Battlefield 3: Armored Kill DLC review

battlefield 3 armored kill dlc review  1

Look, Close Quarters was alarming. DICE took the framework of Battlefield 3 and dropped it into a set of maps built for small-team engagements. Tight confines, few open spaces, zero vehicles. It appealed to a certain type of shooter fan, no doubt, but it didn’t tap into what Battlefield excels at as a series: grand-scale warfare.

Enter Armored Kill. For its second DLC release in 2012, DICE gives the fans what they want. The maps are massive and they’re filled with all sorts of new vehicles. You’ve got tank-killers. Mobile artillery and anti-air. An AC-130 gunship. If it can cut a wide swath of destruction on a battlefield, it’s probably in this expansion pack. Premium subscribers get the new content for free — and they already have it, in fact — but the rest of the gaming world has the option of buying it a la carte on September 18 for PlayStation, or one week later on September 25 for Xbox 360 and PC.

The four new maps are as sprawling as you’d expect them to be for this vehicle-focused affair, with “Bandar Desert” being the largest of the bunch and, what’s more, the largest in the history of the series. That one and “Armored Shield,” set in a bombed out section of the Russian countryside, offer the most open spaces. If your idea of a perfect Battlefield match involves a three-wide line of tanks speeding up and down over rolling hills, you can certainly get it in those locations.

battlefield 3 armored kill dlc review  2The other two new locations are “Death Valley” and “Alborz Mountains.” They’re both sprawling environments with lots of ground for players to explore, but they’re also more constrained in some ways due to the mountainous terrain. You’ll crunch through many forested areas in your heavy vehicles, and seek cover under those same trees when the gunshipsFifa starts raining hell down from above.

How about those vehicles? The AC-130 is a beast of a flying fortress, circling the maps repeatedly for whichever team controls a specific point (or simply for the attackers in Rush games). It’s very powerful, with fixed anti-vehicle and anti-infantry emplacements plus two anti-air defense turrets that anyone can jump into, but that power is balanced by minimal armor and the fact that it sticks to a set flight path.

The rest of the vehicles simply add more depth to the armored portion of the game, as everything that’s new is grounded in concepts that players of the core game are probably familiar with. The mobile artillery vehicles amount to giant mortars, though a newly upgraded leveling system eventually allows you to unlock close-quarters defenses for the otherwise unprotected trucks. Wheeled tank-killers offer increased movement and firepower for taking on the heaviest armor on the field, though at the cost of some protection. Quad bikes also make a return from Bad Company 2, offering ground infantry a quick way to zip into combat.

The maps all support Conquest and Rush, but the DLC pack brings a new mode as well: Tank Superiority. Essentially a King of the Hill match, the new mode puts one control point in the center of the map that two teams fight over. There’s no gunship in this mode, and so the focus is really on trading cannon shells and mortar fire back and forth.

Battlefield 3 - Armored Kill review 3Much like Close Quarters, Armored Kill is laser-focused on a particular niche style of Battlefield play. Where the previous DLC favored assault classes almost exclusively, Armored Kill matches are populated almost entirely by engineers. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, though some would argue that the great strength of the Battlefield series is its ability to deliver a multi-faceted warzone where infantry fights alongside armor fights alongside air support. Close Quarters cut that out entirely by design; Armored Kill cuts it out more by necessity.

Console players get it the worst too due to the significantly smaller maximum player count in a given room as compared to the PC version of the game. You just don’t get the same sense of epic warfare with 24 players running around these sprawling maps as you do with the 64 on the PC side. Armored Kill also returns to the era of camping your team’s deployment point as you wait for vehicles to spawn.

Armored Kill is at its best when you’re playing with a large group that knows how to communicate. That’s really true for Battlefield in general, but it applies moreso now than ever due to the focus on heavy vehicles and long-distance engagements. It’s my favorite DLC pack released so far for Battlefield 3, but it’s also very easy to end up in a horribly unbalanced room where one team simply can’t get its act together. Overall, I’d say the new DLC offers more welcome improvements than Close Quarters did, but you should still prepare yourself for plenty of frustrating match-ups as well.

(This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360 on a copy provided by EA)

Gaming

New ‘Battlefield V’ patch gives Nvidia’s ray tracing support a chance to shine

‘Battlefield V’ is the first game to use Nvidia’s ray tracing support, now available with the RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti graphics cards. The feature can, in an ideal scenario, make the game look better, but the performance hit may not be…
Gaming

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.
Gaming

Relive Nintendo’s handheld golden age with the 25 best Game Boy Advance games

The Game Boy Advance was the swan song of the Game Boy era. It also happened to have a boatload of amazing games. We decided to countdown our 25 favorite GBA games. Check it out and let us know your favorites in the comments below!
Gaming

Break the rules and bust a move to complete the 'Fortnite' dance challenge

Fortnite season 7 has finally arrived along with a chilly breeze. New maps, new locations, and, of course, new challenges are here. The biggest of the week 1 challenges is the Fortnite forbidden dance locations and we've got all of the…
Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Gaming

These are the best video games you shouldn't leave 2018 without

Developers showed up with a number of amazing games this year. Each capitalized on something unique but there's always one that outdoes them all. Here are our picks for the best video games of 2018 and game of the year.
Gaming

Skateboarding legend says ‘Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam’ will appeal to his fans

Tony Hawk's Skate Jam is now available for free on iOS and Android devices, and Digital Trends had the chance to talk to the legendary skater about its development and how it captures the magic of his best games.
Gaming

How do Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X compare to each other? We find out

The Nintendo Switch is innovative enough to stand apart from traditional consoles, but could it become your primary gaming system? How does the Switch stack up against the Xbox One?
Gaming

Cops called to handle ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ noise end up playing the game

A group of friends were playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate on the Nintendo Switch when cops arrived to respond to noise complaints from neighbors. In an unexpected twist, the officers ended up playing the game, too.
Gaming

The third DLC for ‘Spider-Man’ swings onto PlayStation 4 next week

The third part of Spider-Man's episodic DLC, Silver Lining, releases on December 21. The episode focuses on Silver Sable and Hammerhead, and it includes three new suits for Peter Parker.
Gaming

Spawn creator suggests the antihero could appear in ‘Mortal Kombat 11’

Spawn creator Todd McFarlane hinted that the comic book antihero could join the cast of Mortal Kombat 11 during a Reddit AMA. Spawn previously appeared in SoulCalibur II on the original Xbox.
Gaming

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.
Gaming

Grabbing a Switch for the holidays? Here's what you need to know to play online

If you want to play online multiplayer on Switch, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Here's what you need to know about Nintendo Switch Online, from price to features to the awesome library of NES games.
Gaming

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.