Get back into it.
Dice’s first add-on to Battlefield 3 are remakes of four multiplayer maps from previous Battlefield games. These aren’t just a re-issue of the same old maps though, they have been completely rebuilt and remastered for Dice’s stunning, new Frostbite 2 engine. While they’re pretty, and free if you pre-ordered and got the Limited Edition, do they justify the $14.99 price tag?
The Back to Karkand Map Pack features four maps; Strike at Karkand, Gulf of Oman, Wake Island and Sharqi Peninsula. If you’re a hardcore Battlefield fan you may remember these maps. Or you may not, seeing as they look miles and miles better than the originals thanks to Frostbite 2.
But since you’ve been playing Battlefield 3, you know how good they were going to look so let’s look at how they play. With the exception of Wake Island, these maps tend to focus on urban areas. Strike at Karkand is the best example of this and will please players who love building to building fighting. The flags in Conquest mode are spaced closely causing a lot of intense firefights and back and forth gameplay. Despite being light on vehicles this was my favorite map, since I love Conquest.
Gulf of Oman offers a full Battlefield experience with the U.S forces spawn being on an aircraft carrier out in the gulf. You can grab a jet or helo from the deck or hit the beach on a boat launched below decks. A nice touch. Much like Sharqi Peninsula, this map has some outlying areas, such as the beach, but the core of the action is in series of half-finished buildings with multiple levels.
Lastly we have Wake Island, the bad apple in my opinion. While I was initially stunned at how big this map was (it’s huge), that quickly became the reason I didn’t like it. Wake Island is wide open with only a few structures. You’ll often find yourself running for a mile or more down the island’s only without much to look at or hide behind. Your choices often come down to jumping down to the beach, which offers even less cover, or going prone and sniping. Battlefield 3 does look so good that you may find yourself staring at the grass at times, but Wake Island will make you sick of that quite quickly.
You’re not only getting maps with Back to Karkand, there are also ten new weapons, three new vehicles, new camo and new dog tags.
The Back to Karkand Map Pack does add five achievements to Battlefield 3 and they’re all for doing interesting things within the DLC. My favorite is Complete Warrior which is unlocked for getting a kill with an Assault Rifle, a Jet and a Tank all without dying.
Though I could have done without Wake Island, the Back to Karkand Map Pack delivers some great maps that are designed perfectly in line with the Battlefield style. It was great of EA to offer this for free to early adopters but those who pay for Back to Karkand won’t be disappointed.