I've got a bone to pick with you, DICE. Several bones. You're calling this Battlefield 3 Aftermath DLC pack a "struggle for supremacy and survival" waged on and within "the shattered districts, streets and cities a post-earthquake Iran". You note that "operational capacity in the Iran region is severely compromised", and that the "earthquake has... damaged vehicles and weapons for both fighting forces".
Don't know about you, exacting reader, but after reading that intro, I was expecting troops of raggedy cannibals clubbing one another with their own, blown-off legs. I was expecting shopping trolleys full of injured men, gamely throwing half-bricks. I was expecting an upsurge of small-scale despotism, after the example of Spec Ops: The Line.
Instead, Battlefield 3's warring forces seem to have actually benefitted from the chaos. They might look a bit shabbier, a little more blood-stained around the elbows, but nowadays they have access to crossbows which fire a grand total of four different kinds of ammunition, including bolts that contain actually working motion sensors.
Where did you get the crossbow from, DICE? "Oh, we just threw it together from bits of assault rifle, car wire, scrap metal and good ole' all-American know-how." Right, right. And this "Rhino" troop transport with a remote controlled machine gun turret? "Yeah, we pieced together the mechanisms using the vital organs of executed deserters". OK then.
Scavenger Mode, at least, seems appropriate to the premise. The idea is that you start out with a pistol, grenade and knife, and must scavenge bigger and better weapons during an otherwise straightforward round of Conquest. Despite the hardcore survivalist ethic, newbies should enjoy this one, as it cancels out any advantages acquired via months upon months of levelling.
The Rhino isn't the only new ride on the shop. You can also expect the "Phoenix" - or as the Russians know her, the "Barsuk" - which is "a light transport where a grenade machine launcher has been fitted at the back in conjunction with the already existing machine gun on top, making it a ride that will carry troops quickly from A to B while also being able to dish out explosive damage to enemy vehicles and structures and fend off approaching infantry". Barsuk means "badger" in Russian, incidentally. Ever met a badger with a grenade launcher where its bottom should be?
You'll encounter old-style Battlefield 3 vehicles on all four Aftermath maps, which support all existing Battlefield 3 modes (including Gun Master, introduced by Battlefield 3: Close Quarters). There will be new assignments, achievements and dog tags to have your way with, too.
The pack's out on 18th December, or 4th December if you're a Battlefield Premium member. Any takers?