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Call of Duty: Black Ops – First Strike Map Pack Review

With the call for more DLCs for games nowadays, it’s no surprise that companies produce them. Is it for profit? Is it for story expansion? Or is it to shut the whiny fans up? Probably all of the above. The Three Prime Evils of Shooters (Halo, Call of Duty and Gears of War) are notorious for putting out numerous amounts of DLC for all of their games, but this isn’t about Halo or Gears. No, this is about Call of Duty: Black Ops and it’s first DLC, First Strike.

The contents of this lovely download (for 1200 MSP, by the way) include five maps, four of which are for multi-player and the other one is for the highly-popular Zombies Mode. The maps are as follows: Stadium, Discovery, Kowloon and Berlin Wall. The new Zombies map is called Ascension, but I will not be reviewing it. Why? Well, I’m not much of a Zombies player, so I’ll let someone else review it. Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Discovery I LOVE this map! It’s like Array, except less stupid! It’s great for all ranges of combat, and there are some great sniping spots too. If you happen to use the Care Package Killstreak, you’ll find that there are several good places to drop your crate that provide great coverage and allow you to claim your prize without some ass-hat with Ninja Pro coming to snag your rightfully earned Chopper Gunner. But with every map, there are always a few cons. Most notably is the fact any air support you call in can easily get shot down rather fast…most of the time, it’ll be your CH-46 Knight (Care Package Helicopter) that gets shot down, thus screwing you out of a Care Package.

The other con in this map is the Ice Bridge, pictured below.

Yeah, don’t let it fool you. Most players are always fighting for control of this bridge. It’s a great way to sneak underneath the opposing team if they are camping, it’s a great way to get to a capture point in Domination or S&D and it’s also great to booby trap. Booby trap? Oh yes, kids…I said booby trap.

The interesting thing about this bridge is that the center is completely destructible with C4 (Grenades don’t seem to do it all that well for me). If you plant it properly where the enemy can’t see it, you can detonate it and watch them explode and/or tumble to their doom faster than you can say “Own3d!”. I give this map an 8.5 out of 10!

Stadium Okay, this map is actually pretty decent for just about all the game types. While it may look big, it’s actually not. This map is supposedly modeled after a hockey rink somewhere in New York. For the longest time, most people theorized that the map would be based out of Canada or somewhere in the northeast of the United States. Anyway, you have a lot of different rooms and 2-story building that you can post up and keep watch on a variety of different angles if you are defending an objective or camping for kills. The ice rink is impossible to get to(I already tried it) by normal means. But, some little fat kid in the UK figured it out(Video is on YouTube somewhere) by throwing a Tactical Insert into the rink from a certain angle and now…well…you can get on the ice and camp behind the Zamboni machine.

This map has a lot of cover and blind spots, so I think this map is much more effective for Tactical Game-Types as opposed to Deathmatch Game-Types. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not saying that this map is no good for TDM, it’s just that with all the cover, camping spots and overall design, this map seems perfect for Domination, Headquarters and Search & Destroy…although I could imagine the frag-fest on Domination considering how tight and sharp most of the corners are and how “out of the way” most camping spots are. Overall, I give this map a 7 out of 10!

Berlin Wall This map seriously pisses me off and will more than likely do the same to you as well. It’s not so much the players that bug me, it’s the goddamn map layout! This map was designed for camping, sniping and long-range combat. If you enjoy using a shotgun, well you’re pretty much screwed. Berlin Wall is a medium-sized map, but it should have be categorized as a large map. Examples of large maps are Fuel(CoD: MW2), Bloc(CoD 4: MW) and Downfall(CoD: WaW). One thing that sets Berlin Wall apart from the other maps is the inclusion of a “No-man’s land”, which is noticeably shown in red on the map layout when you press Start. Here is what “No-man’s land” looks like: Basically, if you step anywhere within the red area(as indicated on the mini-map), Auto Turrets will begin firing on you. That’s why I call it the “Dead Zone” because anyone that happens to venture into that area for an extended period of time ends up dead. However, like most UK kids(I say UK kids because it is ALWAYS some kid from the UK who is the first to find a glitch or method to the game or it’s maps and post it on YouTube.) they found a way to get past it without dying. Truth be told, you can throw a Willy Pete and it will provide some cover for you as you run across the Dead Zone. Also, the Auto Turrets will not target your RC-XD Killstreak and they will only target one person at a time. So, if you want to be an asshole and sacrifice your teammate’s life to get to that “one, good camping spot”, you can.

This map is fairly decent for TDM, but I think it’s mostly useful for Tactical Game-Types, especially Search & Destroy. In TDM, people are just gonna camp hard and wait for you or the rest of your team to come around the corner or down the street and pick you off. Also, most of the campers on this map LOVE using Claymores and Camera Spikes. So, utilizing Hacker is a must. This map gets a 6 out of 10.

Kowloon I seriously dislike this map. There is always one shitty map in the pack you buy and this is the one. Kowloon is based on the level, Numbers, in the Single Player campaign of Black Ops although it takes place in a different section of the city. This map is unique as well due to the inclusion of zip-lines placed on the level. They’re fun to use, but they leave you completely exposed to enemy gunfire since you can’t use your weapon. I’m not kidding about this. When you choose to use the zip-line, your HUD displays your weapon as “Zipline” and it stays that way until you either get blasted off the line or you safely make it to the other end. This is what you see when other people are using the Zipline:

The downside to this map is that there are A LOT of dark corners, one-door access balconies and several advantageous rooftops to snipe and if you are not the camping type, you’re boned. However on the plus side, this map is actually very fun for Capture The Flag and Domination as both zip-lines drop you off at 2 different CTF points and 2 different Domination points, helping you get some easy captures if the area is secure and not full of opposing players. Now, most Veteran players know of this and will do everything to keep the enemy team from getting to the center building where the zip-lines start. So, that in itself is a frag-fest waiting to happen. This map gets a 3.5 out of 10.

Overall, Treyarch’s first Map Pack for Black Ops is a decent buy. It’s a only got 1 map worth playing TDM on and the others are pretty much for Tactical players. So, it’s a mixed bag. Now, I know there are some new maps coming out soon for another DLC. The maps are: Hotel, Munich, Landing, Pentagon, Port, Rooftops, Sandstorm, Sea Lab, Ship Yard, Underwater, Cubetown, Outskirts, Icebreaker and Cargo. Keep an eye out for more information regarding these future maps!

Until next episode…

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