Does Close Quarters Constrain BF3 Too Much?

E3 2012: We jump into one of the maps featured in the Close Quarters DLC.

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Fans were surprised at Operation Metro's debut as the first map that anyone was allowed to play for Battlefield 3. It lacked the traditional strengths of the series--large maps, vehicles, and a level of strategy higher than just man-on-man gunfights. After getting in a good hour on Scrapmetal, the new Close Quarters map being shown at E3, it's leaving me with the same level of disorientation.

Scrapmetal is a small map consisting of two warehouses linked by a series of enclosed walkways. Flag captures happen much faster than on larger maps, but players can only spawn on squadmates or randomly. I managed to get my hands on most of the new weapons, but the standouts seemed to be the SPAS-12 shotgun and the LSAT light machine gun. The inadequacy of other weapons on the roster became apparent after a few short rounds. The ranges at which firefights are taking place in CQ negate the design of most class-specific guns. Engineers are armed for medium range, assault for long range, support for camping, and recon for super long range.

The main idea of Battlefield 3 is that when any of these classes play outside their role, they are at a disadvantage. When you bring everything into CQB, all weapons do their maximum damage and suffer little from weaknesses like recoil. The result is that all classes are forced into using powerhouses, like shotguns, or weapons with high rates of fire. Having all classes play virtually the same way, instead of inside their individual roles, negates the reason fans chose this franchise over competitors. The new mode Gun Master even appears to be a direct lift of the Gun Game from COD.

I also had time to test HD destruction and was left feeling the claims to be exaggerated. Many strategically placed walls either were indestructible or left an impassable skeleton behind when blasted with C4. At one point I found a good overwatch position overlooking a flag on a walkway. The window available to fire through was too narrow, and I planted C4 to widen the hole. The C4 detonated uselessly, both doing me no good and attracting a lot of enemy attention.

It’s clear that Close Quarters has also affected the vanilla game in ways that might not make sense on larger maps. After an interview with developers, it became apparent that claymores were recently patched to no longer persist after death because it broke the balance of Close Quarters. Unfortunately, there are many larger maps where persistent claymores are both fair and useful.

Battlefield has always been a strategic game with a rock-paper-scissors approach, and Close Quarters seems to be making everyone use scissors. Ultimately the success of Close Quarters will come down to fans' willingness to stop thinking so strategically and just shoot opponents. It could be fun, but there's one big question: Is this Battlefield? Operation Metro eventually won over a large fan base, and there's plenty of room in the game for people who might not like heavy strategy. We plan on getting into the other new maps next week to see if there are more elements in Ziba Tower or Donya Fortress that bring back the strengths of the Battlefield 3 franchise. At the end of the day, Close Quarters has a bit of an identity crisis. Is it actually Battlefield, or Battlefield chasing a competitor's market share?

' Aaron Sampson on Google+

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Discussion

204 comments
MonkeyMoo22
MonkeyMoo22

"Close quarter's" is the expansion/game COD boys and girls have been desperately waiting for since MW4 or mw2. Sadly for them it's on BF3 not mw3! :D

bahamut_au
bahamut_au

"The new mode Gun Master even appears to be a direct lift of the Gun Game from COD." Which is a direct lift from Gun Game from Counter-Strike. Get your facts right Sampson.

Zeketra
Zeketra

I don't really like this expansion much, but i like that dice is mixing things up a bit. We know the battlefield formula very well, however theres nothing really wrong with changing things up a bit for a more varied experience.

 

I first played somthing very similar to gun master on popular modded maps on day of defeat: source, COD3 = 2011 vs DOD:S = 2006... meh, just saying, it was done way before COD3.

 

 

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

yep bf becomes too predictable.  arma 3 dont let me down!

keyb0red
keyb0red

It's pretty good actually

NARUtotheFISH
NARUtotheFISH

Disagree with this article, first they need to write an article when close quarters comes out and not judge it from the e3 by playing one map "ScrapMetal" and also judging almost all the guns negatively but you guys only played on one map and didn't see what the guns had to offer on other maps. Another thing is I don't like it when you compare Call of Duty with Battlefield because they are both extremely fun games. Call of Duty is a fast paced game and you have to be good at man to man gunfights. Battlefield on the other hand can be fast paced like in operation metro, then you get maps which are not that fast paced and needs a lot of strategy, tactics and ways of approaching the objective. I used to be a Call of Duty maniac and played Mw2 a lot and I liked the fast paced gameplay, but when Battlefield 3 came out I saw something different and tried it out. I found both the fast paced and tactical gameplay in Battlefield 3 that made me switch from COD to Battlefield 3. Close Quarters, yes if you are going to look at these four extra maps by comparing COD and BF3 then it looks like they are putting some COD in but I don't compare the two. I see CQ as just extra fast paced maps, there aren't a lot of maps on BF3 that are constantly fast paced except for a few, so this is just shows you that bf3 can also be a game with fast paced gameplay. Another thing is that CQ isn't just a "RUN AND GUN" DLC it still needs a bit of strategy.

GM_Strykr
GM_Strykr

Not sure where to begin to disagree with this. It isn't too constraining at all - the size of the maps are perfect for their play. Close Quarters was able to release 4 small maps that are designed much better than anything CoD has been able to produce. As for the gun play, again, you are wrong. I still use all of my favorite weapons and they perform just as well as the new weapons...individual player skill and preferences will always persist. And less strategic thought? Wow. If your style of play is to sprint around with a shotgun, go you. But if you have half a brain and skills of adaption, you would understand its more advantageous to play these maps slower with more thought because there is a higher chance than most maps to run into an intense firefight. Close Quarters brought a side of the game that it needed, and they did well. Now, Armored Kill needs to hurry the hell up.

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

"The new mode Gun Master even appears to be a direct lift of the Gun Game from COD." Even though COD took it from CS. It would be better to say Gun Master was taken directly from CS rather than COD.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

Well, I hold that a sniper rifle still performs admirabley on Operation Metro and Grand Bazaar.

hasancakir
hasancakir

I played battlefield 3 multiplayer over 200 hours and I'm still playing and loving it. New guns are actually great but strangely most of them are not close quarters weapons :) In addition whatever you say Close quarters IS the COD expansion for BF3. It adds kind of a new flavour to the game. Old battlefield players like me dont like this kind of running and gunning gameplay but I'm not against it. Conquest Domination and Gun Master were added as new options to the game, think of it that way.

Gears_0f_L0ve
Gears_0f_L0ve

I like the added CC gameplay and maps.  I like large maps as well.    Whats all the complaining about.   We are getting the Tank maps later.   com'on.

skimad432
skimad432

No offense, but most of the comments I'm reading from died in the wool Battlefield fanatics make it clear that you just don't get the simple idea this map pack is supposed to allow Battlefield to play a faster and less strategic style similar to COD.  How does that change the fact that this is still Battlefield, with it's unique mechanics, and it's regular maps for large scale strategic warfare.  This article is pointless because people should understand DICE is giving us something different.  Call of duty is still a fun game, but with this add on now I can have the superior Battlefield and "COD" (in Close Quarters ) without actually having to buy COD.

ryogapower
ryogapower

It certainly does. not from the kit perspective as you suggest (any player worth his salt would surely be able to use any weapon on any map) but in other ways. It IS going head to head with COD, which i'm not sure about. In fact within a few hours of playing the new maps after not playing COD for 6 months after the awful mw3 and having clocked up 300 plus hours on bf3, i actually found myself pressing circle on ps3 to crouch it felt that much like COD(!).  I think the maps are geniusly designed, especially operation 925. my favourite is scrapmetal from a pure gameplay perspective BUT its true that its a wierd fit for battlefield as it doesnt really fit in with the other maps, the job of map packs to me is to add to an ever-growing roster of maps within your chosen game-mode. i'm a Conquest player mainly, so the fact that there is no conquest or rush on these maps sets them aside in a huge way. similarly, none of the close quarters game modes are available on other maps (why not have Gunmaster play out on the TDM size version of the old maps?). essentially, its a seperate game entirely. a side note. DICE need to make it easier to integrate these maps into server playlists by freeing up those game modes!!!

Fernin-Ker
Fernin-Ker

On one hand, I like the small frenetic maps like this as a compliment to the larger BF3 maps. They offer an amusing change of pace, a sort of CoD style twitch shooting with BF3's more demanding weapon handling characteristics. It's quite good. But honestly, I don't feel it was worth an entire expansion, particularly since the maps are best played with 32 players which makes the few full size map servers that also host them a bit of a *#^$storm when 64 players get crammed  into these tiny maps. Of course one can seek out a server that hosts just the CQ maps but then it gets boring very fast when it's the constant style of play. Honestly, while I like the new guns and the maps themselves are decent in their own way, it just makes me want Armored Kill to come out that much sooner. Now if they'd mixed these tiny maps with some larger ones I think it would have been a much better xpac.

xXrebel666Xx
xXrebel666Xx

I love "real" Battlefield and whilst the new content is OK for some brainless run and gun shooting, it has become everything that Battlefield isn't meant to be. I think this pack has taken everything that once made BF great and thrown it away. DICE/EA need to once again become the innovators that they were in BF2/1942/2142 days as opposed to the imitators they have become now.

dildodildo
dildodildo

People keep complaining that this DLC is just ripping off Call of Duty with the fast paced gameplay and small maps. Wrong. This shows Call of Duty how it's done right. 

kenmanius
kenmanius

I thought these maps were very well designed as far as the overall layout and size. It may put the diehard BF players off, but I think this game can do it all in the world of fps, so it's nice to have the variety. The next expansion will probably be the total opposite and have the biggest maps yet.  I think the price of the premium membership was worth it for all the dlc. All the content will add up to what the price of a one-time, worthwhile expansion would be.

xdrmonkeyfishx
xdrmonkeyfishx

My main problem is that the maps are not really suited for my style of play. I favor slow flanking maneuvers which allow me to hit the unprotected enemy from a different direction. However, my problem is  a personal one. The maps themselves really aren't that bad. I don't really like operation 925, but the rest are pretty good. In fact, I like Scrapmetal the most.

Tanares
Tanares

Small? Even the smallest of these maps is larger than anything Activision currently offers for its multiplayer. 

Greyfox-101
Greyfox-101

Activision's greatest accomplishment....tricking the world into thinking they "innovated" and created the gun game. 

bluehatman
bluehatman

I don't know what this editor is thinking.  I've played through the new maps and modes since they first were available to Premium members on PS3, and they are fantastic.  Do these new maps force you to use particular guns?  That shouldn't even be a question.  Class specific weapons (except for maybe bolt action sniper rifles) are extremely useable in the new maps and they don't force you to use any particular weapon over another. 

 

I would say the only statement that I agree with this editor is that the level of destruction may be a little overrated, but there is only so much you can do! 

 

As for the Gun Master mode, I feel it has enough new features and it is definitely a refreshing take on a classic game mode. 

 

Aaron Sampson, you seriously need to re-evaluate this article.

yamamoto_12
yamamoto_12

While I have yet to play the new maps, they do look promising.  Why? Because they give a nice refreshing alternative to the massive vehicle maps like Caspian Sea and Oman.  When I'm in the mood for some for some quick, intense, close action, I love me some Metro.  I just hope that they made the spawns open because my biggest problem with Metro is if you're on a shitty team and you lose all of the bases, you're stuck at your spawn for the rest of the match, which seems fixed with the random spawns, but I will need to play to confirm this hunch.

 

Now, as a side note, I'm curious as to why so many people don't like the rent-a-server.  I have had little problems with it (I've only been kicked once for reasons unknown to me).  I think it was a smart move as it saves EA some money and gives players a bit more freedom in determining how they want to play, although for a bit of cash.  This is a genuine question, I'm not trying to bash anyone who hates this function, I am just curious.

_Roo_
_Roo_

"At the end of the day, Close Quarters has a bit of an identity crisis. Is it actually Battlefield, or Battlefield chasing a competitor's market share?"

That without a doubt has to be one of the dumbest question/statements I have ever seen.  Of course they are trying to gain as much market share as possible.

As someone who is sick to death of the COD formula I was one of the haters bitching about this being a COD map pack.  But after playing the maps last weekend I have changed my mind.  I had a blast and found the levels both diverse and well designed.  Yes it had the run and gun of COD but I didn't have to shell out $60.00 for a 4hr campaign that I'll play through once.  Do I see myself gravitating to these maps after the newness wares off?  Probably not, I prefer the larger strategic maps, but they are fun to play and make for a nice change of pace.

  I think releasing this map pack first was a brilliant idea and hope this does what it was intended (to steal market share from Activision DUH.)

  If the other map packs (I'm talking about you Armored Warfare) are this well done then I will feel my premium money was well spent.

nufootballtim
nufootballtim

what ruins the CQ maps for me is the random spawn points. if they made conquest mode Normal, like they do for all the other maps, and allowed the team to spawn only on their side, or at the flags they control, it would make the flow of those maps way better and allow for some intense log-jam firefights. as it stands now, its just a random cluster F of people running around due to the random spawn points. keep the random spawn points for TDM and get rid of them for conquest. problem solved.

ninedot
ninedot

Thanks for the review, I agree with the majority of it. The only thing I wanted to mention though is that you cannot say the new game mode is a lift off of COD, when COD copied it themselves from another source. I'm not entirely sure of the original creator of "gun game" but I know it was a mod in CS long before COD (just thought I would point that out). 

BloodScarlet
BloodScarlet

Sounds like a great map pack to me, I hope they remake the BC2 maps next.

DriftEJ20
DriftEJ20

I like Battlefield as it is traditionally, but it's nice that if I am in the mood for super close quarters, fast paced combat with no vehicles, I have the option to do that IN Battlefield. There's nothing that says that in Battlefield's fiction, US Marines and Russians are in agreement on only fighting one way, and that in Call of Duty, US Marines and Russians just have a different outlook. The main reason I play Battlefield is actually just because I enjoy the way the gunplay is handled and I find the sound and visuals more visceral and exciting. For anyone playing on X360 or PS3, this is a great opportunity to not run around with only one-third of the players on a map still two-thirds the size of the PC version.

CptEggman
CptEggman

Ah, the bickering. I find it truly sad that so few people can just sit back and enjoy their game. The BF community is made up of a 99% silent majority and a bunch of really LOUD crybabies, whining about a "broken game" because they apparently aren't any good at it or something. The vast majority  has been playing for months without problems because they don't consider their video games to be life-essential services. This must be why BF will never take COD in the market - despite having the better game all around. I too thought 1942 and BF2 were just swell, but hey grandpa: can we stop the reminiscence of glorious days gone by? Neither DICE or EA have an obligation to re-create the games of your youth. 

CQ is what it is: a different take on things. If you don't like it, fine, neither do I. There's a filter in my server browser, tho. And to those who just woke up from a 50 year coma: Yeah, EA is trying to get players to switch from COD. I know it must be flabbergasting to you, but that's what coporations do! Try not to double over computating this one.

Rocthepanther89
Rocthepanther89

It's quite simple and reasonably understandable actually. BF3 Vanilla + B2k had maps that appeal to both ends of the spectrum. If you wanted a tight, infantry game with little to no vehicles, play metro or bazzar or seine. If you wanted a large scale war game play firestorm or caspian or oman. If you wanted something in between play tehran or damavand or karkand. Nobody is making you buy this DLC. If you don't want it, don't buy it. I personally like it. It's a change of pace every now and again from the overly boring %500 ticket matches of OMAN that I frequent. The next DLC maps will appeal to people on the other end of the spectrum. It's great for their entire fan base. BF3 is a game that you can pick up and play like COD or like BF2, I don't see a problem with that. If you don't want to play certain maps because they are too big or too small, then don't. There are plenty of matches out there that will fit your criteria.

 

Now if only we can get rid of the rent-a-server.Why they EVER went that route baffles me, that is what is truly holding this game back from being great.

landfill_dump
landfill_dump

one last thing: counter-strike also had gungame - and that was like 10 yrs before cod. 

landfill_dump
landfill_dump

and also its stupid of me to try to make a point here because most of the rage-ppl are 14 yrs old and dont understand anything about the world. they just want their games for free and cry like babies when they cant afford a 30$ game

Zer0mod
Zer0mod

 @bahamut_au It's still a direct lift from COD. So his facts are quite "straight" as you so elegantly put it. We aren't having a debate on the origin of gun game.

bigfoot9000
bigfoot9000

@Zeketra

"however theres nothing really wrong with changing things up a bit for a more varied experience."

 

there actually is something wrong actually. Sometimes it's the lacking of certain features that holds a game together. in fact more often than not this is the case. To "mix things up" it would have been better to explore more Battlefield type of options like harsh weather, wind, scripted events like timed explosions, timed path driven AI  controlled air or train transport  etc etc..but no, to "switch things up' they just copied MW3. I'm not even a game designer and my little ideas right here are more  creative than CQ.

hough06
hough06

 @Zeketra I agree with you, the expansion isn't one of my favorites, but definitely throws a nice "change" of pace in from the ordinary Battlefield feel. 

 

I do like the gun master even though its definitely a straight knock from it's competitor. The one good thing is about these small maps though is there are no BS perks system.

silentoceans311
silentoceans311

 @Blitzkrieg129

 not exactly because BF's main modern-day competitor, as we all know, is COD. So it would be more suitable to say that the idea was borrowed from COD. Offering the Close Quarters experience will give BF3 fans a chance to experience both the traditional Battlefield gameplay with a choice of mixing it up a bit with COD. I don't see anything wrong with giving that gamers choices and preferences.

ryogapower
ryogapower

 @Fernin-Ker 64 players on close quarters maps? i thought there was a limit of 16 players per game?

Rovelius
Rovelius

 @bluehatman Compared to Red Faction:Guerilla's destruction, BF3's is laughable at best.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

@yamamoto_12 I hate rent-a-server because most only run the back to Karkand maps when they should run all... they were good but man they get boreing fast.

HeWhoWasHere2
HeWhoWasHere2

 @yamamoto_12 I agree with your statement about Operation Metro spawn trapping, and can confirm that these four close quarters maps don't have that problem.  I also love the feel of Metro when you have a good team, so I find the new DLC very enjoyable to play if you want a faster paced match.

 

As far as the the rent a server, I have not rented one and don't plan to, but I have not had any trouble with it.  I don't get kicked from servers because I read any of their rules/requests before I join, and I personally like the ones that have larger ticket numbers for longer matches.

HeWhoWasHere2
HeWhoWasHere2

 @nufootballtim I have to disagree with you completely, for the tighter maps the random spawns keep you on your toes.  While the normal conquest spawns can really ruin a good flow to the match if the teams are horribly balanced.

joju_australia
joju_australia

 @CptEggman you are my favorite post my friend! i totally agree with your view! YESSS! it is quite simple isnt: They are trying to appeal and attrack to the COD community. They will get heaps to come over, just getting ready for the release of MoH in October. The only thing i am hoping is that this Premium membership somewhoe ties in with MoH in October, i would hate to be paying out more money if they offer something similar via MoH aswell. But somehow, i dont think EA would do that, they are way too clever to impose extra cost to us the gamers. Anyways, all i can say is that i am lucky to be alive during these great times of gaming!

albumflaps
albumflaps

 @Rocthepanther89 Whilst I don't agree with some parts of this, I respect your opinion and also wholeheartedly back your dislike of the rent-a-server situation. This was wanted by the PC players mostly, but EA saw huge potential for profit so everyone got lumbered with it. Official servers are very few now and unfortunately the 'new' BF players dictate the rules. Not a great move. I feel that DICE want this game to implode. They want it to fail, because then they can make a case for doing things the way DICE would have done them, and not have to pander to EA to make them money. 

 

 As you said, you don't have to buy it. Sure. But how many of these new ex-COD players will happily fork over money hand over fist to EA for very little? This is Elite, without doubt. The whole situation is perfectly engineered. Give them a similar experience to hook them, make Premium only weapons etc that are slightly OP, then when you get killed make it noticeable that it was a Premium player that did it. Instead of playing smart, they just buy the same package thinking it will even the future encounters. A fool and his money are easily parted. DICE, putting EA aside, would never have had this Premium package. They care about their game and their community. I feel that if this is successful it will slowly kill off this franchise. Seriously. Supporting this is supporting corporate greed, not a damn good developer who want to make great games for their fans. But as you say, it's all subjective, as for every one of me there are 20 who will just buy blindly because their friends have it, or they want to be seen to be 'Premium' and little else. 

 

The only thing holding back this game from being 'great' is the fact that DICE can't do what they need to do. Fix the game we payed for, release some free DLC and make a community happy. Supporting this package will hamper their future vision and tighten EA's control over them to push out unfinished work and extortionate DLC packages. 

bigfoot9000
bigfoot9000

 @hough06  @Zeketra "owever theres nothing really wrong with changing things up a bit for a more varied experience."

 

there actually is something wrong actually. Sometimes it's the lacking of certain features that holds a game together. in fact more often than not this is the case. To "mix things up" it would have been better to explore more Battlefield type of options like harsh weather, wind, scripted events like timed explosions, timed path driven AI  controlled air or train transport  etc etc..but no, to "switch things up' they just copied MW3. I'm not even a game designer and my little ideas right here are more  creative than CQ.

hasancakir
hasancakir

 @ryogapower There are some videos on youtube about 64 players close quarters maps. Well, in short it's total chaos. Usually you die in 5-10 seconds if you cant kill first :)

Fernin-Ker
Fernin-Ker

 @ryogapower 

 

Nope, you can have a full 64 players on a CQ map. Not sure if it's different on consoles or not, but on PC you can put any number of players on the maps.

YouVandal3
YouVandal3

 @Rovelius

 but who really cared about that game?

 

Soldier of Fortune also has limbs blowing off, and compared to the gore/bloodyness of BF its laughable compared. but gameplay wise SOF is laughable. see?

joju_australia
joju_australia

 @albumflaps i dont think this Pack is going to be a failure actually, i think it quite clever and i feel that EVERYTHING is going to come to fruition when MoH comes out in October. There has to be a link to it somehow. Not everyone is going to be totally happy with anything, thats a given, so i will try to enjoy it and see where this takes us gamers!

GreG975
GreG975

 @albumflaps Amen!! So true! Unfortunately though. I thought the FAMAS was OP... EA needed a reason to "force" players to be the BK2 pack if they didn't get the limited edition.I'm not naive, I know corporations aren't charity based companies, they want money... Still... I always thought that the logic was to make quality games and please the fan-base so, the happier gamers are, the more games they sell... Instead, they use such sh*tty methods... Shame on them! I hope that eventually their licenses/games will die because of such practice.