It’s been around 18 months since Battlefield 3 first hit our rigs and consoles. If you are a twat like me and missed out on the last couple of DLC packs, fear not! End Game is awaiting your purchase, or simply awaiting login if you are already an existing premium member. It isn’t called End Game for nothing, Battlefield 4 is pegged to be released by the end of this year after all.
In all honesty, I think it’s a little too late to rush out and buy a premium membership if you haven’t done so already. What is a premium membership? Simply put, it’s the purchasing of every existing map pack at one discounted price (along with some other nice nifty bonuses). Even though there are still a couple of servers running the DLC of yesteryear, those servers are graveyards consisting of lonely tanks and empty mission objectives.
Fortunately those servers do still exist, so feel free to round up a couple of your retired veteran buddies and go fill them up. Too much effort? Agreed. Rather shell out just over a hundred bucks to go join the next big party on the calendar, that of End Game. Why pay for what has passed and is no longer hip? Sign up for this latest and greatest End Game shindig and we will throw in a dirt bike, and trust me, you want this dirt bike! What do you get for your money? I’m glad you asked…
As with every other DLC released thus far, there are new maps included in End Game. The new kids on the block are Kiasar Railroad, Nebandan Flats , Operation Riverside, and Sabalan Pipeline. These new maps are definitely enjoyable, but it almost feels like something is lacking when compared to the original maps released with the game. For example, on the map Kiasar Railroad, there is a lumberyard with piles of logs stacked everywhere. While numerous trees throughout this map can be destroyed with just about anything, these particular log stacks are coated with some sort of iron varnish which makes them indestructible. It leaves a lot to be desired, especially since the Battlefield series prides itself on maximum destruction. How cool would it be to shoot a rocket into one of those piles and have them fall onto a camping squad of soldiers or even a passing vehicle?
This is not to say that the maps are bad, but rather that it doesn’t feel like the new maps really offer anything new over their predecessors. The whole premise remains the same; vast expanses of land dotted with buildings (on certain maps) in which to get up to some Battlefield shenanigans, which is not a bad thing at all.
There are two new anti air vehicles, one for each faction. Basically, both of these vehicles are armoured jeeps with some AA weaponry fitted to them. They are bound to make any pilots life hell, but they are by no means game changing.
What actually does feel like a fantastic addition to the mobility division are the new dirt bikes. I couldn’t for the life of me understand why Bad Company 2 had those awesome quads, and Battlefield 3 had nothing to fit that role. The bikes are back baby, and they are a hell of a lot of fun! Who cares about shooting the enemy? Do you have any idea how much fun it is riding around, popping wheelies and ramping over hills? How rewarding it is to engage in a high speed escape from a helicopter or tank, resulting in death approximately 99% of the time? These bikes are littered all over the maps in all the game modes, and if you haven’t gathered by now, they are a truck load of fun to ride!
What’s even more awesome is that you can have a passenger join you for the journey. Garth joined me one evening, and we were simply riding along when we came out of the bush and ended up behind a tank on one of the side roads. What followed was a sneaky high speed chase, (tanks are surprisingly fast) with Garth pounding away at the tank with his rocket launcher. As soon as we were spotted it was all evasive manoeuvres, ramping along the conveniently placed dirt mounds and other natural terrain. It was phenomenal!
Lastly, in the conquest game mode, having a particular point on the map gives your team access to a slow moving dropship which cruises slowly over the battle. It’s all fun and games sky diving into the action, at least until you see the option to deploy from the dropship in a vehicle! Holy crap, that awesome feeling I had when that parachute opened and pulled my vehicle out into the open sky! It was fantastic, and landing smack in the middle of battle never gets boring. This is a nice touch by Dice, and I absolutely love it.
New Game Modes
Air superiority? Sounds like a really great idea. Except that I could never really find any full local servers with people playing this mode. It’s alright, a 200 ping European server will do! Think conquest, but with fighter jets alone. There are blimps dotting the map and you need to stay in the general vicinity for a short while to capture the point. Sounds cool right?
Its not. Perhaps you are like me. You fly your vehicle like a piece of mouldy cheese riddled with holes and covered in tomato sauce (a clever metaphor for what my plane kind of looks like after a battle. Yes the tomato sauce is blood, well done! Now back to the point). High ping aside, I could not enjoy this game mode. Granted that may be due to my poor piloting skills (which actually aren’t too bad), but all I did was spawn and have a missile hot on my tail shortly after. “All you need to do is flare,” I hear you shout. Thanks captain obvious, but alas, there are a half dozen other enemies who have a missile with my name written all over it. Jets are not my cup of tea, but you can at least rank up some unlocks for your jet pretty quickly in this mode, but it’s really not to my liking.
Personally, I think that this mode could have been a lot better had it been something along the lines of helicopter warfare. Imagine a map where there are a few small islands which have control points, and the only way to traverse between each island is a variety of helicopters. This way it could still be focussed on air warfare, but still involve some run and gun action on the islands below. I hope you’re listening Dice, I want this in Battlefield 4!
Capture the flag redeemed this DLC for me overall, and it is a great mode addition. The age old classic, capture the enemies flag and defend your own! Throw in some classic Battlefield mayhem, and you have something that can be really enjoyable. This is not to say that it doesn’t have some annoying elements, because it certainly does. Imagine this. You’ve just ridden half the distance from your base to the enemies on your bike, and hopped off for the sake of a sneaky approach. You pick off the odd enemy here and there, dodge the tank so as to not draw attention, and lo and behold! The flag is in your sight! At this point, you can either A) be sniped from God knows where, B) be driven over by a surprise camping tank, C) Be blown up into the sky by somebody who layered the area with a million stacks of C4. Yeah it’s not too easy capturing the flag if the whole enemy team decides to camp.
Regardless, it certainly is a lot of fun! Garth and I were once again cruising along on a bike, headed for the enemy flag. We dismounted a short distance away and snuck into the enemy camp. Standing between us and the flag is a small building. I placed my C4 and blew out the rear wall, creating easy access to the flag. From this point, everything goes to hell. Enemies open fire as I run for the flag. Garth places covering fire like a boss and I snatch it. We make a run for it only to see our escape vehicle has somehow blown up. There is nothing left to do but run. Needless to say, attempting to run like half a kilometre to drop off the flag is a silly idea. We died painfully, but it still was a highly enjoyable in my books. Lesson? Make sure you have a getaway vehicle.
Battlefield 3: End Game was reviewed by Matthew Figueira