After having a while to sit down with the new maps that dropped for Call of Duty Elite subscribers on January 24 (Xbox 360 only), it has become clear that Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games and Raven Software have put quite a bit of thought into this year’s DLC season for Modern Warfare 3. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the issues out there have been fixed.
The beginning of the DLC season, which will run for nine months, kicked off with the release of two new multiplayer maps– Liberation and Piazza. Liberation is a beautiful, open map set in New York City, and Piazza is a scenic, equally-as-beautiful urban maze set on the coast of Italy. Both maps are quite a sight to behold, but they play as different as two maps possibly can.
Liberation is a very wide-open map, with plenty of opportunity for both outdoors and indoors combat. The settings in Liberation are as far-ranging as a broken building resembling a castle, to a dried-up river bed. Snipers rule on this map, and players new to the map should be very wary of where they wander. Chances are, if you step out into the open, you’re going to take a bullet. This is a nice departure from the rest of the maps in Modern Warfare 3, as apart from the rarely-voted-for Outpost, and the slightly more popular Interchange, Modern Warfare 3 had a distinct lack of maps in which you could effectively snipe.
With all of this open space, there certainly is enough room for each player to respawn away from action, right? Well, not necessarily. Liberation is plagued with one of Modern Warfare 3‘s biggest problem, just like all of the core maps – the spawn system. Almost invariably, you will be killed by someone on the bridges of the map only to spawn directly underneath them. In addition, spawns directly in front of an enemy that result in a quick death are also very common, as are instances where the game spawns you behind your killer. With such a huge amount of space to work with, there isn’t any excuse for this on Liberation.
Piazza is almost the polar-opposite of Liberation, apart from its equally-as-scenic setting. Piazza is an urban village located in Italy, and is just as intimidating to first-time players as Liberation is. For the most part, every street in Piazza has multiple paths branching off of it, and there are multiple different levels of elevation to choose from on the map. The outskirts of the map still allow for close-quarters indoor fighting, but the streets also allow for ranged gunfights. The result of such a varied map is a plethora of vertical gunfight opportunities and an equal amount of opportunities to sit back with an assault rifle and pick off rival players.
Piazza delivers much better results in the way of spawning than Liberation, and the result is a much more fun map to play on. After learning the map, players will likely take a fast liking to Piazza. This is because flanking routes are always available and the opportunity to drop down from above onto an enemy and take them out also becomes available often. Piazza is a very nice breath of fresh air from the mostly flat maps that shipped with Modern Warfare 3.
Also included in conjuction with the new maps was a title update. The title update altered the striker, an often complained-about weapon and buffed the other shotguns in the game. The striker now fires less pellets per shot, being a semi-automatic shotgun with high power, and the other shotguns all now fire more. In addition, the extended mags glitch that allowed for more pellets per shot when using the attachments, was also patched. The firing rate of akimbo machine pistols was also reduced in the update, and a glitch allowing for unlimited or negative prestige tokens was also fixed, along with a glitch that allowed players to prestige early.
So far, the studios tasked with making the season of DLC for Modern Warfare 3 are showing that they have the ability to offer different experiences than what we’re used to. Liberation delivered a popular map that seems to be ruled by sniper rifles, and Piazza delivered an option for vertical firefights that are most commonly found in other titles such as Halo.
The maps will be released in larger packs to non-Elite subscribers sometime later this spring, with other content and maps being dropped at varying intervals throughout the year. Elite subscribers will receive that aforementioned content before anyone else. With regards to this pack, release dates for both Elite and non-Elite subscribers on the PS3 have not yet been announced.
The full DLC schedule for Modern Warfare 3 players who subscribe to Elite can be found here.
Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Elite Map Pack 1 was released on January 24th, 2012
Great map variation and scenic locations help make these maps feel fresh and exciting. I wouldn't call this particular piece of DLC "must-have," but fans of the game should definitely look into picking it up.