Call of Duty: Black Ops First Strike Map Pack Review (Xbox 360)
The First Strike Map Pack consists of four all new multiplayer maps, as well as the new zombie map. For the purposes of this review we will briefly talk about each map, and break things down to what was good and what could have been changed. From there we will judge the overall package. Still with me? Let’s start with the multiplayer maps.
Discovery is an Antartic German research facility that was abandoned during World War II. Most of the map takes place outdoors, with a few buildings to duck in and out of. If I had to venture a guess based on my time with the map pack, I’d say that Discovery is probably the largest of the new maps, there is enough on offer here to appease most types of players. There are several open areas for the rushing types, and the snipers will have no problem finding a couple of vantage points to take advantage of.
I’m primarily a S&D player when it comes to Call of Duty, so I personally haven’t really had a chance to test this, but I have heard from several people that there are several bridges and walkways that you can actually destroy. This would offer a definite unique strategy to the game, and I imagine it would be a good spot for some well placed C4.
Now some of you may be asking, why didn’t you just go into a different game type to try this out? Well there is a very simple answer for that, I suck at everything not S&D. I could potentially go into a TDM and try to see if the bridges blow, but it would require me to be able to have a better K/D ratio than 3 and 17. I’ve tried other game types, I fail, so I avoid them.
Discovery offers some unique scenery with the sky being lit up with a sort of a green light. I’m sure someone out there smarter than I knows why it is like that. Also when playing Discovery, beware of the pits. There are a lot of places where you can just fall to your death. Of the 4 new multiplayer maps, Discovery is probably my favorite. That’s not to say that the others don’t have something to offer. Well, just keep reading.
Inspired from the single-player campaign based off of Kowloon city in China. It’s a rooftop map, that is in a way similar to Favela from Modern Warfare 2. The difference would be that when I played in Kowloon, I got lost really easy. I found it a bit difficult to get my bearings about me. I don’t know what it was about this map, but things just seemed to blend together. I suppose it will fade with time like other maps.
Anyways, Kowloon is a rooftop map, so you can imagine finding a spot for a sniper to perch is a bit difficult. That’s not to say that these spots don’t exist, they do. They just seem to be less than in other maps. There are once again several indoor areas on the map, but for the most part it seemed to be really opened up. Kowloon continues the trend of having something unique by offering gamers ziplines to use in play. The zip lines can come in handy, or they can cause you grief depending on how you use them of course. Kowloon seems set up to suit the gamers that like open areas and a straight forward fight.
Stadium is a hockey rink located in the northeastern United States. The odd thing about this here map is that even though it is apparently built around an ice rink, you are only allowed the use of half the stadium, and going out onto the ice is completely off limits. Damn invisible walls! We’ll talk more about them after the breakdown. But there is an invisible wall that stops you from getting on the ice, which is a shame. It would have been interesting to see how that played out with everyone slipping and sliding around trying to line up a shot.
Stadium is probably the smallest of the maps featured in First Strike. It is pure chaos. Not quite on the level of Nuketown, but it is right up there. Snipers beware, there aren’t many spots here for you. Stadium seems to be designed with close quarters firefights in mind, which only adds to the boggle of not opening the ice rink… I think it was a missed opportunity. Stadium also happens to be the only map without a unique feature like Berlins automated guns, or Kowloon’s ziplines.
This one is pretty self explanatory, it takes place at the wall, and offers plenty of vantage points for snipers, and little cover for the run and gunner. There are a lot of buildings, and a lot of second floor windows to give you the high ground.
The cover becomes even less viable if one happens to venture into no mans land. No mans land would be where you can find the unmanned turrets that will cut you down if you venture into their line of fire. They will mercilessly cut you down. From what I saw, there is no way to get through no mans land. Damn it. Just hit me to try smoke grenades. Maybe they will make these areas passable.
Ascension is the new zombie map. I was not a big fan on the zombie modes in the previous Treyarch outings in the CoD universe. Thus far with Black Ops, that has been different. The original zombie map was fun to me. But Ascension… Ascension is the bees knees. I’m not sure what it is about this space station map here that just makes me want to continue playing. Maybe it is the space monkeys.. Maybe it is the black holes, but Ascension is by far my favorite zombie map in any Call of Duty game. It is a giant labyrinth of hall ways and debris, and it makes for an interesting experience.
There was something definitely fun about holding off as long as you can in an area, then just before the zombies get your ass hop on a landing pad and get the F out of Dodge. Ascension also introduced me to the Thunder gun. Now, this might have been in other zombie maps, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t run across it the first time, in Ascension. I now have a goal of getting a Thunder Gun out of a magic box, and throwing it into a Pack-A-Punch machine, just to see what happens.
Overall, the maps are all good to decent. But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the faults of the pack. For one thing, I found myself running into a lot of invisible walls. It almost seemed as if some things were put into the game to say “hey, look where you can’t go”. Now normally this would seem like a minor gripe, except that these walls aren’t always necessarily just on the outside of a map.
That gripe aside, I think the map pack offered a nice variety of play. There is something for all types of players here, and if I had to put an individual value on each map in the pack with the $15 that it costs total, I would break it down as follows:
Discovery: $3 Probably the best of the bunch on multiplayer maps, for me anyways.
Kowloon: $2 Decent map, but I found it hard to navigate.
Stadium: $1 Chaos, Stadium did nothing but frustrate me.
Berlin Wall: $3 Berlin Wall was fun, but watch for snipers
Ascension: $6. Ascension is easily the part of First Strike I am happiest with.