In the second themed expansion for Battlefield 3 DICE scaled things back compared to Back to Karkand which was focused on rebuilding classic maps, vehicle warfare mixed with infantry warfare, Close Quarters is 100% infantry combat set in four smaller maps, each map has its own distinct style and size.
DICE have done a lot within this expansion, In Close Quarters all explosives act differently due to the nature of the expansion, lets say if you would fire a RPG on Ziba Tower and it worked how it would on Operation Metro or any of the other maps there would be a lot of lingering smoke that could potentially ruin the close quarter gameplay, so DICE toned down the visual effects and put a lot more emphasis on debris and creating destruction with weapons instead of just explosives, check out this link to the Inside DICE blog that details a whole lot better than I about the changes in visual effects for Close Quarters. A downside to the HD destruction for consoles is that the maps only support 16 players compared to the normal 24, it goes to show that the console hardware is outdated, not to fear for those with PC’s you can still have up to 64 players on these maps but it is not supported by DICE.
The Gameplay that Close Quarters offers is quite different compared to the vanilla Battlefield 3 experience, its more action packed and offers HD destruction which enables you to create more openings for flanking opportunities this adds a new element to the gameplay as you can open up more routes, quite often you will be killed through the destroyed walls so it is always best to keep your awareness up at all times especially on the more destructible maps like Ziba Tower & Operation 925. More than often you have to hip fire at enemies, which does go against what the vanilla game has taught many players due to the close combat sometimes you do not have the time to be accurate and ADS, granted there are sightlines which allow you to ADS and get some longer distance kills most situations you get will come across is purely hip fire only.
Maps & Gamemodes
Donya Fortress is an old fortress located on a hilltop, it has a nice mixture of old and new, you have catacombs and above them a very nice looking palace. Donya Fortress has a lot of stairs that lead to objectives and good vantage points, there are multiple routes to the objectives so it is always good to keep and eye out for enemies. The size of the map is in-between Operation 925 and Ziba Tower.
Operation 925 takes place in an office space that offers full offices, a car park and a cafeteria. This map has the most destruction in Close Quarters offering many different play styles as there are more open areas compared to the other maps. The garage level is a big part of this map as it has multiple routes to the level above it can be used as a way to sneak past players on the above level. Operation 925 is the biggest map in Close Quarters.
Scrapmetal is a factory map that is spilt into two: one side being old and unused, the other showing some signs of life. The map offers plenty of ways to get to the adjacent building, controlling the routes to buildings is key and the rooftops offer a great vantage point. As this map takes place in a factory setting there is a lot of concrete so there isn’t as much HD destruction as the other maps. Scrapmetal is also the most vertical map in this expansion. The size of the map is in-between Operation 925 and Ziba Tower.
Ziba Tower is located at a Sky bar on top of a skyscraper, the map has a horse shoe design where the most of the action takes place. You can go into the middle parts for flanking opportunities and get to the other side of the map easily. The map has three floors with stairways that connect them together, it has good sightlines so it is suited for many different play styles. Ziba tower is the smallest map in this expansion and it generally offers the most action.
One of the things that Close Quarters has a huge focus on is verticality, each of the maps has more than one level, some have more than others and there are plenty of stairs so you can go from floor to floor with ease. With this change the mini map has been altered slightly to reflect these changes. Out of the four maps available my personal favorite has to be Ziba Tower in my eyes the most appealing map visually and offers the most action and the decent HD Destruction.
This is the Close quarters version of Conquest, You start off in a random spot on the map, and your goal is to capture flags and eliminate the opposing teams spawn tickets, the flag capture times have been severely reduced to keep the game moving at a fast pace. One of the main differences compared to standard Conquest is that once you capture a flag it does not become a spawn area, you can only spawn on fellow squad members and a random spawn point. The game mode is akin to Call of Duty’s Domination game type. But it does have its downfalls sometimes the spawns can be terrible at times you may spawn right into suppression next thing you know you are looking at the player who killed you.
Gun Master is a variation of Counter Strikes Gun-Game, players start off with a MP443 and after you get two kills you move onto the next weapon and continually advance through all the different weapon types in the game, the last two weapons are the M230 LVG which only requires one kill to advance to the final weapon the knife, whoever reaches the knife first and successfully gets a kill with it wins the game for their team. Gun Master is a great addition to the game and forces you to use weapons that you may not normally use, the game mode is good and great to play but it lacks a free-for-all variation I think it would up the general intensity of the game and also I think it would be good to see Gun Master on the TDM version of the other maps in the game.
Also included in Close Quarters is a TDM mode which works exactly the same as it does in the vanilla game but officially only supports 16 players.
Close Quarters come packing with 10 new weapons, you can unlock these weapons by completing assignments for example, unlocking the AUG 83 for the Assault class you will have to get 10 squad revives and 30 assault rifle kills, all the other assignments have their own challenges some of them easy other ones not so much, The assignments will take time to do but they are worth it, the hardest one for me was getting the EOD bot kill which I managed to get without too much hassle.
Here’s a list of the 10 weapons you can get your hands on in Close Quarters, As a handy extra I will also link in Symthic which will give you all the damage values for each weapon and much more.
AUG A3 & SCAR-L
Light Machine Guns
L86A2 & LSAT
ACW-R & MTAR-21
M417 & JNG-90
Shotgun & SMG
SPAS-12 & M5K
Each weapon I have used feels like it has a purpose and can be suited for any situation, I think they are fairly balanced with the other guns in the game, My personal favorites at the writing of this review are the AUG-A3 and ACW-R.
One of the better quality’s of this expansion is that you can have fairly quick games compared to the vanilla or BTK Battlefield 3 where matches can tend to last quite some time, Close Quarters is perfect if you have a little bit of spare time and want a quick game of Battlefield 3 before going out or doing other things. Both Conquest Domination and Gunmaster can be annoying at times when you join a Gunmaster game that is almost over or repeatedly get revived by team mates just to get killed as soon as your back in the game, those types of moments don’t happen too much though, the HD destruction looks great even on console the gameplay is pretty solid. Close Quarters is the opposite of what many would consider a true Battlefield experience but it does bring a new element to the game with more action and frantic gameplay. Close Quarters does what it says on the box, it puts you into smaller combat that at times can be very frantic and fast paced. If you are a player who likes the smaller maps in Battlefield 3 (Metro/Seine/Bazaar) and the combat those maps offer I would defiantly give Close Quarters a chance, or even if you like the bigger and more open maps and want a change of pace Close Quarters will give you that change that is for sure.
Before I wrap things up completely I would just like to mention about Battlefield Premium, the service that will deliver all DLC + a host of bonuses including double XP weekends, inside videos and extra in-game content. If you are a player who plays Battlefield 3 regularly and enjoys everything that the game offers and will end up buying all the Expansions down the line, I would recommend getting Premium as you make yourself a little saving and get extra content as it comes.
Close Quarters is available now on the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.