Back to Karkand is Battlefield 3’s first Downloadable Content for the game. Free to owners of the Limited Edition, or a hearty 1200MSP (£12-£15) for those that bought or downloaded the standard edition; this DLC adds 10 new weapons, 4 new vehicles, Assignments and 4 new maps to shoot face in.
The four maps on offer in this DLC is Strike at Karkand, Gulf of Oman, Sharqi Peninsula and Wake Island. All four of the maps are rebooted maps from previous installments of the Battlefield franchise and are glued to your overall list of maps once owned. So let me give you a guided tour around each available map.
Strike at Karkand is classic Battlefield map set in a fictional city of Karkand. With very little open areas this map is a concrete maze of tower blocks, apartments and grubby alleyways. After a good session and a few hits from a couple of tank or APC shells, this map can end up being a highstreet of rubble filled roads and crumbling concrete blocks. Most of the action will be found in tight spots and dark alleyways - so pack yourself a short range weapon for those close encounter moments.
In Wake Island it is time to ride the waves and take to the beaches. The game starts off with the entire Russian team occupying the island and it is up to the US team to storm the beaches and capture it. With Jets and Helicopters available for both teams you’ll soon find yourself under a lot of US firepower from above. If you can’t join them in the air then be sure to pack yourself an air-to-air launcher and give them hell from down below.
Last seen in Battlefield 2, Gulf of Oman serves up a piece of everything for the Battlefield player – large enough open areas for jets and snipers, whilst there are small urban areas for close quarter encounters. There are a few high-rise areas and cranes that become sniper magnets, so look out for climbers in these areas, stick to cover when you can and avoid open areas unless you are protected in a vehicle or flying above in the skies.
The last map on our Back to Karkand tour is Sharqi Peninsula. Attacking forces can enter the defending urban town from various angles, making this map a little unpredictable as to where you’ll be mostly attacked. A well-organized team can storm the furthest region and sandwich the opposition between two occupied locations. Although this map is a large one, with distant capture points, a lot of the action can be found in the more urban areas - so pack some close quarter weapons and stay alert for attacking teams on the streets and in open construction buildings.
New to Battlefield 3 with the Back to Karkand DLC is Assignments. This is a new way to earn the 10 new weapons in the game. A total of 10 Assignments are packed into this expansion pack, each Assignment is required to be completed before a new DLC weapon is unlocked. To complete each Assignment you are required to fulfill special requirements, such as 20 kills with a light machine gun and 2 mortar kills. Luckily each Assignment is gradual and doesn’t require you to fulfill them in a single round – that would require John Rambo skills!
If you are a big Battlefield 3 player it is a no brainer to purchase this DLC, even if it is purely just to have no restrictions when finding a server to play on. Each of the four extra maps bring their own special something to the table, although to be honest it can be hard to tear apart the two maps, Golf of Oman and Sharqi Peninsula. If you are looking into buying Battlefield 3 for the first time then I would strongly recommend you consider the Limited Edition version and bag this DLC in one price. However in this sale period of the year you could do better by shopping around, as you might be able to get the cheaper standard version and then pay for the DLC over LIVE or PSN and still come under the Limited Edition asking price.