The third most annoying part about Battlefield 3â€™s Back to Karkand map pack is that it downloads automatically, whether you want to buy it or not. At 2GB, thatâ€™s not insignificant to a lot of people in New Zealand. Thanks EA, we appreciate it.
The second most annoying part is that it costs 1200 Microsoft Points. For four maps and a semi-new game mode, that feels like a rip-off. Sure, itâ€™s standard now amongst the topmost shooters, but that doesnâ€™t mean I have to like it.
The most annoying part about this map pack? Itâ€™s good, to the point where many of you will justifiably forget about the points above and grab it. If youâ€™re a Battlefield fan from way back, youâ€™re going to get all nostalgic about whatâ€™s on offer here, and for good reason.
Iâ€™m very thankful I didnâ€™t have to review the main Battlefield 3 game. By all accounts, the single player campaign was dreadfully mediocre, and for me itâ€™s always been about the excellent multiplayer. This continues to be shown off to good effect with these â€śnewâ€ť maps. I say â€śnewâ€ť because all of these maps have been lifted from Battlefield 2, given a lick of paint, and shoved headfirst into the Frostbite 2 engine. Theyâ€™ve come out the other side feeling invigorated and much more dynamic, thanks in part to all the wonderfully destructive terrain now available to blow up.
The star of the show is definitely Strike at Karkand â€” itâ€™s probably one of the best FPS multiplayer maps ever, although people might disagree with me there. It remains tight as ever, and being able to turn buildings into rubble adds a welcome twist. Gulf of Oman benefits similarly from destructable buildings, but in a slightly disappointing move, the new Wake Island has been shrunk in size. Sure, itâ€™s tighter, but Battlefield 2 fans may not appreciate the change.
Four new vehicles are available, although only one is new and is somewhat useless, if fun: the skip loader might not be fast or have weapons, but at least it can run people over. The other three are remodeled fighter jets, APCs and buggys from Battlefield 2. Ten new weapons are also included, although again using the word â€śnewâ€ť here is a stretch: theyâ€™re basically slightly tweaked versions of existing load-outs, and only the most hardcore will take much notice.
And thatâ€™s it: four great maps and a bunch of tweaked weapons and vehicles, all for the annoying price of about NZ $30. Casual fans might want to wait until this thing sees a price drop, but if youâ€™re heavily invested in your Battlefield 3 multiplayer then youâ€™ll get a lot out of these new maps.