Close Quarters DLC First Impressions

#1 Posted by Hunger (19 posts) -

I played about 3 or 4 hours of Battlefield 3 and the new Close Quarters DLC expansion for PS3 today. To get CQ right now (because of a 2 week early access period), you have to buy Battlefield Premium, which is a one-time fee, and I paid for it because it's convenient to purchase all the DLCs at once, I couldn't give two farts about any of the exclusive camos, dogtags and whatnot.   

Even after a few hours of play on the 4 new maps and the 3 "new" game modes (they're just variants save for Gun Master aka Gun Game), it's hard to form a solid opinion as to how I feel. The maps in Close Quarters feel incredibly tiny in comparison to the other maps from Back to Karkand and the base game, and even with the 16 player limit the amount of crap flying all over the place is ridiculous. Never in a Battlefield game before have I spawned at the very beginning of the game to walk to a map I spawned next to and suddenly already see enemies contesting my flag that I haven't actually captured yet. You really did get what you paid for, when they call it "Close Quarters", DICE means it. 
  
On the flip side, the reduced player count and smaller maps brings a much-faster pace to the game. Gameplay becomes more in the vein of Call of Duty, with people running and gunning for their lives and live on average for about 10 seconds at time. I know a lot of people (as seen by the sales figures of recent Call of Duty games) enjoy this sort of frantic, instant action type of gameplay, and I know a lot of people don't. I'm sort of in the middle, the intensity is exciting, but a lot of the cheap deaths the average player encounters when playing Close Quarters is absolutely frustrating. I don't know about you, but when I play Battlefield, I normally don't get mad for screwing up. There's not a lot of bullshit involved. When you screw up, you really did screw up, and you paid the price by dying. Close Quarters throws that out of the window and replaces it mildly satisfying but totally frustrating bursts of gameplay. 
  
With the new maps comes game modes tailored for them, and I have to say, despite some of the maps' shortcomings, the game modes are suited for it. In "Conquest Domination" (you can tell DICE stopped trying to not blatantly copy others), players capture flags at a much faster rate, and tickets bleed quite quickly, too. It further encourages the fast-paced action that the DLC promotes, as it should. However, what irks me about Conquest Domination is that the time it takes to go from contesting and enemy flag to fully capturing it for your team is far too short. I'm talking about the neutral "white zone" of the flag capture process. It literally goes by in a blink of an eye, meaning those satisfying fights for the flag while it's in neutral state are basically gone. The second new game mode in Close Quarters is "Team Deathmatch C" (which I assume stands for "Close") is merely Team Deathmatch but locked down to 16 players for CQ maps only. 
 
The final game mode, is "Gun Master", which is DICE's take on the classic "Gun Game" from the good ol' Counter-Strike days, or for the younger audience, from the good ol' days of last year with Black Ops. All players start off with a pistol and, instead of a single kill, players need two kills (DICE getting real creative) to rank up to the next "tier" of weaponry. Gameplay is again, chaotic but quite fun. Of the three game modes introduced in Close Quarters, this is probably the most fun, but it's very hit and miss. Theoretically, everyone starts off at the same playing level, and the skilled really excel, which is fine, but most of the time I'm matched into games that are already underway in which I'm getting mowed down by machine guns while I start off with just the MP443 pistol (which is not to say is a bad weapon, but does not compare to a primary weapon). In addition, what irks me is the endgame of Gun Master. When you play, there are two teams of 8 players, and then you guys play it out like a team deathmatch game, only everyone is racing to kill with all of the tiers of weaponry. However, when you finish the match, you might be surprised to find that you lost. Why is that? Well, the true winners are those that got the farthest in the weapon tiers. Sure, you can grab tons of assists and help out your team, but in the end, it's every man for himself. It's misleading to see Gun Master as a team-based game because of whether you win or lose is determined in a very free-for-all way, it's whoever got the highest in the tiers. Why not just make it free-for-all in the first place? Fuck teamwork if there's just going to be people abusing my help. 
 
Maps and game modes aside, Close Quarters also brings 10 new weapons to the table. I've unlocked two of the ten so far, but after playing Gun Master I've basically shot and killed with all of them at this point. The new guns compliment Gun Master as almost all of them show up at some point in the list of weapons you use during the game, and they're all fun to use. New stuff to unlock and new weapons to master help drive the longevity of this game. The ten new weapons include 2 for each class and 2 weapons usable for every class, and unlocked through "Assignments" just like Back to Karkand's ten weapons. The objectives required to unlock the guns are not as ridiculous (fuck the win 5 Squad Deathmatch objective from the last expansion), promote team play and have satisfaction towards them because the guns you unlock are actually pretty awesome, with varying pros and cons for each one (not all of them are suited for close quarters combat, even). 
 
In the end, I feel like playing the game on the Close Quarters maps is a very hit-and-miss experience, as sometimes you feel the intensity, and sometimes you feel like flipping out over all the rage it produces. The new game modes (for people that enjoy that type of gameplay) and the new weapons are a welcome edition, and they (like the Back to Karkand weapons) can be used outside of Close Quarters maps, so there's that. Also, if you're thinking of buying all the DLC packs that will come out anyways, you might as well shell out the money up front and seal the deal on the DLCs so you won't have to think about it when they come out.   
 
If you have any questions (because you don't have a PS3 and/or Premium) about Close Quarters or Premium, I'll be happy to answer them. Otherwise, what do y'all think of the new expansion? 
 
tl;dr maps promote CoD-esque fights, new game modes are aight, guns are hella tight.

#2 Edited by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

That was a great read, thank you.  
Personally I will use the Close Quarters maps as a new way to raise hell during the GiantBomb CrazyNight on our dedicated BF3 server, otherwise I'm sure I'll get sick of those maps 5 minutes in. Then again, the tight continuous clusterfuck action might be a fun change every once in a while from my perpetual and eternal life goal to capture flags on big maps.

The final game mode, is "Gun Master", which is DICE's take on the classic "Gun Game" from the good ol' Counter-Strike days, or for the younger audience, from the good ol' days of last year with Black Ops. All players start off with a pistol and, instead of a single kill, players need two kills (DICE getting real creative) to rank up

^ That was hilarious 

However, what irks me about Conquest Domination is that the time it takes to go from contesting and enemy flag to fully capturing it for your team is far too short. I'm talking about the neutral "white zone" of the flag capture process. It literally goes by in a blink of an eye, meaning those satisfying fights for the flag while it's in neutral state are basically gone. 

 Ever since I started following the game's news over a year ago, my biggest worry was that Conquest was going to turn into this instant control point battle that goes back and forth between the two teams without any longevity or meaning to the fights within it. 
If I wanna think of my all time favorite Battlefield 2 memory? I'd think of all the amazing, looooong and vicious battles the US and Chinese forces had over the South Docks flag on Dalian Plant. The Chinese would be sprinting and driving over from the warehouse (Maintenance Building), the American would be flying over from the carrier and the Reactor Towers flag, and a fight over one flag would go on and on until one of the two teams is victorious. 
 
When I saw Close Quarters for the first time, I thought DICE were closing in on absolutely killing the meaning of Conquest. That beautiful experience. But luckily, a few 7-flagged ARMORED KILL screenshots showed me the best map design I've seen in the game yet! 
#3 Posted by Hunger (19 posts) -

I'm sure I'll get sick of those maps 5 minutes in. Then again, the tight continuous clusterfuck action might be a fun change every once in a while from my perpetual and eternal life goal to capture flags on big maps.

Which is why for now, it's good fun in short bursts. I can already foresee people running their servers with 500% tickets for constant chaotic gameplay, and that's sickening. As of right now, the length of a Conquest Domination match using normal rules is just enough to be intense without being brutally dull at the same time. 
 
 

a fight over one flag would go on and on until one of the two teams is victorious. 

In Battlefield 3, you kind of still have that, although I'd say they're more "stalemates" than what was experienced in the constant tug-of-wars between flags in BF2. The game has definitely strayed far from its roots, but the roots are still there. It's a good thing Conquest Domination is only a separate game mode from regular Conquest or Conquest Large, and is only available on Close Quarters maps, which is basically what the game mode was designed for, and it works to an extent. 
 
As for Armored Kill, I'm definitely more excited for that than I was prior to purchasing Close Quarters. DICE pretty much delivered what they advertised with CQ, literally close quarters chaotic combat, and I'm hoping they'll deliver straight-up awesome vehicular combat with AK. Classic Conquest can still be saved if Armored Kill does well. Unfortunately I'll be playing the 5 flags variant as it's limited to that on consoles :/
#4 Posted by wardcleaver (173 posts) -

Thanks for that.  I apperciate the detail breakdown of the modes. 
 
I am still on the fence about getting the CQ DLC, though. 
#5 Posted by Talis12 (488 posts) -

i got Premium for PC and im unlocking the guns and dogtags atm.. i havent played the Close Quarters maps and new game modes yet because, theres no servers that run them.. are the maps even out for PC yet? its kind of silly i cant even finish some assignments because i cant play the gamemodes it requires

#6 Posted by Hunger (19 posts) -
@sideshow said:

are the maps even out for PC yet? its kind of silly i cant even finish some assignments because i cant play the gamemodes it requires

They are not. Due to an exclusivity deal with Sony, all Battlefield 3 DLC expansions will be available on the PS3 first. With Premium, PS3 players get a 2 week early access period, while non-Premium PS3 players get it a week earlier than every other console.
#7 Posted by Redsox44 (485 posts) -

Nice write up. Think I'll skip this one since I'm not getting Premium. Armored Kill looks much better.

@AhmadMetallic said:

But luckily, a few 7-flagged ARMORED KILL screenshots showed me the best map design I've seen in the game yet!

Damn I wish I had a PC good enough for this game. Thank god 360 version isn't terrible. I plan to be fully prepared for the best version of the next Battlefield. ( Hopefully 2143 )

#8 Posted by Jackel2072 (2269 posts) -

i am looking forward to playing CQ. i like some TDM every now and then, and the stock maps just really dont work well for TDM. so im hoping these maps will. and if it does suck? oh well all the new guns are pretty sweet.

#9 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

As always - Gamersyde has extremely beautiful 1080p 60FPS vids of the PC version of the Close Quarters DLC (download the vid for the full effect). Damn does it run smooth and look clean, if you've got high-high-end rig. Sadly, I'm not quite running it at max fidelity.

Looking forward to getting my code-in-a-box version of Battlefield Premium sometime later this month.

#10 Posted by Shakezula84 (443 posts) -

I've really enjoyed the close quarters maps. While I'm not a fan of the Call of Duty style of MP anymore, having a bite of that in my Battlefield game is acceptable to me. And really, by doing this DICE has kept its promise with its DLC packs being more like expansions. I know when I'm playing the base game, Back to Karkand, and Close Quarters. They all feel different. I can't wait for the future expansions (although Aftermath I'm least excited for).

#11 Posted by boj4ngles (287 posts) -

The new guns in Close Quarters are great, but the new maps suck for anything other than Gun Master. Gun Master is awesome though.

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