Let’s say you’ve logged more than a few hours on Battlefield 3 but realized it’s maps got long in the tooth. What to do oh troubled couch marine? Well this month EA heard you and was all, “We got maps on maps on maps!” in the vein of YC. And here we are with Back To Karkand (PC, PS3, Xbox 360), Battlefield 3’s first downloadable expansion pack.
First, here’s some clarification. Battlefield 3 Limited Edition owners get Karkand as a free add on. Everyone else has to fork over $15 to take part in the carnage. A Lincoln and a Franklin can get you some worthwhile spoils in today’s economy like a shopping spree at your local corner store, some knock off Ray Bans at the gas station or an album. So why spend it on DLC? We’ll get to that in a moment.
Back to Karkand comes with four popular maps from previous Battlefield games. Three are from Battlefield 2 (i.e. not Bad Company 2) released on the PC in 2005: Strike At Karkand, Sharqi Peninsula and Gulf of Oman. The fourth, Wake Island, is an old staple which appeared in the first game in the series: 2001’s Battlefield 1942. Odds are many players haven’t tried any of these maps since, as a primarily PC-centric series, Battlefield games didn’t have the crossover appeal they revel in today. Therefore these warzones will yield entirely new experiences to anyone who wasn’t privy to owning a gaming PC in the early to mid aughts. Longtime BF fanbros may notice the maps seem smaller than they remember. However the revamped visuals, complexities and opportunities for destruction put into each location make up for them not being 1:1 representations.
New vehicles, the return of Conquest Assault and assignments to unlock new weapons add even more replay value to this release. Hovering jets line the sky as speedy buggies and APCs mix things up on the ground. Conquest Assault is essentially Conquest with one team invading the other teams flags. The attacking team has more tickets to account for not having any points at first. It’s a decent, enjoyable spin on the og mode but doesn’t feel all that different from its source. The assignments challenge you to standard fair feats towards unlocking new guns like reviving teammates and shooting enemies. They also dare you to do bizarre accomplishments like troll kill an enemy with a repair tool. The requirement sounds annoying but trust me; you’re guaranteed to at least chuckle a bit when you pull it off. There are ten quality weapons to unlock in all with unique conditions so you’ll have your work cut out for you.
Back To Karkand’s well worth its $15 asking price if you’re a regular BF3 player. The remixed levels are easily a cut above the stock maps packaged with the game. You might even side eye the original locales after awhile since they seem flatter than their old (new?) counterparts. The assignments, Conquest Assault and new vehicles also come together for hours of shootin’ and lootin’. Meanwhile, you ought to know this release doesn’t alter the fundamentals of the game. The offerings here won’t change your mind on BF3 if you weren’t a fan of how it played beforehand. All the folks who got the expansion for free and haven’t tried for whatever reason ought to set aside some time to experience it. You’ll likely wonder why you didn’t give it a go sooner after a few matches.