Battlefield 3: Aftermath DLC Review
DICE is consistent, you have to give them that.
Where most developers would perhaps phone in their later DLC packs, the Battlefield 3 developer has continued to provide support regularly throughout the game’s lifetime – even if that support does sometimes result in the ire of BF3 fans.
So here we are with Aftermath, the latest Battlefield 3 DLC pack and what looks to be the penultimate expansion for the game. But is this a hurried pack, or has DICE gone and done it again?
We look at each of the parts of this Aftermath content to find out:
This is Epicentre, the one with the dinosaur Easter egg.
Aftermath Map: Epicentre
This is quite easily the centrepiece of the BF3 DLC, and though it doesn’t offer much in the way of unique structures or locations, it’s the wreckage that makes it most compelling.
A long highway stretches across the distance of the map, ruined by the earthquake and creating a series of funnels through the destruction.
Not only does it make for a visually intriguing section – the wreckage at capture point C is pretty special the first time you see it – but it provides a variety of options on how to tackle it.
Do you carefully pass through the lower tunnels or will you risk the wide-open ground above to cross to the other side of the road?
It’s well designed, and with only four capture points in Conquest mode there’s no option for a stalemate either: you will have to head across that road at some point.
There’s a Trophy unlocked for anyone who can spot the dinosaur Easter egg that you all so desperately wanted too.
Here’s Azadi Palace, featuring the new gameplay mode Scavenger.
Aftermath Map: Azadi Palace
This is one of the larger maps in this DLC and – visually at least – offers plenty more to see. Towering skyscrapers lean against one another, while the entire map is filled with mounds of rubble.
The centre of the map is the money shot, though, which features a two-storey palace decimated by the earthquake. Exploring this needs a knowledge of every corner, and there’s plenty of offshoots or locations to flank around.
Despite the size, however, it only provides a pair of infantry vehicles – the new Barsuk that comes fitted with a grenade launcher. This isn’t so bad though since a large part of the gameplay is focused on the central palace, giving drivers the opportunity to circle the arena like some kind of explosive vulture.
Get a skilled enough driver behind the wheels of one of these and they’ll even be able to guide the truck through the second floor of the palace itself – which can make for some very interesting manoeuvres.
It’s a keenly designed map, however, with debris or periphery placed in considered locations, ensuring defenders are never left on the back foot while attackers don’t have to face too arduous a task.
Watch as we dominate the enemy in Talah Market.
Aftermath Map: Talah Market
Though it doesn’t look it, Talah Market has a lot of unique attributes about it. The level layout is most interesting, however, with a very square design that splits the combat evenly.
It’s infantry led, mostly, which means there’s often very little distance to cover when searching for a battle. The streets intertwine too, ensuring you keep moving or spend the entire match watching your back.
Best of all are the rooftops, which provide a unique sense of verticality. Many of the buildings are single-storey, so it’s not immediately natural to expect an attack from above.
Many of the roofs are connected, too, giving you more than enough opportunities to – literally – get the drop on your enemies.
There’s a decent aesthetic variety to the map as a whole, too, though like the rest of the Aftermath DLC maps it is stained the same shade of brown.
Finally here’s Markaz Monolith, which starts with a James Bond leap from a helicopter.
Aftermath Map: Markaz Monolith
The name of this suggests a little bit more grandeur than the resulting map, and unfortunately this is the weakest of the lot. This has been true of every Battlefield 3 DLC map pack, in fact; there’s always been one that lets the side down, even if it is slightly.
The monolith section of the map – which is in fact a derelict mall – is the focus here, so much so that the remaining sections feel a little nondescript. A central bridge connects to two halves of the map together, which crosses over a wide road below.
The monolith itself spans multiple levels, making for a very interesting battleground. The numerous nooks created by the debris means it’s never too easy to hunker down inside here, and the multiple entrances ensures you’ll need to be aware.
But outside of that there’s very little of note with this map. The chance to take to the skies in the choppers means there’s a genuine aerial threat at almost all times, and the roofs of certain structures are designed so you’ll never be completely safe.
Markaz Monolith is well-designed, admittedly, but it just feels like a little more effort was needed to really make its design stand out that little bit more.
The new crossbow is a nice addition, but it’s by no means a long-term weapon.
Aftermath Mode: Scavenger
Here’s something weird. Each new DLC has brought a new game mode with them but each time – even when they didn’t seem like they would – they ended up feeling like an extension of Battlefield 3 in some way.
Scavenger couldn’t be more unlike BF3 if it tried, however. Yet – despite all that – it still manages to be a lot of fun. Yeah, we were surprised too.
The mode places players into smaller arenas littered with weapons of varying quality. Everyone starts with a pistol, but after that you’re on your own.
The mode is considerably faster paced than any other game type on Battlefield 3 yet; most rounds are over in around 6 minutes.
There are no classes, the maps are small and the weapons are rarely your favourite – so why would we recommend it?
Well, the run and gun action works fantastically, believe it or not. Not all the maps are well suited to it, but the mad dash for decent weaponry can feel pretty exciting, especially when both sides clash for the first time with little more than a pistol to defend themselves with.
It can sometimes feel unfair when you’re outmatched by a better weapon rather than better skill, or when an ally steals a decent weapon right before your eyes – but that’s the point, it changes the dynamic.
It’ll never be more than a palette cleanser – as has been the case with all new DLC modes – but it’s still a great addition to the game that will certainly find its own fanbase.
It still looks great on PS3, even if it is all one colour.
Would We Recommend Battlefield 3: Aftermath DLC?
If you have a Premium subscription then there’s very little question, this is a great bunch of well designed maps.
They’re also varied enough to offer something for everyone. Where Close Quarters and Armored Kill both fulfilled their quota amicably, Aftermath adds a little bit of everything.
The maps themselves are very considered, with subtle touches that make them both interesting and fun to navigate.
The only problem is that there’s little to distinguish between them – at least visually – beyond the shade of brown. The Aftermath setting has forced DICE into creating a set of maps that all look the same, and it’s an unfortunate detriment to the DLC as a whole.
Regardless, the four new maps are undoubtedly great and the new mode is a decent aside if nothing else.
The extra additions are a little bit more throwaway. The crossbow is a fine weapon and there’s already some players out there that are a dab hand with it, making for some deadly (and silent) kills but it’ll never replace your mainstay arsenal.
The additional vehicles aren’t much to get excited about either, since they’re largely variations of existing vehicles with a few simple weapon swaps, but then these probably aren’t reasons to download BF3 DLC anyway.
Version Tested: PS3