Nebandan Flats trades the green scenery for the searing, brown desert. This Summer map is mostly barren, leaving you open to attack as you run between objectives, unless you happen to find yourself safe within the walls of the middle structure — a building filled with a maze of shipping containers. Operation Riverside is the Fall offering and takes its hilly environment and litters it with the soft oranges and yellows that are synonymous with the season. The many dirtbike ramps that can be found coupled with the excellent layout make this one of the best maps. Finally, there’s Sabalan Pipeline, the winter map. Immediately upon entering this map, I was reminded of Port Valdez from Bad Company 2. Heavy snow blankets the oil refinery and surrounding structures, leaving a pure white wonderland awaiting the stain of blood (of which there will be plenty). The variety here should provide each player with something that falls in line with his/her aesthetic and tactical tastes.
Return of CTF
Capture the Flag is nothing new to competitive online games. However, it is new to Battlefield 3. End Game provides this classic mode and it’s chaotic. The mayhem induced by this mode is a treat, especially with the new dirtbikes. You may have to get out/off of your vehicle to capture the flag, but afterwards you’re welcome to jump into a transport of your choosing, whether that be a tank, dirtbike or helicopter. Whether you’re keeping track of your flag or covering ground with the enemy flag, returning to Capture the Flag has never been more exciting.
End Game has added a new mode called Air Superiority, a mode that players of 1943 will remember. Players spawn in aircrafts and are locked in. That’s right, you will not be able to eject from the cockpit if you’re on the losing end of an aerial battle. At first, it seems like it could be fun to take the fight exclusively to the skies, but the mode wears thin fast. You’ll long to put your legs back on the ground and continue dominating objectives and nabbing flags. This is a decent addition for those interested in only aerial combat, but I believe the majority of the community will stick with the other modes.
End Game is a satisfying close to Battlefield 3’s DLC, assuming we don’t see a Dino mode in the future. It’s varied maps, additional transport options (have I mentioned how great those dirtbikes are?) and return of Capture the Flag dwarf the lacking pull from Air Superiority. For Premium, this may become the fan-favorite of the bunch. If you haven’t subscribed and are deciding which DLC packs to pick up, End Game sits at the top of my list of recommendations.
[Editor’s Note: Battlefield 3: End Game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 platform. The DLC was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]