Battlefield 3’s third expansion Armored Kill dropped last Tuesday for Premium members, and because I am part of such a prestigious club, I’ve been playing the maps and have had enough time in them to form a pretty solid opinion.
In a big change from the last DLC, Close Quarters, Armored Kill is good old fashioned Battlefield fun. I’m talking Battlefield 2 type of action here, with huge maps, tons of vehicles, and lots of carnage going on everywhere. The four new maps, Death Valley, Alborz Mountain, Armored Shield and Bandar Desert, feature big swaths of open terrain, with Bandar Desert being the largest Battlefield map in the series history. It doesn’t hurt that these maps are really good looking either, from the rural countryside of Armored Shield to the almost Skryim-esque landscape of Alborz Mountain. DICE also removed the damn blue tint that really downplayed this game’s otherwise great style, so props to them for that.
Armored Kill adds a couple new vehicles to the mix, namely the AC-130 Specter Gunship and the new Tank Destroyers. The Tank Destroyers are great fun as they’re essentially Infanty Fighting Vehicles with a huge cannon strapped on top, meaning they have greater maneuverability than the MBTs and can take out a full-health tank in a couple of shots. Being based on a lightly-armored chassis, they’re fairly vulnerable themselves, but a tank push with a couple Destroyers for backup can devastate an enemy position.
The AC-130 was one of the features that was touted the most leading up to Armored Kill, but it isn’t as big of a deal as you may think. Sure, in Rush mode when the attackers have the gunship and are railing the mostly static positions of the defenders it can be a little infuriating, but in Conquest mode, getting killed by the gunship is more of a momentary annoyance than anything else. The gunship is available to each faction, they just have to hold and control the capture point associated with it (denoted by a little plane icon beside the flag). I’ve only had a couple kills with the gunship, as it’s such a big target for jets and AA emplacements that it doesn’t stay in the air long.
If you were hesitant about the BF3 expansions after Close Quarters, rest easy because Armored Kill is DICE at the top of their game. Ripping around gorgeous maps with explosions going off all around you, shooting down fully-loaded transport helicopters with a Tank Destroyer and parachuting in from the circling AC-130 is all classic Battlefield. While playing the maps one after the other (especially on high ticket-count servers) can be a little draining, once they get inserted into rotation with the vanilla and Back to Karkand maps, they’ll be a great compliment to your BF3 experience.
Has anyone played Armored Kill? What do you think of it?