Sep 14, 2012

Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand Review

Lights Off
5 Incredible
Retails for: $14.99
We Recommend: $14.99
  • Developer: DICE
  • Publisher: EA
  • Genre: Shooter
  • Released: Dec 06, 2011
  • Platform: Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
  • Reviewed: Windows

The first expansion for Battlefield 3 is nostalgic trip, revisiting some classic maps from Battlefield 2 while updating them for a fresh experience using Frostbite 2.

The Maps

Strike at Karkand

A fantastic urban setting that has been able to fit other modes outside of Conquest works quite well. In BF2, the map was extremely dusty and had a short view distance. Now that the dust has settled, this map has room to shine. You’ll see all the details and for the first time, see the destruction this map offers. There’s even a Battlefield 2 music easter egg hidden on the level if you can get to the right area. The new mode, Conquest Assault allows for it to play just like Battlefield 2.

Gulf of Oman

Quite possibly the most memorable map from BF2. Here as the US Marines, you launch in F-35’s (new aircraft with vertical take off and landing – VTOL) or helicopters and make your way to the beach to take over positions. Rush maps reduce the map size and make it so you start on the beach rather than from the aircraft carrier. Either way the crane is one of the best sniping spots and provides good cover provided you don’t get harassed by pilots of the aircraft variety.

Wake Island

The most used map in all of Battlefield history. Recreated yet again, but almost nothing has changed in this map. The destructability and large landmass make for tons of strategic opportunities when using aircraft and even land vehicles to get where you’re needed. But water vehicles are also available and mostly get hidden by the ridges of the island for an assault that’ll go unnoticed almost every time. Rush maps are intense as you move up area by area or alternatively are pushed back defending small areas with little cover.

Sharqi Pennisula 

I somehow never really played this map. But the map feels much bigger than the original, due to a greater view distance and has better detail where it was lacking. There is tons of verticality and the most sought after control point, the TV station with top floor of a helicopter spawn and a fantastic sniping angle.


Introduced via this first expansion, is the addition of assignments. These assignments require you to perform a specific task in order to unlock a gun. Once done, you’ll have a secondary assignment for that tier to continue performing tasks to unlock the final weapon. There are 10 assignments (5×2 for each class) to obtain and add to the weapon list for you to get more service stars and unlock items with.

This is the most rewarding way to tackle achievements, perform actions in-game and get an in-game item as your reward.

New Mode: Conquest Assault

Conquest Assault starts with one team commanding all flags on the map while the opposing team must assault and take the flags over in order to stop their tickets from reaching zero. It seems unfair and daunting, but over time, as a defender you’ll learn how to push back when the odds seem stacked against you. The maps provide the vehicles necessary to do so.

Final Thoughts

As an owner of the Limited Edition, this is quite a reward. As something you may have to purchase by itself, it is well worth the purchase even if you’ve never played Battlefield 2, new maps, modes, extra content including dog tags and assignments make it all worth it and extend the life of the online game. If you’re a BF3 Premium owner, this is a no-brainer, get all the content you can. I found myself more immersed into these maps over any of the standard maps just because of the familiarity and love for the maps in BF2. Newcomers will be right at home.

A download code was provided by EA for review purposes