Treyarch have just released the first map pack for Black Ops and it comes packaged with four new multiplayer maps and one new map for everyone’s favorite zombie game mode, but at 1200MSP this is the same price as an entire Arcade game, so do the maps make it worth the cash?
Three of the four multiplayer maps on offer here are more typical Call of Duty territory, while one map, Kowloon, tries to do a few different things and because of that is arguably the best of the bunch on offer.
Kowloon sets up the atmosphere nicely: a dark and stormy night rages around you as you battle over the roof-tops and narrow walkways that make up the map. Treyarch have pulled some new tricks here in the map design with plenty of death-defying leaps to be made to get from one ledge to another and the map doesn’t seem to have one clear player-lane like most do making for an interesting experience.
Agile players will make the most of the map thanks to its many ledges, jumps, gaps and walkways, but the more careful player has access to some great hiding spots to ambush the unsuspecting suckers (I mean players) that pass by and snipers can hunt for the maps many hidden spots. It’s essentially one giant risk versus the reward map.
Kowloon is mostly a tight map that suits SMG’s and shotguns well but it does offer a few long lines of sight to keep players on their toes.
Simply put this is the pick of the maps.
Berlin Wall follows more traditional Call of Duty conventions and provides a mixture of gameplay ranging from plenty of indoors tight fighting to more open spaces and loads of area’s for those cheeky snipers to hide out.
The main feature of the map is the no-mans land between the two walls. There are three paths that go across this death trap and if you stray out of them the tower turrets open fire and spray your blood all over the pretty snow. Ouch.
Getting from one side to the other becomes a tense affair as you know your out in the open with no cover: the perfect prey for a sniper.
Ruined cars and tanks litter the map providing plenty of cover to advance through giving Berlin a bit more of a slower pace than the other maps in the pack as there are plenty of area’s for the enemy to be hiding and a good few two-floor buildings to provide snipers a good firing solution.
All-in-all it’s a good map.
Next up is Discovery, yet another snow map, and this one offers some nice open spaces for some longer ranged combat. Venture round the sides of the main route and you’ll find yourself in tighter area’s once again making sure there is a mix of gameplay on offer.
A big feature of this map is the destructable ice-bridge that cuts off a valuable short-cut when blown, and can do some big damage to the other team for those patient enough to wait.
Discovery is the second best map on offer in the pack. It doesn’t add anything new to the game but the design and layout make for some great matches.
The final competitive multiplayer map is Stadium which is set around a hockey rink, though sadly you can’t get on the ice and slide around like lunatics. Bummer.
Stadium is another fairly tight combat map with few open lines of sight for snipers to play with making for a frantic pace of play.
There’s a balance of indoor and outdoor locations with just the occasional hidey-hole to cower in. It keeps the game flowing well.
Rounding out the package is a new Zombie level as well, which features none other than Zombie Monkeys! Hurrah!
Ascension takes place in an abandoned Cold War era cosmodrome filled with traps, and monkeys. Don’t forget them.
It’s a great addition to the rather small Zombie map roster.
First Strike has just one major flaw: it’s price-tag. At 1200MSP this isn’t a cheap package, and if you don’t like Zombies then your paying a large price for just four maps, and if you only like Zombies then it’s an even more insane price.
The maps are well designed and are great additions to the line-up. They’ll keep any Call of Duty fan happy.