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Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand – Review

Published By: Electronic Arts, Developed By: EA DICE, Genre: Modern Military Shooter, Release Date: Dec 6, 2011 (Playstation 3), Rating: M, Platforms: PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360. Price: $14.99

Presentation – I sorta fell into getting Back to Karkand by luck. During a Best Buy Black Friday deal i was able to snag the Limited Edition of Battlefield 3 (PS3) for around $33.00 which included Back to Karkand for free. So what exactly do you get when you purchase Back to Karkand for $15.00? You get 4 of the most popular maps from the Battlefield series. Since my experience of Battlefield before Battlefield 3 was playing a demo of Battlefield 2 on my PC. I also watched my cousin play alote of Battlefield 2 but thats it as far as knowing Battlefield pror. I did not know anything about the maps packaged in Back to Karkand until i throughly played through each of them on Rush and Conquest via battlefield 3.

You get 10 iconic Battlefield 2 weapons in Back to Karkand. Again i have no idea what these weapons are. Since i bought Battlefield 3 on Black Friday i’m not ranked very high to begin with. I’m thinking you have to unlock the iconic weapons at a high rank. 8 new personal customization camos are unlockable. I actually unlocked one of the new camo sets playing Back to Karkand last night. 3 new vehicles. The only new vehicles i noticed in Back to Karkand (so far) are dune buggies and those tiny two seater mail delivery vehicles. The latter reminds me of the those small two man vehicles from Battlefield: Vietnam Expansion Pack.

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5 new achievements/trophies are available when you purchase Back to Karkand. Ten new custom dogtags are available. Unrelating to this article while playing on Strike at Kirkand i actually saw on a killcam somebody taking the dogtags off the person as they knifed them. Thought that was cool and never seen that animation before. Back to the review. New “Assignments” are available. I’ll tell you my progress with these so keep reading. The presentation for Battlefield 3: Back to Kirkand is good. I would tell you its the maps that give Back to Kirkand its soul or money’s worth. The other add-ons do not justify $15. I think this expansion pack should be $10 to be frank. If you go back 10 years it would’ve been free. Times change though.

Servers Browser - Keep in mind this review details the Playstation 3 version only. The Server Brower menu houses EA specific servers for matches regarding Back to Kirkand maps and gamemodes. I love the fact that i can specifically target maps and gamemodes for Back to Kirkand without worring about being transported to any other map or gamemode that is not Back to Karkand. Each server room gives you pertinent information regarding details about each room specifically like region, ping, players, mode, server type etc. It looks like a PC multiplayer lobby. Every server in the Servers Browser are owned by EA. The ease and use for finding matches for Back to Karkand are extremely easy. The servers performed really good for the most part. I did get disconnected a few times however. It was the first day and EA just needs to work out the kinks regarding performance issues.

Assignments – Assignments are just that, assignments you perform in-game. I’m not sure what completing these will net the player (i’m sure you get something). Assignments’s progress comes in the form of a bar being filled. You can see the bars and names of each Assignments after matches during the unlocks. I’m making good progress on “Fixing It” assignment which has to do with repairing vehicles on my team as a Engineer. Other Assignments include Familiar Territory, Best Friend Forever, Let it Rain and Spec-Ops. There are 12 Assignments to make progress in but those above are the ones i noticed while playing. Many Assignments are class specific obviously and will take sometime to unlock.

Guns – The guns are suppose be favorites from Battlefield 2. I can’t comment on any of the new guns relating to Back to Karkand at this time.

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Vehicles – There are 3 new vehicles for the expansion. I drove the dune buggies on Gulf of Oman and they move fast and get massive air. They have guns on top for teammates to operate. I also saw small two man vehicles on Wake Island (i don’t know what they are called). If you played Vietnam expansion and seen those really small two man vehicles they look like those. There is a another vehicle added but at this time i can’t tell you exactly what that is. Its hard to tell when you see 20 or 30 different vehicles on ground in the sea and air to determine which is which when your being shot at.

Maps

If there is one reason why i believe you should buy Back to Karkand its for these four reasons: Strike at Karkand, Gulf of Oman, Wake Island and Sharqi Penninsula. The four maps in this game are primo. I understood awhile ago that the above maps were like mega popular on Battlefield 2. That didn’t concern me. I played each map thoroughly and give them all the thumbs up for a few reasons. 1.) Each map is vast in design and suits all classes for Rush or Conquest. 2.) No cheap areas on maps to camp all day on Rush or Conquest. 3.) All of the Maps look different and have their own unique atmosphere and presentation.  4.) They are all borderline great maps but are all definately good maps. Those are some of the impressions that i can group all of the maps together.

Strike at Karkand – Strike at Karkand was as advertised if not better. I haven’t played a map that gave me such a real urban combat experience like Strike at Karkand did while playing Rush or Conquest. If  i had to describe this map to a gamer it would be “Huge City”. There are countless buildings and alleyways all jam packed together with the occasional stretching street. You can enter practically any building and climb up on the roof to get the jump on incoming forces. I don’t know how Strike at Karkand looked and played on Battlefield 2 but with the Forstbite 2 engine the atmosphere was thick. You could practically shoot apart any building with rockets. The cover constantly breaks apart wherever you are due to destructibility. Strike at Karkand is a great urban warfare map in my opinion.

Wake Island – Wake Island is clearly the most unique looking map in the Back to Karkand Expansion Pack from a design and visual standpoint. Your fighting on an island surrounded by an ocean with sunk battleships on one side and battleships that are shooting missiles on the other. The latter is all for looks but creates a tropical island warzone atmosphere. Wake Island has airstrip spawn points and plenty of small bases to spawn at wit vehicles. There are enough vehicles to make it around the narrow areas into more open ones. There are plenty of sea vehicles as well. Out of all of the maps i disliked playing Rush and Conquest on Wake Island the most due to its narrow areas and water all over the map. Its an island i know and the map isn’t bad, its pretty good actually. However when comparing it to the others its not as great. However it is the most unique map hands down out of the group.

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Gulf of Oman – Solid solid map. While playing Rush or Conquest the attackers start out at a base with a big wide open dune in front of them. Off in the distance is a big city with major reconstruction involving a skyscraper. To describe Gulf of Oman i would say big open dune area, small village area and city area. So there are three areas to battle in and all are different in settings. Dune Buggies help you make it into the village and city without getting hit by mortars. The village area branches into the city area where you can go inside many buildings and handle business. Its a map that shows some diversity in design and setting. Gulf of Oman is a really good map for Rush and Conquest.

Sharqi Penninsula – Sharqi Peninsula is another good to great map in Back to Karkand Expansion Pack. I would describe this map as a TV Station on a hill overlooking a city with many buildings invovling construction. There is a sea behind the TV Station that filters along a coast of a mega city off in the distance. Huge Skyscrapers  on fire with smoke bellowing out with a mountain view behind it. Sharqi Peninsula definitely has a contemporary setting. Most of the action like with any map takes place in the heart of the map. In this case the heart is a city with buildings you can enter. Some buildings you can jump from rooftop to rooftop since they are so close. There are plenty of vehicles for Rush or Conquest to use. I placed many landmines down on the narrow tarmac streets since so many people use vehicles on this map. It worked to say the least. Sharqi Penninsula has the second most unique setting from a visual standpoint in my opinion.

Final Verdict – Back to Karkand Expansion Pack is good. Its not a great expansion in my opinion. I would put Battlefield Bad Company 2: Vietnam Expansion over Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand Expansion. With that being said the maps are are all very good with some being great. There are unlocks and progression aspects to keep you playing Back to Karkand a long time. New camo, guns and vehicles round out the deal. I still believe this should be $10.00 for what it has and not $15.00. If your a Battlefield 3 guy or girl and want 4 very good new maps to play on i say buy. Thanks for reading.

8/10

 




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