The future for the Battlefield franchise is looking very rosy indeed. Along with the announcement of a Battlefield 4 beta that's set to kick off in fall 2013, EA is working hard with its Battlefield 3 Premium service to provide meaningful downloadable content for its current first-person shooting champion. We've already seen a pair of decent add-ons in the service, but the latest, Armored Kill, is sure to be a big hit for those who can't get enough mobile action. That's because in this mode, it's not about how much damage you can do on foot, but rather what you can do riding around on the inside of a tank. In this new DLC, it's all about being bigger and better.
EA recently gave us a test drive of this new downloadable content, headed out way sometime next month, at its recent Summer Showcase event in Redwood City, and while we would've rather gotten a look at the upcoming Medal of Honor Warfighter, this new chapter in the Battlefield saga kept us more than entertained, especially when we got in the middle of a skirmish involving several tanks.
When we first started out in the chosen map, which takes place in the middle of a field in Sennoy, Russia, we're able to find plenty of tanks to choose from, usually scattered throughout various stations on one side of the map. Though some are likely to be immediately taken by soldiers, you can always hop in one and serve as a side gunner, shooting at people from an open panel on the left or right side. Obviously, that's not as enjoyable as riding at the forefront, firing shells non-stop at enemies who line up in your sights and doing major damage, but rolling around in the comfort of a tank is certainly a lot easier than being on foot. After all, can you imagine being run over by one of those things? Ouch.
Anyway, Armored Kill is all about fighting in a spectacular mode of heated mobile battle, across four various maps that will be included in the pack. The goal of the game is to take part of one of two teams (comprised of twelve) and gaining control of a flag that's located on the center of the map. The goal of the game is to keep control of this point through a majority of the game, until the countdown reaches zero. The more kills you rack up, the more notoriety your team earns over the course of the match. But just be aware that the enemy is packing as much firepower as you are, and it's easy to be turned into a pile of flaming wreckage if you're not too careful. Remember, keep an eye on your targeting sensors, as well as your map, to figure out where you enemies are, and then blast them through another hemisphere.
The controls in Armored Kill are excellent when it comes to tank mobility and aiming. You can choose between various camera types when it comes to controlling your tank, though our personal preference has to lie within the tank itself, where you have the aid of a targeting sensor, as well as markers that indicate who's a friendly better than if you would on the outside of the tank. Furthermore, you really feel the jarring effects of taking a shot better than inside the tank, wherein sitting outside of it, you merely get a look at the blast that your vehicle takes. Granted, that's a personal approach, you can use whatever view you feel like to get the jump on the opposition.
As for the online action itself, it ran smoothly throughout the various matches we took part in. There was non-stop action around each turn once we reached the thick of the Sennoy battlefield that we were on, shooting at tanks aplenty and joyously running over soldiers who just happened to be in the way. However, a word of warning – cloaked bazooka carriers can easily get the jump on you if you're not careful, leaving you in a pile of rubble. That's why it's helpful to have side gunners running with you, so they can keep an eye out on positioned soldiers and pick them off if the situation calls for it.
True, we didn't get a look at the other maps outside of the Sennoy-based Armored Shield, but it did set the tone for what to expect from this new pack. What's more, aerial vehicles can also join the fray, dive bombing from above and even engaging in firefights. Sadly, we didn't get to do much of that in the demo, but we'll see how the final map pack fares when it arrives this September for Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. Grab your vehicle, and prepare to give Tanks.