Most shooter map packs take a pick-and-mix approach, offering up a variety of layout types, locations and styles in order to make you feel better about handing over your money. DICE has been doing something different with Battlefield 3, however, by designing each add-on around a specific theme or gameplay style.
Back to Karkand was the retro pack, bringing popular maps of old into the new rotation. Close Quarters was a blatantly obvious two-finger salute to Call of Duty, ditching the epic scope expected from Battlefield maps and instead offering a tight, fast, headshot-centric experience. Armored Kill was all about the tanks, baby.
Aftermath is the most thematically focused yet, feeling like it should come in a cardboard box with a crinkly plastic window and the words Tehran Earthquake Playset emblazoned across the front. This is a collection of four maps all based around the devastating Iranian tremor that played an important role in the game's campaign mode - a bold idea, and one that is sometimes as limiting as it is inspired.
DICE will this week release a patch for Battlefield 3 that should please PlayStation 3 owners.
The update, out on 27th November on consoles and no later than 4th December on PC, addresses input lag on PS3. We now believe we have significantly improved this situation for all players, DICE said.
Sticking with the PS3 version of the first-person shooter, the patch improves audio stability. The audio dropouts reported by some PlayStation 3 gamers playing Battlefield 3 should now be fixed for the majority of players," DICE said.
EA has released its seminal PC first-person shooter Battlefield 1942 for free on its distribution portal Origin.
Battlefield 3's fourth expansion pack, Aftermath, introduces a new mode that gives newcomers a fighting chance.
Battlefield 3 expansion Aftermath will be released first for PS3 Premium subscribers on 27th November, then for PC and Xbox 360 Premium subscribers on 4th December.
The standard PS3 release date is 11th December; the standard PC and Xbox 360 date is 18th December.
Aftermath's free for Premium subscribers (subscription costs Ł40 quid) but costs $14.99 for everyone else (I'll check local pricing).