The Back to Karkand DLC for Battlefield 3 hit the PC and 360 yesterday while PS3 owners got it last week. (damn exclusivity deals) If you pre-ordered the game you will get free access to the pack which re-imagines four maps from the brilliant Battlefield 2 and also throws in a handful of new unlockable weapons and some new vehicles to play with. If you didn’t pre-order you can get the DLC for £11.99. A steep price, but quite possibly worth it. Hit the jump for some thoughts.
I won’t give a Verdict on Back to Karkand just yet, I have only played two of the maps, Gulf of Oman and Strike at Karkand, the map after which this DLC is named. While the full map choice is limited compared to what could have been chosen, I think that these two maps, along with Sharqi Peninsula and Wake Island really show us what could have been achieved with Battlefield 3 on release.
The more I play the core maps of Battlefield 3, the more I realise that they lack the je ne sais quoi (pardon the French) of maps like Karkand and Oman. Playing these two maps last night was, to paraphrase one of my clan mates, like taking a trip back to your old high school and seeing how things had changed, but still feeling quite at home.
DICE have certainly given these classic maps a makeover, the approach to the Hotel flag on Karkand has been heavily revised, as has Market, while Oman feels like a town which has grown up and expanded in the shadow of the US carrier. Further, for the first time really since I started to play Battlefield 3 I felt like DICE had truly captured that feeling of being in a warzone like they managed with Battlefield 2.
It is pleasing to seeing the Conquest Assault game mode return, one side starting the action with a ticket bleed really kicks up the intensity, and hopefully with lead to an increased level of teamwork. Well, that would require VOIP to be added to the game, but one can live in hope. The assignments to access the new weapons seem like a solid approach to how unlocks should be handled, but I haven’t looked into them in much detail so far.
It does come seem a bit steep to charge £11.99 for this DLC, but you get guaranteed quality maps for your money, which we weren’t able to say about the main game. I’ll be honest that a few more maps wouldn’t have gone amiss, but for now I will take what we have with open arms and bask in the joy that is Battlefield 2 in Battlefield 3.