It’s a common trend to release map packs as DLC (downloadable content) for popular online shooters and keeping that trend in mind, DICE have released the Back to Karkand pack for Battlefield 3. If you preordered the game or picked up the Limited edition, this DLC comes absolutely free, but if you haven’t, you’ll have to shell out Rs. 600 for it and it is most definitely worth the price.

The Back to Karkand DLCS packs in four Battlefield 2 maps – Strike at Karkand, Sharqi Peninsula, Gulf of Oman, and Wake Island – all fully revamped with the Frostbite 2 engine. The layout of the land may be the same (except for Wake Island), but thanks to DICE’s new engine; every battle gets extremely intense within a matter of seconds, courtesy of the game’s mental environmental destruction that by the way is more prominent than it was in Battlefield 3. This also means the game’s heavier on your system, so if you had issues running Battlefield 3, you’ll experience some slowdowns with this map pack as well.

Why hello thar!

Why hello thar!

Each map is massive and it’s clear from the get go that they are meant for 64 players. You do have smaller 32 player variant as well, but all of them shine in a 64 player Conquest mode. Since maps are so big, there’s a huge emphasis on using vehicles to quickly travel between points. Run around on foot and you’ll not only take ages to run from one point to another but you’ll also be putting yourself at tremendous risk since the air is now full of skilled pilots baying for your blood. Unfortunately, such huge maps also create more campers, especially since in nearly every map there are tons of buildings players can enter. Yes, you can level some of these buildings completely with your tank, but the fact of the matter is that there are far more campers in this map packs than there were in the base game.

You’ll spend a large chunk of your time playing the same game modes you did in Battlefield 3 with the addition of Conquest Assault, a new mode where one team spawns controlling all points, while the opposition has to capture them before the timer and their tickets run out. It’s a refreshing and not to mention an intense experience as it puts a lot of pressure on the attacking team from the get go.

Bringing down the house - literally

Bringing down the house – literally

The Back to Karkand pack also introduces new weapons, but unlike the base game where you were rewarded certain weapons at a particular rank, you’ll have to work towards unlocking them by fulfilling certain conditions. Initially these conditions are fairly simple like healing or reviving 20 people but soon you realise you have to kill someone with a heating torch or mortar a few people and that’s when the challenge really kicks in. This is definitely an interesting addition to the series and I for one hope DICE add more of these assignments in the future.

This map pack is pretty hefty in size (2.5GB), but that’s because it’s also bundled with a patch that fixes a few niggles, but leaves the door open for more. For starters, why can’t I see my assignments during the loading screen instead of staring at a static menu for nearly thirty seconds while the map rotates? Also one of the assignments requires a few kills with the under slung grenade launcher, which basically means everyone needs to noob tube to unlock that weapon. Some of the new weapons introduced in the map pack, particularly the Famas also seem a bit overpowered.

Your new assignments

Your new assignments

At the end of it, your decision to buy this map pack depends on how much you like Battlefield 3. If you can’t get enough of this game, the new maps are an added incentive to keep playing it online. The new maps look good, offer new weapons, a ton of destruction and place an even heavier emphasis on team work. They may be a bit heavy on your system, but if you’re packing the right hardware, you’ll have a blast with the Back to Karkand map pack.

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