So you’ve done it all in Battlefield 3; You’ve driven that C4 jeep into tanks countless times, you’ve decimated entire squads with a simple UAV, and you’ve even sniped a pilot out of a plane just to jump in and hijack it? That may be all good and fascinating, but does the actual game still excite you? Do anything for long enough and fatigue or loss of interest is bound to set in. If I had to mention DLC now, I’m sure I would lose the interest of many, but hear me out. Battlefield 3 Premium is more than just some silly add-on DLC appended with the word “premium”.
It’s the opportunity to make your game experience feel fresh over the next few months, while throwing in some extra incentive to make you feel special. The going rate of this package sits at a hefty R399. This may seem ridiculous, but what do you get for all your hard earned moola?
You gain access to a whopping 5 DLC map packs, of which only 2 are currently available. Back to Karkand has been around since December. Close quarters, the most recent one, only just came out last month. Armoured Kill and Aftermath will follow, with the last DLC End Game releasing around March next year. Each map pack consists of 4 maps, bringing the total DLC map count up to 20, more than double the core games map count of 9. Being a premium member, you also gain access to the DLC maps two weeks before their actual release.
Any FPS gamer loves having a variety of weapons. Premium will add a whole slew of new weapons, all being released in small batches with their relevant map pack. In order to unlock these weapons, one has to do assignments. Basically these function the same as achievements. Fulfil certain criteria in an assignment, and the associated weapon is yours. What’s great is that the achievements really aren’t over the top like “crash land your chopper into a total of 10 people… at the same time!” It’s the sort of thing you can achieve just by playing the game like you normally would.
Being a premium member also nets you unique dog tags, camos (for your character as well as weapons) and even a unique knife. You also gain the ability to reset your stats, which in all honesty I can only see people using if they truly have maxed out theirs levels and such. Another feature that may annoy core players, is that premium players get prioritized in queues. Personally, I think this is a silly feature, as a huge number of players may already have premium accounts, and you’ll be forced to wait in line behind them anyway.
If you ever felt like that there was something you were just missing in Battlefield, some aspect you may have overlooked, then you are in luck. You gain access to a very detailed guide for each DLC. The guide for Close Quarters for example, outlines the basic gameplay for Battlefield, as well as the new Game modes. It doesn’t stop there; each map has its own guide, but don’t take me lightly when I say in-depth. Each map guide is divided into smaller sections, with tips on what sort of weapons should be employed where, and what tactic should be used. This is great for beginners and pros alike.
You may argue that you could buy each DLC separately, but they cost around R120 each. So if you already have the Back To Karkand (as it was a pre-order bonus) you would only need to purchase 4 map packs. This would still equate to a whopping R480! If you do not own the Back to Karkand, the price is even steeper.
This isn’t just some DLC that has been added on willy-nilly. The Battlefield experience still remains as addictive as ever, but the team are pushing out material that will keep any gamer engaged and enjoying their purchase. As I’ve mentioned above, the entirety of all the Map packs doubles the original games map count. The price is justified, and well worth it. It would be sacrilege for any Battlefield fan to miss out on this opportunity to extend the shelf life of such a fantastic game!
The Back To Karkand pack has been around for many months now, so instead I will be focusing on the latest maps. The Close Quarters pack is something that is almost unseen in the Battlefield series. There are no vehicles whatsoever. Instead of the usual gigantic and mostly open playgrounds, you are presented with much tighter environments which make the game feel entirely different.
You may be thinking that this essentially turns the Battlefield experience into a Call of Duty/Modern Warfare one. Undeniably, it may feel like it at times, but there is the Battlefield spin on the whole thing. Squad work is still essential! Moving as a team can change the entire pace of the game, swaying the final outcome to your teams favour. You could choose to run and gun alone, but running into a squad will almost always result in your untimely demise.
The “no vehicles” premise can be a breath of fresh air for some. I often get immensely frustrated when I’m on a map and I can spawn, run for a minute and get gunned down by a tank, hit by a helicopter, or sniped from a million kilometres away. That or I could spend hours running around and not come across any action. Close quarters shakes all of that up; the gameplay is intense and extremely fast paced with little room to breathe.
Complementing this pack are two new game modes. Conquest Domination is very much the same as Conquest, but there are fewer points to control, and the points only take a matter of seconds to capture. The difference is that you literally have to be next to the flag for the capture to take place, whereas in normal conquest you merely have to be in the general vicinity. If you think your rank is looking a little on the low side, this is the ideal game mode to rake in some extra points and fast. Point captures happen ferociously, with much loud noises and guns blazing everywhere.
The next game mode will be familiar to many. Gun Master is essentially a clone of the ever popular Gun Game. Everybody starts at the bottom of the gun chain, equipped with a pistol. Snag a few kills and you are given the next tier gun. This continues right up until the last level which isn’t a massive gun, but rather a knife. Stab somebody and the game is yours.
The key differences from the typical Gun Game is that knifing an enemy will not automatically gain you a level, but being knifed will still make you lose one. Normally one would need three kills with a weapon to reach the next tier. In Gun Master you only need to obtain two. Close Quarters is ideal for this game mode, which would never really work on the large scale maps.
One of Battlefield’s most notable features is definitely the destruction, and Close Quarters does not disappoint. One map is set on the rooftop of a building. The rooms are neat and quaint, yet filled with destructible goodness. I love how running into a room filled with books, guns blazing, can result in those poor volumes being shred to bits with paper flying around in the air everywhere. I am strongly reminded of the first Matrix movie. You know exactly which scene I am talking about! Think about all those pillars being sliced into utter thinness, bullets flying everywhere. There is just something so satisfying about the sound of falling rubble.
If you’re a die-hard COD fan and you own BF3, I would highly recommend at least considering this DLC. You may feel right at home here, and perhaps this is the gateway pack you need to truly appreciating the rest of the Battlefield experience.
The price may seem a little overwhelming, but there is some excellent content packed into that price tag. Think of it as a long term investment; You pay now, but you reap the enjoyment of the current available DLC’s and those still to come!