Battlefield 3: Back to Karkand

The brilliant Battlefield 3 is not even two months old, and already there’s an expansion: Back to Karkand. A more apt title would have probably been Greatest Hits, as it includes four favorite maps from the Battlefield of yore (you know, 2002 and 2005).

But are updated graphics tinged with nostalgia worth $15? If names like Wake Island, Strike at Karkand, Gulf of Oman, and Sharqi Peninsula mean anything to you, then maybe it’s enough to pull you away from MW3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Seriously, though, $15? If you pre-ordered the game, you get this DLC for free. For your money/free, you get: four maps, a handful of new weapons to unlock (nothing extraordinary), and the Conquest Assault game mode, which was notably missing in the initial launch.

In CA mode — a Battlefield staple — one team has all the control points at the start of the match, creating a more definitive attacker/defender relationship.

On a quick play-through of the new maps, the translation to the new Frostbite 2 engine is fantastic. These old maps bring back a lot of memories, and seeing them all gussied up and pretty is great. I have to say, I’m looking forward to finding new places to snipe from (yep, I’m that guy).

The reason these maps have held up, of course, is their precise design, and thankfully that has made the transition intact. Wake Island is every bit the sprint it always was. Gulf of Oman has some amazingly high under-construction buildings. I had forgotten Sharqi Peninsula, but as soon as I saw the potential spawn point of “TV Station” it all came back.

And then there’s Strike at Karkand, as amazing as it always was (this map made BF2 for me).

B2K was just launched, but at first glance most of my favorite servers seem to have made the switch. So you’re almost forced to upgrade, if you want to keep playing on most servers. Is it worth $15? Sure. Why not?

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