by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
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 when it was released. A separate purchase is required for those who did not pre-order, but is this retro themed DLC is worth its admittedly low price?
I’m usually not one to go out and buy extras for a game. I’m definitely old-school in the regard that if I’ve 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 decided to look at the Back to Karkard DLC to see if it would bring something fresh to the Battlefield 3 table.
Just like old times
In truth, the DLC, isn’t exactly bringing something - new - to the table. If you have played earlier versions of the Battlefield series, you may feel a slight sense of déjà vu. The DLC adds a number of multiplayer maps from Battlefield 2, but redesigned using the Frostbite 2 engine to make them shine like never before.
The four maps included are the Gulf of Oman, the Sharqi Peninsula, Wake Island and Strike at Karkand and they look absolutely stunning. 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. Thrown in with the new maps are a handful of new combat vehicles. The F35 Jet can be tough to use when you first start her up, especially for those not accustomed to piloting aircraft in the game. It 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 doesn’t seem that different to those currently available and should be seen as an aesthetic addition rather than a gameplay enrichment. There is also a Desert Patrol Vehicle that can be used to quickly get from one point of the map to another. Besides these three attack vehicles, a non-combat one also sees the light. In itself, it doesn’t 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.
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 you 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. With the Back to Karkand DLC – or possibly the associated patch - many Battlefield 3 players experienced some technical issues. My main issue with the single player existed in a corrupted save point after the DLC was installed. Not too much of a problem, since I’m only really playing the multiplayer now anyway, but there I hit upon server connection issues allowing me to play for short periods of time only, before being disconnected. Fortunately, the issues are now moslty resolved and the game functions normally.
A worthy DLC
So should you get the DLC? You could certainly do worse than adding the Back to Karkand content to your Battlefield 3 experience. The new maps are fun to play, the new vehicles spice up the existing gameplay options and the assignments offer a number of fresh challenges to look forward to.
The best Battlefield 2 maps faithfully moved over to Battlefield 3.
May still have some stability issues.