Battlefield 3: Close Quarters DLC review

Battlefield has always been about huge teams, massive maps, and vehicle warfare up-the-wazoo, but many players have also had a soft spot for the infantry action as well. In the PC version of Battlefield 3, Metro or Tehran Highway-only servers are commonplace, and it seems DICE saw a void that needed filling. Enter Close Quarters, the second DLC pack for Battlefield 3, following December’s Back to Karkand. DICE’s focus on infantry combat in smaller arena spaces definitely evokes more Call of Duty than Battlefield within this expansion. But once you get past that initial discomfort of that premise, you are going to have a blast with the fast paced, atmospheric action of the new confined maps.

Compared to the larger Battlefield 3 maps, the 16-player environments turn up the pace of the action. You won’t be running half a mile just to get to the battle; instead you’ll spawn, turn a corner and be face-to-face with someone who needs your shotgun ammo perforating their chest. The Conquest Domination mode is particularly frantic. Since the flags are closer together on the smaller maps, matches become a delicate balancing act of attack and defend – that’s even moreso than normal. Why? The capture timers for the flags take about a quarter as long as it takes to claim one in standard games, so the momentum of a match can turn extremely quickly.

Each of the new maps feels unique. Ziba Tower offers unique verticality with multiple open floors to lob grenades or pick out high-up sniping spots. Operation 925 provides close corridor combat on three isolated floors that vary from meeting rooms and office cubicles to a parking garage. Donya Fortress forces teams to exploit chokepoints with its narrow hallways and wide, balconied rooms. The last map, Scrapmetal, allows for longer range engagements from its top level rooftop and relatively open industrial warehouse rooms.  

Close Quarters also adds a new mode to the mix with Gunmaster. For any shooter fan who’s played Call of Duty: Black Ops’ Gun Game mode or the Counter-Strike mod of the same name, Gunmaster plays on the same basic rules. You start off the match with a pistol and as you get kills, you’ll automatically equip more powerful weapons. For instance, after getting two kills with the default pistol, you’ll unlock a full-auto pistol, getting two kills with that gun then auto-equips a shotgun, then an SMG, and so on. The first person on either team to get the final knife kill wins the match for their team. Equipment and gadgets cannot be accessed, so no med packs, grenades or MAVs, only your shooting skills will help you here.

Being a skilled shooter won’t just help you win a few matches of Gunmaster, but also to unlock two additional weapons per class and two “every class” weapons by completing the DLC’s Assignments. It’s particularly rewarding for those who’ve already unlocked most of the existing weapons, and gives incentive to jump back in the game and try a few challenges. The only quip we had about the Assignments is that some of the completion requirements repeat those from the previous DLC. We had already completed Back to Karkand’s Assignment requiring twenty kills with the underslung grenade launcher, and the assault class Assignment in Close Quarters required the same. Granted, there would be no issue if you purchase Back to Karkand and Close Quarters at the same time, but since that wasn’t the case, we were forced us to “noob tube” twenty more people again – and that’s not good for our BF3 cred.

For those who like the relatively confined environments of Battlefield 3’s current city maps like Strike at Karkand and Metro, Close Quarters might be the DLC for you. Gunmaster is a refreshing addition to the Battlefield series and the maps are varied and immersive.  With a fifteen-dollar price tag, Close Quarters is worth the price of admission, especially if you are looking for something a little bit different from the standard Battlefield experience.

Our verdict

Buy it.

This downloadable content was reviewed using the PC version of Battlefield 3: Close Quarters


  • BaraChat - July 2, 2012 10:04 p.m.

    I actually like the idea of having a choice smaller maps. Of course most of the Battlefield experience is played on a large scale (that's where I spent 90% of my time until Colonel Rank), with tanks, jets and all the good stuff, but frantic combat on a smaller scale has its appeal as well. And you won't even need to switch to CoD, Killzone or whatever other online shooter to experience that sort of thing, you can have it with DICE's engine, which is infinitely better than what Guerilla or IW has to offer. Except for angering a few zealous BF fans, I don't see what DICE has to lose for trying this.
  • aberkromby - June 21, 2012 9:30 p.m.

    Again, EA/DICE tries to beat CoD at it's own game. Again, they fail miserably and piss off more and more of their longtime fans in the process. My prediction is that, assuming things don't change for the better, the Battlefield series won't last more than a couple more retail releases.
  • spideralex90 - June 21, 2012 11:42 p.m.

    Firstly, this DLC is far better at small infantry based play than CoD. Secondly, the rest of the 5 map packs are going to be back to what BF does best. Thirdly, Battlefield's been around far longer than CoD and has a hardcore fanbase, it's not going anywhere.
  • aberkromby - June 22, 2012 1:05 p.m.

    They already lost a pretty big chunk of the fanbase with BF3, with people claiming that DICE abandoned the hardcore fans (i.e. BF3 is a rushed bullsh*t sequel that feels like a watered down version of BF2) If they continue to break down the core gameplay as quickly as they have been, they'll contine to diminish their fanbase.
  • Rub3z - June 23, 2012 1:55 a.m.

    Erm... the core gameplay looks like it's all there to me... and plus... said hardcore fanbase that you're talking about that's whining about the changes that came about with BF3? I'll bet you anything that most of those whiners purchased the game anyway. People will whine and complain all they want... but BF3 continues to be quite an astoundingly polished and robust experience. People who have played it and don't enjoy it on some level are quite honestly in the minority.
  • aberkromby - June 23, 2012 9:29 a.m.

    The core gameplay of the Bad Company spinoff is there, but its's nothing like a real Battlefield game. Yeah, people bought the game anyways, but that was before they knew how watered-down it was. Odds are, many of them won't be buying the next installment.
  • wesley-simmons - June 22, 2012 7:24 a.m.

    The themes of Battlefield 3's DLC are extremely varied. The next one is focused on vehicle battles. They're just trying to provide a playstyle for every kind of shooter fan. That's a lot more than you can say about COD, which just releases a new map that falls into the category of small, medium, or large.
  • aberkromby - June 22, 2012 1:11 p.m.

    The problem is that they when they implement every playstyle, they end up doing everything poorly. DICE seems to have forgotten what made Battlefield popular in the first place.
  • Jacko415 - June 21, 2012 9:09 p.m.

    "... evokes more Call of Duty than Battlefield within this expansion. But once you get past that initial discomfort of that premise, you are going to have a blast with the fast paced, atmospheric action of the new confined maps." My thoughts exactly. Though, I think it does it better than cod.
  • Edias - June 21, 2012 7:24 p.m.

    I've always thrived in close quarters, but I've hated the arcadey feel of CoD's gameplay; so this will be an easy purchase for me. The gun game feature only makes it easier.
  • forestfire55 - June 21, 2012 7:23 p.m.

    At least there honest with their dlc titles, im shure they knew some people dont like small maps, so they called it close quarters. Same with armored kill, they figure if people dont like a ton of vehicles, they wont buy it. Not a smart business plan, but its honorable.
  • EwoksTasteLikeChicken - June 21, 2012 6:34 p.m.

    Confined maps are not the reason I play Battlefield. If I want to play on a small, closed map, I'll play CoD.
  • ParagonT - June 21, 2012 8:19 p.m.

    True that.
  • avantguardian - June 21, 2012 5:31 p.m.

    close combat, in the last three bf games, has been far and away the worst thing about the games for me. adding team deathmatch and the awful custom servers to bf3 are tied for second. also, kudos for calling conquest domination;)
  • GR_LorenzoVeloria - June 21, 2012 5:38 p.m.

    Whoops. I actually did mean Conquest Domination. Thanks for the catch.

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