Many gamers have eagerly awaited the first map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops. While PS3 gamers will have to wait, XBOX 360 owners can finally get First Strike for 1200 MS Points. The first pack of DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops comes with 4 new multiplayer maps and a brand new zombie mode map. It seems like a good chunk of content but is the high price tag worth it? Let’s find out.
First up is Kowloon, which is easily my favorite of the new maps. It’s relatively small, but has many different paths to get to the same place, giving it the illusion of being much larger. In the middle of the map are two zip lines, one going in each direction. Any player can take the zip line for a quick escape or attack, but riding on the zip line leaves you complete vulnerable to enemies. The zip line is what makes this map stand out. During game types like Domination, players will constantly be trying to use the zip line for quick attack, and if successful, it can change the pace of a match in seconds.
Berlin Wall is next and has a new twist that keeps the action going at all times. In the middle of the map is a “red zone” that triggers turrets that will rip a player apart in about 3 seconds. What keeps the game fresh is the pure chaos it can cause. A lot of times players will be running away from a firefight and accidentally run right into the “red zone”. It adds a nice twist to the overall experience on almost any gametype.
The next map is Discovery. Discovery feels like the biggest map and offers a player who misses sniping a chance to be reacquainted with their beloved sniper rifle. There is a lot of open space for players to be picked off, but snipers will need to watch their backs or they will be greeted with a knife. The addition of a few small shelters keeps the close quarters firefights intense and satisfying.
The final multiplayer map, and by far my least favorite, is Stadium. This map is a wide open area outside of a hockey rink (hockey is played in an arena not a stadium), and is an absolute nightmare to play. Stadium is filled with extremely tall walls, and lots of opportunities for camping and drop shooting. Most of the time you will find players sitting in corners that are extremely dark, even though the map takes place during the day time. Drop shooting is a real issue because of the windows that look over the entire map. There are far too many areas that allow for snipers to have the advantage in every way possible. Most of these window areas have only one way in and it’s usually extremely narrow. Running into a claymore will usually result in death and alert the sniper that you are coming. It’s a really weak addition that needed more play testing.
The real treat in my opinion is the new zombies map, Ascension. It offers a brand new zombies experience that feels fresh and exciting. Certainly different than anything in World at War, or Black Ops. Ascension’s placement of spawn points for zombies and barriers to block from attacks are very intelligently placed. Players can always have an eye on where their enemies will be coming from, and if they die they probably weren’t paying enough attention. The more narrow halls and stairways give a much better experience and make players feel like they are truly fighting for their life. This is what the gametype is supposed to do in the first place.
Overall the First Strike map pack is a pretty good package. With the exception of Stadium, each new map is very different to what most Black Ops players will be used to, and gives Call of Duty players something new to experience. The fifteen dollar price tag is a little steep, but if you like Zombies then Ascension is worth the price of admission alone. First Strike is a great addition to the already stellar catalog of maps available for Black Ops, and every gamer that plays Black Ops should not hesitate to pick it up.
Overall, this is a solid package. Kowloon is a brilliant map and Ascension will keep you buys for weeks.