Battlefield 3: Armored Kill
This week, non-Premium players will get a chance to purchase and download the Armored Kill
DLC for Battlefield 3
on the PC and Xbox 360. To put it simply, Armored Kill is closer to what many fans expected Battlefield 3 to be instead of what initially shipped. Featuring expansive maps, new vehicle unlocks, new assignments, new dogtags, a new game mode, and new vehicles, it's easy to say without going into too many details that Armored Kill is largely worth the price of admission.
Armored Kill Pros
• Each of the four maps are massive in size. The largest, Bandar Desert, is reportedly the largest map in the entire history of Battlefield! It's not really all that surprising when you actually step foot onto the map, the sense of scale is beyond impressive, and God help you if you find yourself without some sort of vehicle transport.
Covering a distance of roughly five square kilometers, Bandar Desert contains huge sand dunes between each flag outpost. These make for perfect long-range sniping positions or serve as a playground for destruction with intense armored vehicle battles. One point, roughly equidistant from each team's spawn, allows the controlling team to man the AC-130 gunship. Naturally, this is always a huge area of contention with most of the fight taking place over just this one point.
Mountains line much of the outlying regions of the map, serving as a temporary reprieve for damaged jets or helicopters, or allowing for more hidden sniper nests. A small beachfront town contains two points relatively close to one another. Infantry love this area as they are able to dart in and around houses and backyards, setting up ambush locations for armored vehicles that may try driving up the road.
• Armored Shield is another new map included in Armored Kill. Taking a cue from the Heavy Metal map from Bad Company 2, Armored Shield features rolling green hills pot marked by destroyed vehicles and impact craters. A number of wind turbines ensure that novice helicopter pilots are always a little more on edge than normal as they traverse from point to point. A single river connects the two furthest points on the map, allowing for either side to try and sneak over by way of a boat. The central points are separated by open fields, making a foot infantry assault nearly impossible as they can be seen quite a ways away.
The point featuring the AC-130 sits atop a small hill, providing for increased visibility as you look out to see your enemy rolling up in tanks, tank destroyers, and supported by long-range snipers.
• Alborz Mountains is a gorgeous looking snow map set high in a mountainous region. Light colored camo is a sniper's best friend as they are able to climb a number of these mountains to pick off unsuspecting enemies at many of the map's points. Points can be found down in the valley next to a near completely frozen lake or high in the mountains where the AC-130 point is situated.
The mountains are all rendered in this map, allowing for air support to dart in and out of sight between attack runs. Land vehicles may have a difficult time trying to navigate up and down the mountains, unless you opt to take any of the pre-defined routes present on the map.
The terrain also provides for some rather covert moves by Engineers as they can pop up from behind a ridge to target a vehicle making their way up a narrow pathway.
• Last, but certainly not least, is Death Valley, Armored Kill's addition to the sparse night map offerings in Battlefield 3. Of all of the maps added, Death Valley is probably the most balanced map. You don't feel obligated to hop into a vehicle, as the points are close enough to one another to make playing as an infantry a very viable option. Many of the roads feature multiple chokepoint locations, meaning that foot soldiers may sometimes have the upper hand on this map, especially compared to the other three.
The capture points in Death Valley are lined up almost in a straight line across the map. It doesn't feel as though either side has any distinct advantage over another here. It really just comes down to a matter of which team is more skilled than the other.
• The new vehicle additions to Armored Kill are a welcome, if not unnecessary, addition to Battlefield 3. The AC-130, for example, can either be completely game breaking or help turn the tide of a losing battle. On the Rush variants of the new maps, the AC-130 is an absolute nightmare when the other side doesn't have any air support vehicle to take it out with ease.
Unless the game is already one-sided, the AC-130 isn't much of an issue on the Conquest versions of the maps. Jets, helicopters, and mobile AA can take down the AC-130 with relative ease, though there is a small problem with this vehicle that we will touch upon shortly.
If you're fortunate enough to be one of the two people permitted to spawn in the AC-130, assuming your team controls the point for it, you have your choice of a 105mm cannon or a 25mm autocannon. The second gunner position mans the 105mm and is the position potentially responsible for taking out large groups of infantry or armored vehicles on the ground. They are, in many cases, the person that most people on the other team tend to sling their swear filled complaints at.
The first position on the AC-130 takes control of the 25mm autocannon. It can fire off a number of rounds at ground units, chipping away at infantry and some of less armored vehicles such as jeeps and the ATV.
Both positions also have access to 25mm anti-air guns. Usually, these are a last resort measure if the IR flares fail to deter the jet locking on to your gunship. The gunship is also locked to a pre-defined circular path that goes around the perimeter of each map. Sorry to all of those thinking they could fly that into the ground for a quick troll. Typically quick to be shot down, the AC-130 still manages to be a formidable foe in the air, especially in the hands of competent gunners.
• A tank destroyer (or tank buster) has been added for both sides (2S25 Sprut, M1128). Looking a bit like a hybrid between an APC and a tank, these feature a bit less armor than a normal tank but pack more of a punch than an APC does. Able to move around the map at a bit faster pace than their big brothers, the tank destroyers are great for setting up ambushes in conjunction with tanks.
• Mobile artillery (M142 HIMARS, BM-21) is the last offensive vehicle that was added with Armored Kill. Hop into the vehicle after it spawns, find a shady spot, and rain down death from above at a distance. Opening up your map is almost a necessity so that you can see where your shots are actually landing. They are really no more deadly than a couple of Support classes sitting and lobbing their mortars at a spot on the map. They can, however, become a force to be reckoned with when used in conjunction with ground troops moving in on an enemy point. The mobile artillery is perfect for suppressing the enemy at the point that is under siege and perhaps scoring a few kills here and there on the unfortunate.
• Another blast from the past rounds out the vehicle additions. Yes, the quad bike is back in Battlefield. It doesn't have much in the way of offensive abilities, seats two, and can zip around a map faster than any other vehicle. It tends to easily explode, so be sure to take care when taking the quads off of some of those sweet ramps.
• Armored Kill also adds in a new game mode! Tank Superiority mode plays out a bit like a King of the Hill game type, but with tanks and tank destroyers. That's about all of the positive I have to say for this new game mode.
• Each new vehicle also comes with a fresh set of unlocks. A few of these unlocks aren't earned by the usual means, but by completing some of the new assignments. These new assignments aren't terribly difficult to earn, provided you manage to get enough time in the new vehicles.
Read on to see what we did not like about Armored Kill...