Battlefield 3: Armored Kill DLC Review – The Best DLC Yet?
If you’re partial to an explosion or two, then you’ll undoubtedly appreciate the volatile nature of Battlefield 3’s latest DLC pack Armored Kill.
Cramming in four more maps, brand new vehicles and the usual extras in the form of dogtags and persistent challenges, there’s no doubting Battlefield 3: Armored Kill is well worth the money.
But is it any better than the very first map pack DICE released for BF3, the superlative Back To Karkand DLC?
Yes. And no. See, the four maps you unlock with Armored Kill are all distinctive and well designed, but they’re perhaps just a little too big. A ridiculous complaint, perhaps, but hear us out.
Take Alborz Mountain for example; it’s huge. So huge, in fact, that it spans two different climates – with snow-topped mountains to the south and lush greenery to the north.
But play this map on Conquest and you’ll be lucky to find anyone to shoot at all. Most of the game is spent riding around on quad bikes between capture points – you likely won’t even hop off to attack a passing enemy – and unless you’re one of the rare few who actually stick around to defend a location, you’re not going to meet many enemies.
This is less of an issue on maps like Death Valley or Armored Shield, where closer capture points and more built up areas means it’s a little easier for infantry soldiers to survive.
Air support will be necessary if you want to safely cross the Bandar Desert.
Each map is well considered in its design, though. Tanks will need to find you before they can hit you, thanks in part to the undulating hills, strategically placed buildings or – in the case of Alborz – large ruddy mountains blocking the way.
Bandar Desert is the best example of this, where clever tank operators should navigate the open desert through the nadir of the surrounding dunes. Lying in wait for a fleet of tanks to drive past before destroying them all with a smart flanking manoeuvre is a thrill Armored Kill manages extremely well.
It helps that the new tank destroyers are a lot of fun, too. Slightly nippier than vanilla Battlefield 3 tanks, these armoured vehicles are best used – as if their name isn’t obvious enough – to destroy enemy tanks.
Then there’s the mobile artillery, which has the range but will require quite a bit of practice before you can really put it to any use.
For Conquest games you can even jump into an AC-130 – a huge multi-man plane that can tear ground units and planes apart in equal measure. It needs as many hands to the guns as it can get, however, otherwise the quicker fighter jets won’t need much effort to bring it down.
But all these new vehicles are for naught if you’re left stranded as the last tank or buggy is driven off down a ravine. Herein lies the problem with Armored Kill: there’s a lot of waiting around for a vehicle to spawn, and that’s never fun.
Rockets will fly. We can promise you that much.
This is less of an issue on Tank Superiority, the new mode added into BF3 with Armored Kill. This mode provides a bounty of available tanks, condensed versions of the four new maps and a single capture point for King Of The Hill style gameplay.
It really highlights the teamwork of Battlefield. These capture points are located in the centre of large, open areas; a single tank won’t survive long here. The key to winning, then, is grouping up, flanking your enemy and making use of the environment to conceal and ambush.
It’s here Alborz Mountain is considerably more enjoyable: the capture point is on the centre of a frozen lake, with the steep descents from the spawn points at the top of the mountains turning each match into a mad rush into the centre.
Play it smart, however, hide in the trees or navigate the mountain passes carefully and you’ll find yourself with the advantage, giving a lone tank operator the chance to wreak merry hell with an entire squadron.
This is just as exciting in each of the other maps too, rewarding strategic play and making Tank Superiority one of the better new modes to be added into Battlefield 3 over the course of its DLC output.
This doesn’t quite negate the issues of always having to wait around for a vehicle, but if you’re a fan of maps like Caspian Border or Operation Firestorm in the original Battlefield 3 map list then – the behemoth-sized Alborz Mountain aside – this collection of new locales will certainly be worth adding to your roster.