Review

Battlefield 3: Armored Kill (PC)

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Most people would think of Battlefield 3’s latest expansion, Armored Kill, as a return to the franchise’s roots. Jets flying overhead while tanks destroy everything in their path below and infantry try their best not to be seen – that’s what Battlefield is all about! Except Armored Kill isn’t just a return to the game’s roots. It takes those roots, welds steroids onto their armoured exteriors and delivers an experience unlike any other.

While Back to Karkand had the nostalgia of many long-time fans on its side and Close Quarters set out to prove that fast-paced, adrenaline-filled combat can be found in Battlefield as well, Armored Kill looks you straight in the eye and says: “This is war.”

Battlefield 3: Armored Kill Screenshot 2

The four massive new maps on offer as well as the assortment of new vehicles will see players traversing arid deserts, snowy mountains and enormous fields while they fight for victory in the classic Conquest and Rush modes. Armored Kill also introduces a new game mode to the mix called ‘Tank Superiority.’

As the name suggests, each team is given a healthy dosage of tanks with which to murder things and is unleashed onto the battlefield to try and control a single point on the map. Good situational awareness is key if players want to keep their tanks – and themselves – in good condition.

Battlefield 3 - Armored Kill Alborz Mountain

What good would an expansion focused on huge maps be if it didn’t introduce the biggest map ever in Battlefield history? The first of the four new maps in Armored Kill is exactly that. Bandar Desert is over twice the size of vanilla Battlefield 3s Caspian Border. I wouldn’t blame you if the first thing that came to your mind was “A giant desert? Well that doesn’t sound fun.” Bandar Desert is anything but a bland mass of sand, though.

Construction sites and residential areas can be found dotting the outside of the map, while an artillery base surrounded by sand, dunes and a sprawling highway dominate the centre of the map. Rocky mountains and cliffs ensure that the action is funnelled into certain points so that there’s never a dull moment.

Battlefield 3 - Armored Kill Alborz Mountain

Make sure to dress warmly for your trip to Armored Kill’s next map! Alborz Mountains is an eye-popping level that showcases the snowy mountains of Northern Iran as well as the beauty of the surrounding nature. It truly is a spectacle to behold and is a genuine showcase of the power of the Frostbite 2 engine. The tricky terrain makes it a perfect map to try out some of your helicopter and jet skills.

The biggest attraction of Armored Kill’s next map, Death Valley, is that it’s at night. The highway overpass setting makes it ideal for land vehicles and infantry. Darkness makes the various explosions and battles that much more impactful, and makes it easier for those pesky infantry to sneak through the enemy’s defences.

Concluding the list of outstanding Armored Kill maps is Armored Shield, set in the fields of the Russian countryside. Aside from missing a ‘u’ in its name, it’s a rather forgetful map that still gets the job done. Infantry will have a tough time surviving in the large open fields, so getting into a vehicle is a priority.

Battlefield 3: Armored Kill Screenshot 1

New maps aren’t the only things that Armored Kill offers. Premium players will get five new gold-plated dogtags – achieved by completing assignments – to show off to their friends and foes. There are also five Armored Kill-specific assignments that, for the first time, award new items to be used for vehicles, rather than the customary new guns.

“No new guns?” I hear you shout? Not to worry, Armored Kill is all about the vehicles after all. Vanilla Battlefield 3’s tanks were a force to be reckoned with, but now they have to contend with the aptly named ‘tank destroyers.’ These lightly armoured vehicles are perfect for transporting troops quickly around the battlefield and are even capable of taking down the mighty tank with a few shots.

Anyone who saw the Armored Kill launch trailer would have immediately lost control of their jaw at the sight of the AC-130 that made its debut. This behemoth is capable of laying down fire to both air and land units, but its predictable flight pattern and weak armour make it an easy target for enemy jets and missiles. Finally, for all those infantry looking to get to the action as soon as possible is the quad bike. It has no guns and no armour, but man, can it move!

Battlefield 3: Armored Kill Screenshot 5

Armored Kill is a near-perfect offering. The size of the maps can sometimes be a nuisance if players are left stranded with no vehicle. This makes teamwork extremely important, and teams who help each other out will almost always end up on top. Another issue is map size and player count. On PC the action never stops as there is always something to do when there are 64 players in a server.

Those playing on the smaller 24-player console servers, however, will find that matches can go on for a long time without ever meeting an enemy player. This is a small nuisance, though, which does little damage to an otherwise stellar expansion.


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