Battlefield 3: Back to Karkard DLC review

If you were one of the many who pre-ordered the Battlefield 3 Limited Edition, the Back to Karkard DLC became available to you immediately it was released without the need to pay for the DLC. For other gamers, a small purchase is required. But is it worth the purchase of this retro themed DLC?

Personally, Iím usually not one to go out and buy extras for a game that Iíve already put my hard earned at the cash register to play. Iím definitely old-school in the regard that if Iíve paid for a game, I want it to be a full game, not just half of a game that can be accessed later for a price. But after playing through the shortish Battlefield 3 single player campaign and then giving some time to the multiplayer scene, I thought that the Back to Karkard DLC may bring something fresh to the BF3 table.

Just like old times
OK, the Back to Karkand DLC, isnít exactly bringing something new to the table. In fact, if youíve played earlier versions of the Battlefield series, you may feel a slight sense of dťjŗ vu with the extra content because the new multiplayer maps contained within the DLC are those played before. But, the Frostbite 2 engine has made the battlegrounds so much clearer.
The Gulf of Oman, Sharqi Peninsula, Wake Island and Strike at Karkand have returned to the Battlefield franchise and look stunning due to the Frostbite 2 engine. The destructible settings make sure that battles are fought with a variety of tactics, with chokepoints being scattered around the familiar (for Battlefield veterans) landscapes.

Life in the fast lane
Thrown in with the new maps are a handful of new combat vehicles. The F35 Jet can be tough to use first up, especially for those not accustomed to piloting aircraft in the game and seems somewhat slower than the other aircraft available, but can certainly get the job done on the Wake Island and Gulf of Oman maps. The BTR-90 APC is another new vehicle, but it doesnít really seem that different to those currently available. There is also a Desert Patrol Vehicle that can be used to quickly get from one point of the map to another. Just a quick note to other Battlefield players out there...wait for your newly spawned teammates to get in before you head off into battle. This is a team game and should be played as such.
Apart from those three attack vehicles, the other new vehicle available in the DLC is the Bobcat machine. In itself, it doesnít really do much apart from moving things around and running over enemy troops, but there is an Assignment attached to it, so it is useful in that regard at least.

Objective added
Speaking of which, the Assignments make for a certain amount of fun. Each assignment (similar to Steam Achievements) has a number of tasks associated with it. Complete the set tasks and gamers will be rewarded with new weapons. The fact that new weapons must be earned with this DLC may turn some veterans off. But personally, I find it challenging to work towards the goal rather than having new weapons simply handed to me on a platter. This is war, after all.

Of course, with any addition to a game, there are bound to be some sort of teething problems. And with the Back to Karkand DLC Ė or possibly the associated patch - I along with hundreds, if not thousands of other Battlefield 3 players had some technical issues. My main issue surrounded the single player, with my save point being corrupted when the DLC installed. Not too much of a problem, since Iím only really playing the multiplayer now anyway. But then there were server connection issues allowing me to play for short periods of time before being disconnected. It was especially frustrating when I was doing particularly well. Fortunately, the issues were resolved, mainly thanks to the gamers in the forums and I able to continue playing these retro maps and work my way towards completing more assignments. So should you get the DLC? If Santa was nice enough to give you some cash over Christmas, then you could do worse than add the Back to Karkand content to your Battlefield 3 experience.

Overall Verdict: 8.0
I've given the game a reduced score mainly due to my personal frustrations with server disconnections Ė but being an online game, everyone has different experiences in this regard and others will no doubt have no issues at all. Game play itself is amazing though and is well worth the effort to get past the frustrations.