Modern Warfare 2: Stimulus Package Review

By Adam Ma on April 3, 2011

Love it or hate it Modern Warfare 2, is one of the most popular games to play online, so it's only natural that Infinity Ward would toss out a little bit of extra content to keep their fanbase happy. The catch? It's a little expensive, and some people are naturally turned off at the fact. But there's no arguing that value is in the eye of the beholder, and while some may think it can be consumed in a matter of hours, it's clear that a bit more time should be invested in this extended offering. The following review showcases what each of these maps have to offer players, both good and bad.

Salvage

Each of these new maps has a specific purpose, and Salvage is to define close-range combat. The feel of the map is unlike any of the original ones, which often times switch from wide open spaces to close quarters buildings. Instead players are forced into a tight series of narrow passageways, dead ends, and broken down vantage points. From a quick passing Salvage feels like it'll be a lot of corner camping, and choke points, but the map is far more complicated due to its overall size.

Being one of the smaller maps to appear in the series, Salvage provides a lot of alternate routes, and the more aware players should be able to take advantage of the terrain layout. Piles of junk, some buildings, and collapsed pipes offer small, but numerous areas to retreat to (or fire from), and the short but numerous passageways connect in a manner that makes flanking a very constant and real threat. The tide of a battle can be changed instantly in a Deathmatch gametype, let alone any of the objective maps which hinge upon a player's knowledge of the level itself. Whereas older maps offer one or two entry points, Salvage offers three to four, making it one of the most detailed (and arguably best) map for all game types.

Bailout

While Salvage focuses on close-combat, Bailout allows players a bit more flexibility in their builds. Centralized around an apartment complex featuring a pool and parking lot, Bailout can be broken down into four very different areas, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. For example the northernmost part of the map is notably the most open and vulnerable point, which leads into the indoor areas northeast and northwest respectively. Starting out on one side gives a better/poorer vantage point to the other side of the map, meaning that players may not see whats right alongside them but can definitely see whats across and ahead.

The one disappointing feature to this map is the indoor portion, which is very streamlined with little places to hide and few places to escape (save for up/down levels). This isn't inherently disappointing because the design is bad, in fact the whole point is to discourage camping. As there are limited places to hide players must either be creative in their spots, move constantly, or use (gasp) teamwork. But if this was the true intention that Infinity Ward had it was completely lost on the playerbase, as the strategy for clearing out any indoor area boils down to tubing/rocketing anyone inside a building. It makes for an amusing Free-For-All and Team Deathmatch round, but any objective maps can flounder on the sheer speed in which it's possible to flush out any defenders. Overall fun, but not the most well thought out.

Storm

Of the three newly designed maps, this is easily the least effective. It was obviously meant to be a jack-of-all-trades map, featuring multiple buildings, platforms, walkways, and useless foliage. What ended up happening however, is something similar to a horror film in which no location is safe and positions in objective gametypes are far, far too easy to defend. While each individual area works well enough alone (such as the warehouse, the main parking lot, the loading/shipping area), the combination of them all creates this unique line of sight crossfire that almost endorses camping with any gun type.

For example, moving across the main parking lot leaves players susceptible to the two main buildings (in the center and lower right corner respectively), from either floors, as well as another alternate building that's a middleground between the two (in the top right corner). This means anyone can see the opposition coming from a mile away. The result is a mad, hopeful dash between as much cover as possible with the prayer that someone isn't camping near/around the intended location.

While it's possible to not experience this much in any Deathmatch gametype, the issue is amplified tenfold in Search and Destroy, Headquarters, and Domination. Individual points are extremely easy to defend as most of them only feature a few entrances/exits, all of which can be held by a small amount of people. Overall the map is a disaster, catering directly to campers and constantly punishing anyone who has the remote inkling to move.

Crash

By far a personal favorite from Call of Duty 4, there's very little changed from it's last iteration. It was given a facelift, cars/walls/dirt look more detailed now and the helicopter in the center of the map is a bit more vulnerable of a location to hide inside. These minor tweaks don't do much to improve the map if anyone didn't enjoy it in the last game, but those who did enjoy it will appreciate that nothing was really touched.

Overgrown

The other map to be taken from the first Modern Warfare received similar treatment as Crash, only the changes made were significant on some levels. More foilage has been added across the board to give more of a run down feeling. The map still caters to a long-ranged style of combat, while allowing medium/short-ranged players to move between a few buildings for safety, but this isn't to say that there aren't any new twists.

New players may not notice this, but older ones will definitely see a bit more tree cover in various parts of the map compared to the older iteration. This means that snipers are a bit harder to see, yes, but also that there's a bit more cover overall for sneakier patient players. The overall darker tone to the map means that it's easier to blend in, though not to the point of invisibility. It's certainly an improvement from the maps original Modern Warfare form, as it allows players a little more freedom of movement without sticking out like a sore thumb.

Final Thoughts

In the end the maps offer quite a bit of variety for anyone playing Modern Warfare 2 on a regular basis, and fans of the game should be quite satisfied with what's been put on the table. Storm is quite disappointing, but the rest of the DLC is a lot of fun, enough to justify its own unique circuit on the gametype menu. They all (with exception to Storm) respond quite differently to various modes of gameplay, so no one should be getting Mapathy anytime soon. With any luck it'll mean more creative and unique maps in the near future from Infinity Ward, but in the meantime Modern Warfare 2 fans should have plenty to keep them busy.

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