And what of this new vehicle, the Armored Personnel Carrier? Is it just a land-based version of the dropship? Thankfully not. If anything, it's the opposite. Whereas the dropship was only really useful in a few very specific circumstances, the APC is a versatile beast that will fundamentally alter the way you play. This isn't always a good thing, but let's focus on the positives for now.
Available in slightly different designs for both Chernovan and Eucadian forces, whichever version you use you'll benefit from the same tools. First and foremost, you can use it to ferry up to six soldiers around the map, with each able to pop out of their own hatch to return enemy fire. With its snub-nosed design, it makes for an effective battering ram, smashing through enemy jeeps with a satisfying crunch. But the APC also doubles as a spawn point. As long as there's a friendly unit behind the wheel, you're able to rejoin the fight inside its armoured bosom. It's tough as well, capable of taking five direct hits from a rocket launcher before exploding.
That's still not all. The APC also boasts an E-POD shield, deployed with the R1 button, but actually it feels like one benefit too many. After the take-it-or-leave-it dropship, what we have here is a vehicle capable of thundering through your defences, protecting itself with an energy shield and allowing enemy forces to respawn endlessly behind your lines. It's a fortress, basically, and one that bestows an incredible advantage on any team that works together in order to make full use of it. It certainly makes life as a lowly foot soldier even more futile than ever.
Once you include the new items added in the 1.3 update, the balance of the game has shifted considerably. Get a few soldiers with wrenches in the APC, and they can patch whatever damage it does soak up. Get some soldiers with the new shield device, and couple that with the APC's shield, and you've got a team that's incredibly hard to push back. A game that was once about staying in motion and swapping vehicles now seems more focused on bunkering down behind shields and using one vehicle for almost all your needs. Whether or not this will affect the gameplay detrimentally remains to be seen, but it's not hard to imagine that many matches will now become a mad scramble for the APCs, followed by lots of turtling as teams hunker inside their transports, behind their shields, and throw ridiculous amounts of ordnance at each other.
There are a few other tweaks worth mentioning. Ten of the existing map layouts have been updated so APCs can be used. APC availability for these maps can be toggled in setup lobby, so you don't have to worry about blocking friends from familiar maps if they don't have the expansion. There are also some variable weather effects, but as this mostly manifests as a crude snowstorm overlay on the screen, it hardly makes a huge difference to the gameplay.
Broken Mirror certainly addresses all the major complaints directed towards Omega Dawn, although by giving the APC so many tactical advantages Incog may have created a monster. However, it would be silly to allow concerns about how the game may change in the future to distract too much from the advances made in this expansion. This is DLC delivered with TLC (yes, I've been saving that) and anyone who has found themselves drifting away from Warhawk should find plenty here to coax them back.