When it comes to First Person Shooters, people generally sit in one camp or the other, with those camps being either Battlefield or Call of Duty. I however, am one of those other people, that play both, even if I do lean more towards Battlefield. In fact I had given up on Battlefield for a while, focussing on the two new map packs that Modern Warfare 3 had delivered, though Activision’s second map pack left me so uninspired that I went back to playing Skyrim for a while.
But then Battlefield 3’s Close Quarters map pack released and I eagerly jumped in. The pack has all the standard elements you’d expect, with four new maps, two new modes and some new weapons.
The maps are all obviously smaller than you’d expect from Battlefield and have absolutely no vehicles – it is called Close Quarters for a reason.
The four maps are as follows;
Donya Fortress is an Arabian palace, it has central white marble courtyard and pools, a small underground tunnel and plenty of hiding places. It looks good and is cleverly designed.
Ziba Tower is a modern office block, thin walls and glass makes for plenty of destruction an very little cover. The center of the map is a large open space, but the vertical nature of the gameplay makes it a very dangerous place to hangout.
Scrapmetal seems to be the most popular map, essentially a derelict factory complex with lots of multi-level walkways and a large open rooftop. You have to be constantly on the move and on the lookout to stay alive.
Operation 925 resembles Ziba Tower but expands on it with wide areas of combat and a dark underground car park.
The two game modes are Conquest Domination and Gun Master, with Conquest Domination essentially just domination on the smaller maps with a faster capture time and typically quicker turnover of control points as teams rush around the smaller map going from one to the next. Gun club is a little different and seems foreign to the typical team based gameplay that typifies Battlefield, where you start off with a hand gun and work you way through a predefined list of guns with each kill. In my opinion, people might try Gun Club for the novelty, but only a select few will keep playing it.
The new guns are suited for the close quarter gameplay, but it’s the new destructive environment that Battlefield have been talking up. Obviously there is no total destruction – you’re plying inside of buildings so the map would be obsolete if it fell down on you – but it’ll suffice to say that you’ll soon recognise what parts of the map have seen heavy fighting, compared to those where no one goes.
So how does it play? There will be the obvious comparisons to the Call of Duty series, but Close Quarters still manages to retain the soul of Battlefield 3, whilst adding a more intense gameplay and removal of vehicles. Team work is still essential, so you’ll want to be playing with a good squad, with the right mix of specialisations.
A few things you may notice when you first jump in, is how confusing the whole thing can be, especially as the destruction sets in and more short cuts appear. However, don’t be tempted to stand around to get your bearings, because the smaller maps seem ripe for getting your throat slit numerous times.
Close Quarters is a strong map pack and will provide plenty of reply value, but it’s value will be of limited value to people who like to spend their time flying Jets or Helicopters, but it’s okay, because you’ll be able to recognise the air jockeys – they will be the ones sitting in the corner rocking back and forth.