Black Ops First Strike Map Pack

Tron gives the lowdown on the new CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS map pack.

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks now since the Call of Duty: Black Ops map packs have been available and it still seems many people haven’t gotten them yet.  I’m the kind of nerd that was up until 4am when that sucker finally became available but I’m hardcore.  I will also be the first to tell you that at $15, four maps and a zombie level aren’t really worth what it costs to get them.  However, as I’m sure you’re already aware, Black Ops the game has been out since November and the normal maps have gotten a little played out so any new content, as they say, is good.  So this article is a brief breakdown of what you get in that map pack to help you make the decision about whether to download this small offering or skip it entirely, and to make it fun, I’ll cover the maps in the order in which I like them.

Kowloon City looked to be my least favorite of the new maps in the trailer.  The idea is you’re fighting on the rooftops so there are a lot of pitfalls you need to be wary of (falling off sucks).  Otherwise, the map is a tightly constructed series of buildings and even higher rooftops for your dude to take cover in and decimate the opposing force from.  Domination is so much fun to play on this level as neither position A or C are completely defensible with plenty of ways for you to be snuck up on and position B is a veritable bloodbath.  It takes some strategy and some teamwork to hold down the monkey-room, let alone some of the other buildings and run-and-gun players may have to change up their strategy a little because bold snipers can be ruthless.  Far and away one of the best designed maps in the whole pack.

The Stadium is the second best of the new levels.  Treyarch built a whole hockey arena and surrounding pavilion for you to run around in and shoot each other to blazes and the only thing that holds this up from being the best map is they don’t allow you on the ice or in the bleachers – a true taunt just roping it off and making you wish you could get in there but no worries.  The surrounding area, including vendor areas, is pretty big and lends itself well to the run-and-gun antics of first person shooters.  Indeed, finding a truly defensible position is like pulling teeth with a string and a door frame.  Not so good for campers but if you have any desire to run around like a maniac and shoot everything you see, the Stadium level is the one for you.

Berlin Wall. This level is more of a camper’s paradise.  The development team spent a lot of time on this area and it shows.  The East German side is very industrial and kind of run down while the Western side has a record store and a apothecary and looks far more modern.  In between is a huge no-man’s land between two huge sections of wall, guarded by uncaring chain guns.  One thin strip in the middle (where “B” is located in Domination) and the two sides are the only egress to the other side of the map.  This map is all about controlling choke points and finding a defensible position moreso than the other three levels and lends itself well to both the camping and run-and-gun styles of gameplay.  I have had tremendous success with both styles on this map and if you know what you’re doing, Domination is a tremendously fun style of play on this map.

Discovery is probably my least favorite map of the set, being another huge snowy box with a few buildings in the center.  The attraction here is the destructible ice bridges that looked so much fun in the trailer but in reality are not hard to destroy (just shoot them), not hard to navigate (if destroyed, just jump over them) and not worth the hype.  What you are left with, again, is a big box with a bunch of buildings and some ice ledges.  Very uninspired and seems almost like an afterthought, like “we need another level but we don’t have a ton of time.  Let’s just do another ice one.”  The best I can say about this one is it’s a new map.

Ascension:  This is one of the biggest zombie levels to date and has a ton of secrets and discoveries to make along the way.  This level takes place in an abandoned Soviet missile base and begins in black and white (the color comes on when you discover the power).  Treyarch didn’t stray from the uber-popular mode, which consists of waves of zombies attempting to breach your defenses and you and your mates attempt to keep them out.  Like the other zombie levels, about wave 5 you have enough money to start opening doors and exploring and, of course, this is where the level really takes off.  Tons of doors for you to open, plenty of secrets abound.  There are chainguns to help your defense, rocket lift pads for quick escapes, a giant missile you can launch (and destroy) and the area is disgustingly huge.  We unlocked almost everything (we thought) and it turns out there is still more to discover.  Treyarch even added space monkeys who will throw grenades back at you and generally make your life a living hell.  If you like zombie survival games, Treyarch just gave you one hell of a fun challenge and made a wonderful addition to this map pack.

So there you have it.  We all know these 5 map packs should only retail for about $10 so at $15 it seems a little high but Black Ops continues to be the most played game on Xbox Live and if we’re all playing that much (and we are), it’s pretty hard not to recommend the new map pack just to have new areas to kill on and the new zombie level definitely adds some much needed value to this otherwise fine (yet not stellar) outing.  Treyarch is constantly trying to up the ante and this is a solid first effort (knowing them, there  is more to come and I’ll bet there are people that haven’t even unlocked the Pentagon zombie level or the Dead-Ops arcade game, let alone Zork or the Lynx files hidden in the start menu).  By the way, if you go to the Zombies tab, the Dead-Ops arcade game (which is so brilliant it deserves it’s own write-up) is finally multi-player so get your trigger fingers ready.

statutory ape

Like the rundown of all the maps…..you should go check out what Activision is up to these days now that their former cash cow “Guitar Hero” franchise has been scrapped due to over saturation of the music game market. They’re supposedly going to concentrate their efforts on their other more important franchise: Call of Duty. Read up on their new endeavour, “BEACHHEAD” and why we may to have to pay to play the COD online multiplayer in the near future….I don’t know about you, but I have one word: Booo-urns….

Posted February 16, 2011 01:02 am
statutory ape

Oh, and I recommend to everyone that if you play Call of Duty: Black Ops, just get the map pack. It sucks when you’re in a room with all your pals that have the DLC, and then you get kicked from the lobby because you didn’t shell out the MS points. Its worthwhile, even if its only to satisfy that social disorder involving the substitution of online social groups for personal human interaction that you may have developed while playing online games…..no offense to anyone offended.

- xSTATUTORYxAPE out……..

Posted February 16, 2011 06:02 am
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