EA hasn’t been too subtle about its obsession with Call of Duty, and now, it’s even taken a page out of Activision’s book by offering Battlefield players Premium content for Battlefield 3. For Rs 2,700, players can buy Battlefield 3 Premium, a service that will grant them in-game playable items, map packs and certain perks.
If you’re still quite serious about Battlefield 3, you’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for all its multiplayer map packs, and with Premium, you’re essentially paying for all of them up front. Besides the map packs, you’ll be given a few new weapons (that you can only unlock by completing assignments), videos from DICE employees to improve your game, and prioritized queue preference when it comes to joining servers. Newcomers or people at lower levels will also be able to level up faster with Double XP events exclusive to Premium members.
Close Quarters is the latest map pack that’s part of Battlefield 3 Premium, but at the same time, it can be purchased separately off Origin for Rs 600. Yes, it does play quite like a Call of Duty game, but that doesn’t mean you should simply dismiss it as a Call of Duty clone. In fact, with the absence of vehicles and the addition of wanton HD destruction, Close Quarters brings about a certain sense of chaos and catharsis that was promised with Battlefield 3.
Every level starts off looking real pretty, but within minutes, it gets ravaged by bullets and explosions. Furniture gets trashed, walls are reduced to rubble and grenades shake the very foundation you stand on. It’s not quite as intense as a Red Faction Guerilla, but it’s definitely impressive. Unfortunately it’s also a bit of a resource hog, and during larger games with more than 32 players (I’m talking about the PC version here), the frame rates tend to dip a bit.
When you get down to it, the four maps offered in Close Quarters are pretty nice. You have Ziba Tower, Donya Fortress, Operation 925 and Scrapmetal and all these maps feature a certain sense of verticality you’ve not seen a lot of in Battlefield 3. Of course, none of them are as big as older Battlefield 3 maps, so by default, you’ll have a lot of lone wolves running around the place. I know that’s a thought that makes most Battlefield players cringe, but that’s the cold hard fact you’ll just have to deal with.
Still, if you manage to squad up with some friends, Close Quarters can ruffle up a pretty intense experience. A lot of it has to do with the HD destruction DICE has been pimping since the promos first started, but a huge part of it comes from the tightly structured maps, where death is quite literally around every corner. The first few times I played either of the maps, I don’t think I had a life span that lasted more than 5 seconds. The more I played, the more I learnt its layout and the longer I survived.
Close Quarters also introduces two new game modes – Conquest Domination and Gun Master. Gun Master is similar to Gun Game from Call of Duty: Black Ops. I know most people will crucify me for not mentioning the fact that this mode was initially from Counter-Strike, but to be honest, I never really played this in CS. So like Gun Game from Black Ops (you probably want to stab me now right?), Gun Master in Battlefield 3 spawns every player with a rather weak weapon (in this case it’s a pistol). Net two kills and you’ll progress to the next tier of more powerful weaponry with the goal being to eventually reach Tier 17. And that’s the level where you have to gain a kill with a knife…while everyone’s running around with shotguns, assault rifles and grenade launchers.
To be honest, Gun Master was not all that entertaining simply because of the crappy weapons cycled at most tiers. Plus, even coming in second counts as a loss, and for hardcore players, that can blemish their win/loss ratio real fast. Conquest Domination is a mode that I found more up my alley, especially when I played with friends or had a cooperative squad. Conquest Domination is similar to the Conquest mode you’ve seen in most Battlefield games, only it takes far less time to capture flags. This really drives home the fast paced nature of this new map pack.
Close Quarters also introduces ten new weapons, one of which – the SPAS-12 – is already banned in many servers since it’s so freaking overpowered. Combine it with a tactical light and Flechette rounds and you’ll soon become an unstoppable force. Besides the SPAS-12, I also enjoyed most of the new arsenal that consists of new assault rifles, carbines, sniper rifles and light machine guns (LMGs).
At first glance, most players are sure to dismiss Close Quarters as DICE’s way of tapping into the Call of Duty crowd. And while that may be true, I strongly suggest you try this map pack out as it does offer players a different side of the Battlefield universe. Also, since most matches tend to get over real quick, Close Quarters is a good fix for players who don’t have hours to invest in lengthy Battlefield brawls. However, if infantry combat is just not your thing and you can’t fathom the concept of Battlefield without vehicles, this map pack is definitely not for you.