Well, it has been over a week since the first map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops released. On February 1, 2011, the First Strike map pack released for 1200 Microsoft Points ($15), and if you haven’t committed your hard-earned cash yet, you may want to listen to my take on this Xbox 360 exclusive expansion. If you have already, then read anyway to see if you share the same or have complete opposite feelings about my take on them.
The First Strike map pack comes with four brand new maps (no remakes), and one new zombie map. Getting the maps allows you to play the First Strike playlists with fellow map pack purchasers. However, if you’re in a party with someone that doesn’t have the new maps, then you’re going to be stuck playing the original maps. The First Strike maps pop up every now and again during regular playlists, too, but that’s only if everyone in the matched up lobby has them as well. Now, let’s talk about how each map plays.
The first map I want to talk about is Berlin. This map has buildings, streets, and of course, walls. This map is pretty open and the some of the walls are broken. Don’t be surprised to catch a camper shooting out a window, because this map is designed to catch unsuspecting players who walk out into the open. A unique addition to this map is the inclusion of areas that cannot be crossed right in the middle of the map. Unsuspecting players, especially first timers, will get caught walking through these deadly areas and get gunned downed by the map’s unmanned turrets. It looks pretty safe to walk through, but it definitely is not. I also found it funny how jumping out of certain windows lead right into these death zones and this causes almost instant deaths. I’m sure the makers of this map got a good laugh out of that one.
Next up is Kowloon. This map is exclusively on rooftops, and I consider this to be a camper’s paradise. There are multiple rooms, sharp turns, and multiple paths. It’s a pretty big map, so having game with a large amount of people is definitely ideal. This map also has a unique addition that no other map has and that is the inclusion of a zip-line. Almost at the center of the map is a room that leads to the map’s zip-line. This zip-line feels like you’re playing the game’s campaign mode as you fly halfway across the map. You cannot shoot or look around when taking this zip-line, and what ends up happening is you die about 80% of the time you use it. This map is pretty neat, but definitely not for Team Deathmatch.
Next we have Discovery. This map has buildings and bridges in a snow field. It’s kind of like the Black Ops original map Summit. This can get pretty bad in terms of camping as well. There are multiple rooms and sharp turns that give campers the edge during a Team Deathmatch game. There is also a lot of open areas if you’re not in a building, and this makes you very susceptible to snipers, too. I say that this is probably the most uninteresting of all 4 of the multiplayer maps.
The last of the multiplayer maps is Stadium. This, I believe, is the most visually appealing to play on. It’s a nice change of pace from the buildings/field scene. This map is the smallest of the 4, and it is played in and around an ice hockey stadium. It’s fast-paced and there’s always action around each corner. The hockey rink is featured on the map, but unfortunately, it cannot be walked on. You can see the rink, Zamboni and scoreboard, but the area is off limits. This makes me feel a bit cheated, because they could have certainly had these areas playable if they wanted to. I think it would have made it a much more interesting map.
And finally, we have Ascension. This is the reason why this map pack may be worth your $15. This zombie map is huge! You can get lost very easily in this map. The zombies enter from the windows and jump down from above — you already know how this works. But this zombie map has its own twists and turns that keep you on your toes. The addition of a few new goodies to toy around with in the mystery box makes this go at zombies a very refreshing one. You have two new types of special grenades. One is a black hole that pulls all the zombies away from you for when you’re about to get swarmed (much like the monkey grenades). The other new grenade is a Russian stacking doll grenade, and these explode multiple times and in turn kill at lot of zombies at once.
This zombie map also features some new traps, new ability boosts, and a unique way to flee from a large amount of zombies. Pack-a-punching your gun (upgrading your gun) is also something you can look forward to discovering together with your friends.
Overall, I truly believe that the new zombie map makes or breaks the deal for the majority of you Call of Duty: Black Ops owners. If you’re big on zombies, then I say go for it. But if you’re exclusively on multiplayer, then I suggest you pass on this map pack. Dropping 15 dollars is pretty steep. That’s 1/4 of what most of you paid for the game.
- Title: Call of Duty: Black Ops First Strike map pack
- Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360
- Release Date: 2.01.2011
- MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)
- Review copy info: A download code was provided to DualShockers Inc. by the publisher for the purpose of this review.