My first reaction to the term “HD Destruction” scared a child on the bus. He was trying to smile at me and just as I was about to smile back I read the term on my phone. I scowled, he looked scared, and I felt bad. But it’s grown on me now, partly because it seems like a cheeky twist of marketing speak, and partly because the explosions in the new Battlefield 3 expansion Close Quarters are incredible. Although if you’d called them “fantasti-splosions”, that kid wouldn’t have been quite so scared.
ICE are theming their upcoming DLC packs around a series of experiments, so Close Quarters is what happens when you take Battlefield 3’s destruction and guns and put them in really tight environments: no sniper rifles, no jets; just infantry fighting in smallish spaces, where everything explodes. It’s my kind of experiment: one with a lot of debris.
This squeezing of the game results in tall maps, like the multi-levelled Donya Fortress: an old palace that concentrates the fighting between the US and Russian forces into a splintery death trap. The action ranges from the cellar, quite open but dark so even with the loose architecture you’re never quite confident enough to move as speedily or as confidently as you’d hope. And when the lead pings the walls it fills the air with debris. At least down here it has room to fly: the indoor area above is a lot more cramped, with tight angles to manoeuvre and crumbly walls that take any stray bullet and magics them into rubble.