previews\ Mar 14, 2012 at 9:10 am

Battlefield 3: Close Quarters preview

Electronic Arts took center stage at GDC to give press a sneak peak at Battlefield 3: Close Quarters, along with new details on the third downloadable content in “Armored Kill” and a late fourth quarter release of “End Game.” After selling more than 12 million units and giving EA its first true competitor to the Call of Duty series, it’s expected that the upcoming DLC are critical in keeping the Battlefield fanbase at bay.

The biggest announcement coming away from the press showing is that EA is allowing players the ability to rent a sever on the consoles to help improve their online sessions. This effectively will allow players the chance to create their own custom servers and set them up as they see fit.

While details on the two follow-up packs (Armored Kill and End Game) later this year are bleak, it was stated in passing that Armored Kill will pave way for more giant, open maps that will allow for more tank on tank warfare. End Game was briefly mentioned, but no details were revealed. As for Close Quarters, we got a close look at what to expect with hands-on impressions, and it’s looking brilliant for fans of smaller maps.

It’s easy to figure out from the naming of the downloadable content that Close Quarters will employ several maps that pit players in tight spaces, strategizing as if they were infantry. The second of four expansions, Close Quarters has the responsibility of bridging the gap from December till September, when Armored Kill, the antithesis of Close Quarters, is expected to release.

New weapons include the ACW-R carbine, L68LSW machine gun, M5K machine pistol, and M417 sniper rifle. Avoiding the sniper rifle while in-game due to the smaller maps with not many alleys for open range, the rest of the weapons acted accordingly — especially the carbine. Speaking about the maps, I was only capable of jumping in one match that was in a large luxury business office of sorts. It was cleverly laid out with destructible walls and a lot of cover for blindfire. For the most part, the close-quarters combat resembled the gameplay of Call of Duty with quicker deaths, faster battles, and a lot of bottlenecking to control the opposing team on the map.

Set up against other journalists and supposed DICE testers, there were two times were I was dropped from the match due to connection issues. I don’t imagine this will be a problem for release, but it should be noted. Although, when I was able to play, the match didn’t have any problems with animation clipping or bugs. It ran particularly smooth; if there was any dip in framerate, it was unnoticeable.

At a price of $14.99 with 10 new weapons, 10 new player assignments, and four new maps, Battlefield 3: Close Quarters should warm the hearts of fans looking to feed their FPS craving. The press showing was only a tease of what’s to come, but it looks like EA has their ducks in a row to keep Battlefield in the range of popularity of Call of Duty.

On a sidenote, PlayStation 3 owners will receive Close Quarters a week earlier than other platforms due to the one-week exclusivity agreement between Electronic Arts and Sony.

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