to your next objective. It makes each map feel smaller, despite their actual size. Similar to Armored Kill, however, End Game does give a bit of direction and purpose to the 5-flag Conquest layout by granting the new Dropship aerial vehicle to any team that captures and controls the central flag. The Dropship, which can be taken out by other vehicles, both aerial and anti-air, plots its own course along the map and allows players to either paradrop from it, or access an additional IFV (up to two on PC) which also paradrops to the ground in its own neat little sequence.

Rush is a blast to play on End Game’s maps. Nebandan Flats and Kiasar Railroad are fairly open and feature tons of space in between each set of MCOM stations in order to give plenty of room for tank vs. tank, chopper vs. chopper, or tanks vs. chopper action. This time around, however, you can say goodbye to the pesky Gunship that plagued Rush in Armored Kill. Despite the lack of the Gunship, there’s still a lot of room for aerial combat on each Rush map thanks to the inclusion of the scout choppers. Operation Riverside is particularly fun as a Rush map, reminding me a lot of Isla Inocentes from Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Obviously, the Fall setting is quite similar, but I really enjoy rushing up over the hills and through some of the winding routes between the cliffs and trees, as well as the opportunity for some long range sniper and counter-sniper action. Sabalan Pipeline plays similar in that infantry has more opportunity to stay covered amongst the bushes.

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Generally, both Conquest and Rush feel similar to Armored Kill, but refined in order to reflect tried and true maps like Caspian Border, Operation Firestorm or Kharg Island. Once again, DICE has done away with or improved upon elements that didn’t work out so well in DLC like Armored Kill. What’s left is a handful of amazing Conquest and Rush maps that also work well with modes like Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch.

Team Deathmatch

Oddly, I found Team Deathmatch to be a particularly attractive choice of game mode on these new maps. DICE has obviously taken what’s made locations like Noshahr Canals TDM and Kargh Island TDM so popular and incorporated it into these new maps. If I had to describe what makes them so successful in one word, it would be ‘crates,’ lots and lots of ‘crates.’ It might seem a lazy choice to simply leave a bunch of crates lying around and call it a good TDM map, but man, does it ever work. Kiasar Railroad might as well be the new Noshahr Canals. It plays exactly the same, but with a fresh backdrop of lush, green pine trees. What keeps me from absolutely loving the TDM version of the other three maps is their focus on ground vs. roof fighting. Call it a personal grudge against roofs, but I hate them. I find them more of an annoyance than something that one must be tactically aware of. There’s nothing worse than getting into a good flow of infantry fighting on the ground, only be be stopped dead cold by a soldier on the roof looking for easy pickings. I find it a waste of time fighting for good positioning on a roof, so you won’t see me going up there, unless I’m going for the grudge kill, which happens often.

But, generally, I’d easily add these maps to my list of favorite TDM maps. They’re fast, furious, and overflowing with action thanks to some tight spaces and their chaotic layouts.

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5 / 5

In my books, Battlefield 3: End Game goes right up there with Back to Karkand and Aftermath as some of the best Battlefield 3 DLC (if not some of the best DLC for a first-person shooter, period), and serves as a more than proper close to a year and a half of Battlefield 3. DICE went back to Battlefield 3′s roots to conjure up some of the best maps yet that work well on literally all game types while bringing back some of the Battlefield series’ most classic game modes, and throwing in some of the most enjoyable vehicles to date.

If Battlefield 3′s post-launch support is any indication of what we can expect from the months following Battlefield 4‘s release, we’re in for another fantastic era of Battlefield.

Let us know in the comments below what you think of Battlefield 3′s last “hooah.” You can also vote on the right-hand side of the page to let us know how you rate Battlefield 3: End Game.

  • Thatbeastlytaco

    Battlefield 3 will be missed :( But I am really excited for BF4 even if it does turn out to BF 3.5. (Which wouldn’t be to bad.)

    • JustinD

      If they get rid of random spread and make ballistics bullet specific and not class specific I will be happy

      • MegaMan3k

        And make suppression skill based rather than arbitrary.

        • WarHero

          Don’t forget destruction..I praised B2K because of this. I like blowing ***t up like in BC2 :)

          • http://www.facebook.com/datkidfromawendaw Clay Johnson

            Yes and not only was destruction plentiful but it always looked beautiful as well seeing all the debris on the ground.. I don’t think destruction will be an issue. More RAM for plenty of that + high player count on console…people will be happy but I won’t build the game in my mind as that jus opens you up for sheer disappointment even if the game is considered “good”

    • MrLadyfingers

      Don’t think of it like that. Think of BF3 as a 1.5 yr long beta test for BF4. Hopefully most of our problems will be fixed now (:

  • JacobKim12

    I feel like a lot of thought went into these maps, not too big but not too small. Each gametype works surprisingly well and CTF can be pretty intense. Dirt bikes feel a bit stiff but is still fun to drive around. Overall, a great expansion. Nice one David!

    • Jason

      “Yawn. Call me when they make the game competitive”? AND THEN YOU POST THIS? Y U NO MAKE SENSE!!! Just pickin on ya

      • jacobkim12

        Huh???

      • Niosus

        They are not the same person ;)

  • Matchmaking n teamwork

    Yawn. Call me when they make the game competitive

    • competitiveBF

      I agree. There is nothing to play for if you are a competitive player. No lan events, nothing…

      • JustinD

        Join a clan

        • competitiveBF

          That isn’t the solution. The game is not played on a professional level and joining a clan would not change it. I think BF is missing that competitive feel. Simple clan wars just don’t cut it.

          • Oblivion_Lost667

            100% agree, the game’s not built competitively at all, lack of spectator mode, the terribad net code, and the point that suppression throws an element of luck into every gun fight. They could do suppression differently and still maintain the feel that you shouldn’t rush out in front of bullets, (Instead of making bullets NEVER hit where your scope or reticle is aiming when suppressed, just make it so your aim wiggles more or you have more recoil, but you hit where you aim is a good example of this. Honestly, making BF4 competitive, polishing/optimizing a bit more, adding more gun customization (GR:FS Gunsmith style would be nice, different gas systems, stocks, triggers, and more options, multiple grips with slightly different stats for example, would be cool.) and maybe throwing in 1-2 BC2-esque maps would make BF4 completely worth the new price tag.

  • Dead Sync

    I agree with this review wholeheartedly, I would even say it surpasses AM, making it probably just under B2K due to new weapons and nostalgia. It’s the first time ever in BF3, even with the core maps, where I’ve felt each map works great on ALL modes, and doesnt seem designed only with one mode in mind.

    As always, great, accurate review with all of the BF3 content and coverage. Let’s indeed hope that the next generation of BF is even better! 64 players on consoles anyone?

    • Jason

      NOW I GOT TIME FO DAT!

      • http://www.facebook.com/ThaFallen5oulja Alex Melendez

        I GoT Bruncaitus

        • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.medric Timothy David Medric

          Lord Jesus, there’s a fire!

          • TriguyRN

            I went to go get a cold pop

  • Jason

    I actually enjoy it allot! I play on Xbox so the maps fit consoles better than Armored kill, What do you PC players think?

    • seko us

      Most PC servers play with 24-32 players, so it is not much different. Maps are too small for 64 players anyway, but some are ok for 64 conquest.

      • Jason

        Oh, I was thinking PC was 32-64 and 16 on CQ for some reason, I did not know they had a 24 player option? I would imagine 32 would be better

        • Oblivion_Lost667

          PC can have pretty much any player count for any game mode. Hell, you can go up to 64 in Conquest Domination if you REALLY want to. (It’s kinda ridiculous, but the option’s there.)

          • http://www.facebook.com/timothy.medric Timothy David Medric

            Spawn, fire 1 sniper rifel round, get 7 kills, die. Repeat.

  • Wade R

    I wish I could play on a server with less than 50 ping, but that has more to do with my situation IRL than anything else.

  • JustinD

    Already got my S-Tac and drop shipping the IFV is one of the coolest things in the game

  • jvitormed

    That was for sure an awesome DLC but WHERE ARE MY DINOSSAURS?

  • hey

    Ctf is shit. I can literally, LITERALLY sit my IFV right behind their tanks, ifv’s and chopper and kill them right as they spawn.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Gannoncbecker Gannon Becker

    They are amazing maps. I just don’t play BF3 as much as I used to though. The problem for me isn’t boredom with maps. It’s boredom with the game.

    I have nothing left to do in it. Ranking up from Colonel 8 to Colonel 9 doesn’t do much for me. It’s just a number. I hope in BF4 there will at least be a LITTLE something left for me to work towards in the Colonel ranks.

    • The Army Ranger

      Yeah, there should be more rank rewards in BF4.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Gannoncbecker Gannon Becker

        Yeah, Idk. I don’t wan’t it to be more like CoD with “perks”..But maybe if after every 5 Colonel ranks or so you can very slightly improve a specialization or something. Just an idea off the top of the head.

        Pretty much I just need ANYTHING, even if its very subtle, to work towards. Once I have to start making shit up to work towards, like a specific K/D ratio or like a useless gun camo…Thats when the game gets boring to me.

  • http://twitter.com/TechS3ek Aria

    Superb review David! Thank you very much.

  • http://twitter.com/gangstaaaron7 Aaron Williams

    I must be missing something? I hate the DLC . Least amount of work. It’s just AK 2.0. But with somehow less buildings. Just open field vehicle BS

  • The Army Ranger

    “Sadly, the AA jeeps don’t seem all that effective.”

    Whoa there. Have you tried destroying a Main Battle Tank with an AA jeep? I’ve done it, and you can use all 4 rockets on the back of an MBT (without Reactive Armor) to take one out quickly. It’s crazy, and it ruins the true purpose of the jeep, but it gives the jeep a fall back option if it’s having a hard time with Air Vehicles.

    • http://mp1st.com/ David Veselka

      Yeah, that makes sense. My issue was strictly with AA Jeeps vs. Air Vehicles. It could very well be because most pilots I come up against are just too good, but I have a real hard time taking them out with heat seekers. Visibility and range seem to be two factors I can’t overcome. My other issue is that I am taken out by other tanks way too quickly – before I can get any real work done. Personally, I feel like they’re too situational to be of real use, but that could just be me and my play style.

      • AL_GR33N_

        I’ve found that a jeep which pushes up the map very quickly becomes a burning wreck. By comparison, a jeep which stays back, preferably on an elevated perch (with a direct line of sight to your own flag) can use it’s zoom optics and dumbfire rockets to great effect. Until of course one of the blueberries on your team jumps in and drives off. Under no circumstances should the AA find itself in an enclosed area. The lack of guns makes you incredibly vulnerable to infantry.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ryan-Schulze/1505305164 Ryan Schulze

        I’ve had consistent success with the AA jeeps vs helis. Lock-on and insta-fire one rocket, wait a beat, hit a second, and wham…at least one of them gets its target. But like the sweet sounds of Al Green…always keep the jeep away from the battle. Distance is your friend. Plus, I wait until the helicopter is engaged in some other fight so their focus isn’t completely on figuring out my timing and using their flares.

        • AL_GR33N_

          That last point of yours is key. Wait till the enemy chopper is occupied with something else. If you initiate a 1v1 in the jeep, you’ll probably lose. Vehicle dynamic is tank > scout > AA jeep > tank. And attack chopper > everything :)

  • asgaro

    Overall, it’s nice DLC, but the CTF game mode is so flawed it certainly doesn’t deserve a 5/5 in my book.

  • ctf major problem

    Capture the flag is fun but letting the enemy get to your vehicles not to mention Getting all the way behind your spawn point is stupid and should be fixed pronto. It is being abused badly now. Hell I seen one guy just sitting back with the tank spawn killing not even trying for the flag. That should not happen period

  • http://twitter.com/swipe_06 swipe_06

    I think this DLC is also a little glimpse of the future. Specifically time limit and jet spawn in air. No stealing jets and no more ticket dependent, 2 hour games.

  • Arnold165

    BF3 was a great game. Best FPS I’ve ever played. I like it wayyy more than Call of Duty. Man, I can’t wait for BF4 reveal!

  • T-51B

    Why is it the last hooah and not the last hoorah? I mean BF3 is about Marines right?

    • http://mp1st.com/ David Veselka

      I went with what it says on the Battlelog for continuity sake, that’s all!

    • devildog

      thank you! finally, someone else who noticed that lol. leave it up to the swedes to use the wrong expression in a marines-centered game…

      • T-51B

        I’m in the Army… LOL, please don’t tell me these people are ignorant of something so well known… If you played MW2 I think the rangers their say Hooah accurately … and the Marines of Cod 4 say Hoorah like in Jarhead or whatever

        • devildog

          i guess the swedes just get confused? lol

  • nightwing2097

    i appear to be in the minority here, i just don’t like this DLC. i just feel its underwhelming for what they pushed about it, i expected more and was disappointed, maybe thats me being burnt out on BF3 at the moment, like a comment below, theres nothing to work for anymore. everyone has everything they need for their playstyle, i don’t need stars or ranks to tell me if i’m good or not, its nothing interesting to me, i can have fun while sucking as much as i can when i’m going hard.

    but this DLC like the AK one are just underwhelming for me. B2K, AM and CQ are fantastic in what they brought to the game. especially AM, CQ looks and plays like a middle finger to COD with how it should be done, and it works. AM is just fun all modes are fun on those maps. but this one doesn’t float my boat, but i’m not a vehicle guy, so naturally the vehicle centric DLCs aren’t my cup of tea.

  • byebyedice

    all in alll. battlefield was my favorite series for about 8 years now… never again. i wasted 110+$ on this game and this is what i got…a pile of lies and half a game(BF4 WILL be what bf3 was supposed to be IMO we were just year long beta testers) :( so sad this great series has CODitised

  • http://twitter.com/hutchesgreatest Cillian Greene

    Great review guys- really in depth.

    And now I guess we are getting back into the season of getting teased by trailers and waiting. BF4 , Saints row IV and GTA V all this year, I can’t wait!

  • http://www.facebook.com/datkidfromawendaw Clay Johnson

    Well I guess Android users can finally give up on the app we were promised after a year and some months…of well maybe with BF4, End Game is incredible though!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000473322091 Jeroen Jacobs

    Aftermath was way better sorry

  • http://www.facebook.com/mohammad.nassir.92 Mohammad Nassir

    it deserve 10/10

  • blondbassist

    I don’t agree with the rating honestly, even though I wish I enjoyed EG enough to give it 5 stars myself.

    It feels more like a patched Armored kill.

    CTF brings something new to battlefield but I don’t think it was well implemented by
    DICE (surprise surprise).

    Overall it’s one of the better expansions, I rank it 3rd on my list of expacks along with aftermath in second and B2K in first, followed by Close quarters then armored fail.

  • http://www.facebook.com/indrajit.mungi Indrajit Mungi

    Just stop saying “some of the best” in reviews ……it is the best at everything and there is absolutely nothing in competition with it…

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