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Many gamers were up in arms after Modern Warfare 2‘s policy of providing three new maps, and two old ones in their DLC packs. Thankfully, in a step away from Infinity Ward’s repackaging strategy, Treyarch has opted to provide four brand new maps and a new zombie stage in their first DLC pack, entitled First Strike.

Considering a lot of Call of Duty fans are on edge, I’m sure many are wondering “is the First Strike pack is worth my hard earned $15″? The answer is pretty simple if you’re a fan of Black Ops: yes.

The most sensible way to break down this review is map by map, so I’ll cover all four multiplayer stages, and the new zombie offering.

All the multiplayer stages are of medium size, meaning they can be cycled in both Ground War and Team Deathmatch gametypes, among others.

Discovery (Pictured Above)

This map looks and feels like the single player mission “Project Nova” (the Reznov camp raid). Set in a snowy mountain-top, Discovery hosts a military complex divided by a steel bridge, which has an additional ice bridge underneath. An aurora borealis lights up the sky, adding a pretty neat effect to the map, and there’s plenty of places to hide, including various factories, and even an ice cave.

The aforementioned ice bridge is destructible (which has been showcased in all the game’s trailers), but it really isn’t that big of an addition. Players can simply use the right or left access ridges, or the entire center bridge to get to the other side. Additionally, the ice bridge itself is really small, the path is very open to gunfire, and it’s fairly easy to blow up with a few rockets and grenades (meaning Warlord Pro users can knock it out pretty much instantly on their first spawn).

While the ice bridge’s lack of flair isn’t anything to write home about, Discovery itself is a solid map, and it sets an interesting precedent for destructible environments in future Black Ops map packs. I, for one, hope we see more of it in future iterations.

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall is another city-type map, and hosts a good balance of open areas and buildings. Just like the on-disc Havana map, there are various nooks and diners to hide in if you want to get off the streets. A lot of detail was put into this one, as it showcases some nuanced aesthetics of East and West Berlin, adding a unique feel to objective gametypes.

The wall itself is in the dead center of the map, and a small break allows you to walk a thin line between the two gun zones. Machine guns are posted at the two watchtowers in the center of the map. Thankfully you won’t get shot down randomly, as zones that are machine gun territory are marked in red on your mini-map. It is possible to run past them (especially in larger games where their fire won’t be focused solely on you), but survival isn’t likely.

No doubt this will be a hot spot for objective based games, and the machine gun placements really add a fresh element of natural danger to Black Ops; something the on-disc maps didn’t really provide.

Kowloon

Based off the campaign mission “Numbers”, Kowloon is a rooftop map that contains a new  feature: ziplines. There are two in total on the map, and both of their inception points are located in the dead center of the stage, going in opposite directions towards either edge.

Using them will leave you completely wide open to attack, but they’ll allow you to gain quick access to the map’s edges. While in theory they are kind of a neat addition, it would have been nice if we were able to at least utilize a sidearm while using them. Despite my qualms with this new gimmick, the map is absolutely superb, and really differentiates itself from the on-disc maps, most notably because of the tight-knit layout, and weather effects.

With low visibility due to rainfall, and tons of tiny shacks, one thing’s for sure: Kowloon is a window camper’s paradise.

Stadium

Stadium, or more precisely, “Chance Stadium” is one of the more orthodox maps featured in First Strike. This one doesn’t pull any punches or have a unique gimmick: and a result, it’s probably the weakest selection in the pack. Fans of CQC and the AK74u are sure to have some fun here, as the only real open area is in the center of the map: the rest is blocked off by various buildings, and high outdoor walls.

If you were expecting to actually set foot on the ice rink, prepare to be disappointed, as it’s completely blocked off. While the various training rooms and areas are well detailed, the actual layout itself is pretty standard. While it isn’t a “bad” map per se, it is more of the same, and at $15, Activision needs to do a bit more than that to sway people who are on the fence.

Ascension

Ascension is a unique zombie map set in a space station, and adds a whole assortment of weapons and mechanics to Black Op’s zombie mode. In what is described by Treyarch as a “Wizard of Oz” effect, until you turn the power on, the map is rendered completely in black and white. This aesthetic succeeds for two reasons: one, it invokes the classic feel of old school zombie flicks “I Walked With a Zombie”, and “White Zombie”, which stays true to the mode’s throwback roots. Second, it helps add to the tension, considering it’s harder to discern friend from foe in the monochrome abyss. Once you turn the power back on, all hell breaks loose, and the game returns to color.

“Ascension “also stays true to it’s name, as it features an assortment of multi-tiered complexes and flying platforms. In addition to the level’s myriad of staircases, it also features a ton of open areas, two new perks, and a few new weapons. The most notable addition is the Matryoshka Doll bomb, which actually features multiple bombs that pop out of each other in hilarious fashion. The Gersch Device, another new addition, is a portable black hole that allows you to suck zombies into the dark depths of nothingness, and can be utilized as a portal by players. Because of these features, Ascension draws comparisons to World at War’s best zombie map, Der Riese: and that’s a good thing for fans.

With all these open areas, it’s just as well that there’s plenty of room to move around, considering the agile Zombie Monkeys have replaced Hell Hounds – these crazy space monkeys hop around like mad, and are pretty tough to spot. Mechanics wise, instead of the teleporters from Five and Kino der Toten, Ascension features a hovering platform (pictured) to allow players to move back and forth across the map. While you’re hovering (which takes around ten seconds per ride), you can shoot zombies below. There are three access points, and once you’ve taken all of them, the Pack-a-Punch room opens up, and allows you to upgrade your guns. Like Kino der Toten’s teleporter, the hover platform is also on a limited timer.

Overall, Ascension feels like a perfect blend of old and new, making it a must play for zombie fans. If you don’t play Zombies, this does nothing to sweeten the deal, but considering this is probably the most accessible map yet, it’s worth a try.

Gamer Limit gives First Strike an 8.5 out of 10.

  1. avatar blackopssux

    i dont care if its good, it isnt on PS3 and PC, so it sux.

    • avatar PS3 Is HORRIBLE

      PS3 Is HORRIBLE, notice how Xbox gets it first because they are the most important.

    • avatar Looks like a 360 Fanboy.

      At this point in the game there’s little difference between the PS3 and 360. The reason they got the map pack first is because they have a deal with Microsoft. And yes, I am a ps3 fan boy. I’m sorry but why would a company release a gaming system that they know has a 40% failure rate? Money. That’s all Microsoft cares about. Money. They don’t care about the gamers.

    • avatar Anonymous

      ps3 created cod bitch

  2. avatar StonedinNY

    That’s cause PS3 suck’s, get a xbox.
    They didnt wanna release it for PS3 till later cause they wanna put their attention into real system’s first, and worry bout the crap system’s later.

    • avatar qwe

      Wow, it must suck to be you.

    • avatar Cobra

      Wow, this is easily the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. Good work.

    • avatar Samuil Kabakov

      Hey, guys I’m an experienced gamer. I read some comments that the Xbox360 is better than the PS3. I have some questions: Have you ever seen better graphics than this of God of War 3? One more.. Have you ever seen better Wester game than Red Dead Redemption ??

    • avatar Anonymous

      dude, red dead redemption is on ps3 too, so what’s your point?
      and i’m pretty sure teh graphics would look exactly the same on both systems

  3. avatar qwe

    StonedinNY – Are you really this idiot or you just need some attention?

  4. avatar Anonymous

    It’s feb 1st and it’s not out on xbox what’s going on this is stupid

  5. avatar ninjablaze

    The first post in this topic was just as fanboyish as StonedinNY’s, why are you singling him out?

    • avatar Roberto

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  6. avatar Why isn't it out yet it's 12:30

    I just don’t get why it’s not out please reply

  7. avatar Why isn't it out yet it's 12:30

    It says feb 1 why can’t I purchase it

  8. avatar Why isn't it out yet it's 12:30

    Pls help

  9. avatar Why isn't it out yet it's 12:30

    It keeps saying that there’s no map pack in the store at this time

  10. avatar Nam

    2 am PST. You do the math.

  11. avatar Because...

    Marketplace updates at the same time every single day (2 A.M. PST I believe), and that doesn’t change just because a big map pack is coming out for CoD. Be patient, it will be there once LIVE updates.

  12. I don’t know if the addition of new maps, especially for $15, will be enough to get me excited for BLOPS’s multiplayer again. It’s just so weird how I played MW2 up to level 70, but I’m bored with Black Ops by level 33. It’s just missing something.

    It’s good to see Treyarch doing things differently and creating new maps rather than rehashing old ones.

    • avatar asdgd

      i think it has to do with them getting rid of unlockable emblems, and camo and all that stuff. Sure they were kinda pointless but at least it gave you something to work towards after you prestige

  13. avatar douche bags

    You’re all a bunch of douchebags. Black ops is a shit game all around, and this map pack is just even more of the same garbage. Oh, and both the ps2 and Xbox is fucking awful. Wii ftw!

  14. Great work getting this out so quickly Chris!

  15. avatar mrandydixon

    Don’t have the game (yet[?]), but I’m glad to hear those that do will have a good time!

  16. avatar Anonymous

    best map?

  17. avatar coug189

    PS3 should have got this map pack first to allow time for all the damn loading?…}&%…what’s up with that…I’ve had a 360 since day one and just a ps3…the xbox is a way better game system all around…blue-ray is over-rated.

    • avatar Indra

      I must say, as a lot as I enjoyed rinaedg what you had to say, I couldnt help but lose interest after a while. Its as if you had a good grasp to the subject matter, but you forgot to include your readers. Perhaps you should think about this from far more than one angle. Or maybe you shouldnt generalise so considerably. Its better if you think about what others may have to say instead of just heading for a gut reaction to the subject. Think about adjusting your own thought process and giving others who may read this the benefit of the doubt.

  18. avatar mike

    Forget you guys, PC is where it is at.

  19. avatar Samuil Kabakov

    Hey, guys I’m an experienced gamer. I read some comments that the Xbox360 is better than the PS3. I have some questions: Have you ever seen better graphics than this of God of War 3? One more.. Have you ever seen better Wester game than Red Dead Redemption ??

  20. avatar me!!

    ive played on ps3 xbox 360 and wii i like 360 and wii the best just cuz with we its weird u like nvr get bord of it but 360 and ps3 have better graphics and gameplay so all around i think its a tie between 360 and wii… ps3 is for ****in losers

  21. avatar Dexter345

    I totally agree on Stadium. It’s not bad, but the other maps are great, and it’s just average.

    Even though the maps are great, I don’t really anticipate it’ll get me back into playing Black Ops regularly again.

  22. avatar Rich

    You guys are all so sad – PC and both consoles are great in their own ways, and each of them has its flaws

  23. avatar anynamous

    black ops is kind of boring mw2 was way more fun prestiged all 10 times and i baely made it to 1st on black ops.

  24. avatar here

    So bad for me that I don’t have Xbox :/

  25. avatar ps3fanboy

    ps3 merks ur little nerd system sh*tbox 3sh*tty, when u all ready to step into the big leagues get urself a real system (PS3) does all and more, God of War pwns all ur lame shiat. anyways got what i needed to let out, go buy some batteries think your controllers are dying haha oh what cant afford to play online next month boo hoo all to old.. one more thing whoever that was that mentioned wii. just.. just shut up u got no room to say. ok now im done goodnight

  26. avatar retiredboxer

    I’ve got an opinion, i’ve got EVERY game system, I have two Wii’s one for my wife and I and one for our son, I have a Ps3 and an xbox 360 in the bedroom. I have the ps3 in the livingroom b/c it’s a blu-ray player, a game system and I can surf the internet with it. I keep the xbox 360 in the bedroom b/c it’s very limited as far as capabilities go. The graphics are identical, the biggest difference is the online play. With PSN there is no cost whereas Xbox Live is 49.99 a year. I’m just partial to the ps3 b/c it does more. I started out as a PS3 hater but have reformed to the opposite. That’s the opinion of someone who owns them all. P.s. The wii’s graphics are horrible but the fun factor is there for families.

  27. avatar Yawn...

    Wow, you guys are fanboys. Seriously! It doesn’t matter about the system, what matters is the game. They released Xbox’s 1st strike MP 1st because, apparently, Microsoft doesn’t have as much content on it. I have to say though… I have the map pack, and I went to MW2 almost immediatley. The only REAL good map is Kowloon. Zombies is so not good for B.O., Nazi zombies in the Cold War… no. Zombies should’ve stayed in W@W.

  28. avatar Inferno486

    Dude, it DOES matter you either suck or kick butt.

  29. avatar Suzana

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