Battlefield 3 left plenty of room for improvement – the slow, intrusive log on and derivativesingle player campaign, to name but two areas. However, what it did well, it did brilliantly, including great weapons, huge multiplayer maps and an unrivalled grasp of vehicular combat. Close Quarters, the latest DLC pack in EA's Premium plan, concentrates on two of those strengths and conveniently ignores the rest. In fact, it's a new interpretation of Battlefield, using the same weapons and combat roles, but played in a very different – some might say, less distinctive, way. As a result, it won't satisfy everyone.
What you get are four new maps, 10 new weapons and assignments and two new game modes, as well as assorted dog tags for fans of collectable rewards. Let's start with the modes; both of them heavily influenced by Modern Warfare. Gun Master sounds like the most fun, allowing you to progress through levels according to how many enemies you can kill with the weapon you have. This means your online ranking can swing wildly as other players exploit their (temporarily) better weapons. This reaches a head in the final level 17, where front runners find themselves trying to achieve the final kill armed only with a knife. If you can live with this level of uncertainty, then it's a refreshing alternative that would be perfect for lone gunners if only they didn't have to worry about teammates. More familiar is the second new mode, Conquest Domination, an obvious take on Counterstrike's Domination mode, where two teams try to capture three flags, taking more enemy spawns the quicker you do it. With these flags interspersed between open spaces and choke-points, you'll need fast moves, tight formations and careful planning to hold them all.
As far as weapons are concerned, you can expect exactly what the title suggests; two new additions for each of the four classes and two that can be used in any class, but mainly designed for close combat. These include the meaty new shotguns such as the SPAS-12 and assault weapons such as the AUG A3 – all adding to B3's established leadership in the FPS arms race. Of course, modes need maps and CQ's new offerings almost make up for in quality what they lack in quantity or variety. Ranging from Battlefield's smallest-ever map (Ziba Tower) to the massively mundane Operation 925, there's a clear difference in look between the oriental style of Donya Fortress and the office-based Scrapmetal, but the emphasis is always on claustrophobic internal locations. 925 seems to be the current favourite, largely because of its two connecting bridges that force you to approach it methodically, floor by floor.
However, not all the maps do justice to B3's carefully designed look and feel – Ziba Tower may look challenging but its miniscule size and vertical nature feels too cramped for effective teamwork. However, all new maps now feature HD Destruction, areas of destructible scenery where roofs and pillars will cave in or glass shatter, none of which has an effect on gameplay but all adding to B3's typically robust sense of realism.
Close Quarters has a nice balance of new geography, modes and tactics but not enough to really excite. There's also no denying the new maps and modes owe more than the usual debt to Call of Duty, something Battlefield managed to resist through bigger maps and better mobility right up to its latest incarnation. Fans who chose one of these paths for gameplay reasons may now resent being shuffled down the other against their will. However, such is the nature of DLC that Dice can always say something else will be along in a minute and sure enough, the next one – Arrmoured Kill – promises to play to B3's strengths of sprawling battles and plenty of vehicular action.
• Game reviewed on Xbox 360
Это за четыреста-то баксов. Я сказал ей, что даю пятьдесят, но она хотела. Ей надо было выкупить билет на самолет - если найдется свободное место перед вылетом. Беккер почувствовал, как кровь отхлынула от его лица. - Куда.