Is it worth going Back to Karkand?

So the new Battlefield 3 DLC has been out for over a week now, and I’ve had a chance to really sink my teeth into it.  I didn’t preorder the game but still somehow managed to get a “Limited Edition” copy, so my Back to Karkand expansion pack was free of charge.  If you’re in the same boat, download it now.  If not, you’ll have to fork out $14.99 for it.  So is it worth it?  My answer is a resounding yes, and here’s why:

The Maps

This DLC comes with four new maps.  As many of you already know, I’m pretty much addicted to Battlefield 3 to the extent that junkies take a break from gobbling down Oxycontins to tell me I have a problem.  I always thought it would be Skyrim that addicted me to the point of no return, but so far those Elder Scrolls have sat neglected on my shelf under a veil of dust.  On more than one occasion I’ve played BF3 until the sun came up, methodically tweaking my classes to perfection and obsessively checking my stats in the battlelog.  So any opportunity to get more maps to play on is an opportunity I’ll jump at.  But for those out there that might not be as obsessed as I am, and thus are still considering the purchase, do know that these maps are some of the best you’ll play on.  They are all set in the Middle East, but instead of the drab brown you’d expect to wash over you, you’ll instead be presented with beautifully rendered maps lush with palm trees and coastline, with amazingly rendered Mosques and the rubble of towns to fight over.

This level is "Wake Island", absolutely my favorite of the bunch...

And not only are they great to look at, but they are designed in a way that makes Rush play tremendously tactical and strategic, drawing the lines between the two sides and the fights all the more dynamic.  For example, Wake Island (above) forces the battles into a bottleneck which makes for some of the most frantic and insane fighting I’ve seen in a game to date.  Even if it was just the maps alone it would be worth it, but the DLC also comes with some other little perks, like:

The Guns

Back to Karkand introduces ten new weapons to the game, and each are fantastic.  I was left sorely disappointed that the French bullpup FAMAS didn’t make it into the BF3 release, so you can imagine my surprise when one of my favorite assault rifles of all time was now available.

Yeah, it's sick.

We also get a helical-underbarrel SMG (the PP-19), a duel-drum mag LMG (which I’ve never before seen in a video game), and what seems to be the most used gun in the game currently, the HK53 (a modified version of the MP5).  The PP-19 is great to see in a game, especially because I touched on a cousin of it in my article Two Strange Guns from one Strange (Russian) Developer, and adds a cool new dynamic to the SMG class; namely that it carries 55 rounds instead of the typical 20-30.  The two new LMGs seem to be more portable and crazier, pushing me to run-and-gun a little with them al la the end of Rambo: First Blood.  And though I haven’t unlocked any of the sniper rifles because I’m just a terrible sniper, I do feel quite competent with the L85A2, the newest in the assault class, along with the FAMAS.  I really wanted to see the L85A2 be introduced in a game, and had been a little disappointed by its absence in both MW3 and BF3, especially since it is the standard assault rifle of the British Army.  It’s pretty great, and I think they did a great job with the new guns; the balance was kept, but new elements were introduced.  But possibly the best, and most fun, aspect of the weapons is the way that you earn them, via:

The Assignments

The assignments are an awesome addition to the game.  At first I was a little daunted by them and thought they would be prohibitive, the only thing standing in my way towards using some of those great guns.  But in actuality they are quite doable, though somewhat challenging at times.

This is my current progress, as of this posting.

The FAMAS they basically hand to you, and others aren’t as difficult as they are just time consuming.  But the Engineer class is a class unto itself in regards to difficulty.  They up the ante by requiring some strange (and as far as I was concerned, unknown) uses of the repair torch.  The first weapon to unlock in this class requires you to kill someone with the repair torch.  I accomplished this by being in the right place at the right time.  I stumbled upon a sniper and instead of instinctively knifing him, I put the torch to his back.  It killed him rather quickly, so it wasn’t terribly difficult.  But then I noticed to unlock the second weapon I had to destroy an enemy vehicle with the torch.  Trust me, this proves to be far more difficult though it’s not impossible.  What I did was get into a faceoff with an enemy tank.  When I had blasted it enough to disable it and get it burning, I jumped out and began torching it.  I tried this a number of times previously and was killed every time, but for whatever reason I got lucky and was able to destroy the vehicle.  It killed me, but at least I got it done.  Don’t get discouraged, and don’t make it the sole focus of your games until you get it.  Just be on the lookout for the opportunity and take it when it presents itself.  If you stay alert, you should have it within the hour.

Overall, the assignments are a lot of fun to work toward getting, and give you some fun goals and objectives to work on while you play.

EDIT* I have been informed, though I have not confirmed, that you can get the “torch an enemy vehicle” requirement by torching an enemy’s mortar.  If this is true, it will make this challenge tons easier.
The DLC also comes with some new vehicles and enhanced destructability to the buildings, which just makes it that much more worth it.  If you own BF3 and intend to play it for a while, and at the very least like it better than MW3, I can’t recommend this purchase enough to you.  It really will expand your game in great ways, and when you find yourself mowing people down on Wake Island during a game of Rush, you’ll thank me.  Go out, get it today, and tell me what your favorite aspect of it is in the comments below!

5 Responses to “Is it worth going Back to Karkand?”

  1. Good post.

    I have only played on Wake Island and that was last week. I love that map and they seem to have done it justice with the ‘new’ version. I’d play more of the expansion if wasn’t for Christmas and Skyrim.

    I didn’t even realise there were new weapons included until I read this!

  2. Die Waffe ist aber auch scheinbar in echt zieicmlh heftig. Die war schon in Jagged Alliance 2 eine der ste4rksten und pre4ziesesten Waffen. Klar, dass die erstmal auch so ins game eingebaut wird. Ist sowieso relativ egal mit welchen Waffen man loszieht, wenn man sich mal die Statistiken der Waffen ansieht, stellt sich raus, dass die meisten Waffen der gleichen Gattung nur wenig in den relevanten Eigenschaften Unterscheiden.

  3. It’s really cool that Treyarch decided to include this as a bonus
    because they could have easily sold it in the Play – Station Store as a $4.

    Car arcade games are the perfect games for those of us who just love experiencing the thrill and
    excitement of driving a fast car, but don’t want to actually do it and risk hurting
    ourselves. We worked and planned, had a few meetings, but we had
    no money to pay for the development so nothing ever came of it.

  4. Spot on with this write-up, I seriously believe this website needs a
    great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the advice!


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