Battlefield 3's second DLC. Close-Quarters, dropped a few days ago, though only to members of Battlefield 3 Premium, EA's counter to Call of Duty Elite. At $50.00 (if you want to spend $50), you get all BF3 DLCs two weeks early and a little bit cheaper than it would cost to buy them separately. Oh, and you get to show off with a special look at me I bought premium knife when you shank people as well as 5 new challenges that give you some pretty cool looking dog tags.
I for one have only been killed by premium players in the past 7 games out of the last 7 games I played on the PC, so I'm blaming everything on them now. We're supposed to be getting 4 new maps with each new BF3 DLS, as well as 10 new weapons with associated challenge. In Back to Karkand the same thing was offered, but it was overlooked by a lot of people (including me) because I thought it just came with the game. The new weapons that you can earn in Close Quarters are not only suited for the expansion but are also quite nifty when brought back to the other maps "elsewhere" in the game.
The SPAS 12, for example, is initially quite good in close-quarter scenarios (not surprising). However, upgrading it can allow it to perform well in longer ranges. Other guns like the M5K are obviously still meant solely for up-close encounters and won't be good at any real range except in the hands of those few mutant players who can do the things that really piss my dad off (like eject from one jet, snipe the pilot of the jet on his tail and then jump into that jet's cockpit: true story). Some weapons intended for the individual classes can change the play style quite a bit. An example of this is how the L86A2 has a smaller magazine but greater emphasis on accuracy; the M417 for recon brings in a fast semi-automatic rifle perfect for close quarter combat, while the next recon unlock is a powerful bolt action sniper that can rival your other long range rifles.
I'm going to cover some of the maps, but bear with me. I've only played these a few times on PC at my buddy's house, so these descriptions are distilled from what my friends have told me, my limited experience and what's on the game wiki. Once I have had time to thoroughly play all of them, preferably humiliating my uncles in the process, I'll give you a full review. Scrapmetaltakes place in a run down refinery, with an emphasis on vertical combat floor to floor. It is set inside and on the rooftops of a beat up abandoned factory. The map has a bunch of stories, odd levels and skybridges that separate the flags. It is only playable in the game modes Conquest Domination, Gun Master, Squad Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch Close Quarters. Keeping your eyes above and below is imperative for survival, which is hard sometimes if you're used to playing two-dimensionally at a more street level. Don't forget to check your corners and if you're working with others you might have someone dedicated to covering up.
Operation 925 takes place in an office building that looks like it was being renovated or something before getting caught in the middle of US and RU forces. The map has just three floors, but one of them is an underground car parking garage (which is cool, though it would be cool if there was some way we could race the vehicles like in the movie Death Race). Compared to the other maps in the expansion, this setting has very few stairways or other vertical battlespace, effectively confining each floor as a separate zone of combat. There's a lot of emphasis here on environmental destruction, which can be fun. Nothing wrong with blasting cubicles, destroying the cars in the underground lot and machine-gunning the toilets in the bathrooms. You have to stay on your toes in this map because combat can be both CQC and then suddenly long ranged, depending on where you are located (and you might blunder from one into the other without expecting to).
Ziba Tower takes the close quarters part of CQB/CQC to heart, as it is the smallest map of the bunch. Set on top of a high rise suite, there are very little places to run and a lot of places to get killed from. The map is among the smallest ever made for a Battlefield game, but makes up for it with its emphasis on vertical combat. This leaves it up to you to be a creative fighter, whether it be blasting your way through the window over the roof or literally shredding the wall between you and your enemy. Too bad there's no way to do Aussie rappells. This map is intense and lethal.
Donya Fortress is a blend of styles, half of it taking place in a refurbished castle that's been made into a luxury palace, and the other half being the older part that lies underneath. This map combines a lot of different threat styles with its squared courtyard dead center in the fort, and at least two separate entrances the majority of the rooms (some campers may not like it). You'll need to learn the map until you movie intuitively since it can be confusing. "This old fort has now turned modern palace, and its strategic placement is undeniable. Donya Fortress is said to be used both as arms storage and training grounds."
I guess I'll let you guys know about what I think of the maps when I actually get the maps and play them more completely myself. That'll be a little while yet, unless I give in to the icy grip of The Evil Awful Imperial Corporation regime and go ahead and buy Premium. Ohhh, wait, I mean EA. I suppose I shouldn't complain about EA, they're a business and need to make money...but all that business with Indie games and Steam still chaps me so I'll complain anyway. I do love the game. I'm out. Later. Spawn of Shooter.
(By the way, thanks to my friend Stale_Meat for his help with the article. Couldn't have done it without you T.)
Spawn of Shooter is a military dependent and a gamer. His great-grandfathers, grandfathers, dad, uncles and the other arguably suitable role models in his life present a wide mix of military (some now LE) personnel from all four branches. These include a grunt CSM, a gunner’s mate, a retired Gunny from JSOTF-P, one green-side corpsman, a couple of MSGTs, a STA Marine, one FO, a couple MPs…you get the point. He likes first person shooters, gets his dork on in WoW and Skyrim and can competently shoot basic qual courses with a shotgun (20ga. not 12, yet) and pistol (still working on the rifle). He understands the advantages and disadvantages of living in the fishbowl that is base housing, loves Anthony’s Pizza and thinks the brassards on the base Courtesy Patrols are kinda jumping the shark. He's on Facebook at Spawn of Shooter.