“Activision Ambassador with these content collections you’re really spoiling us.”
And with Modern Warfare 3’s 2nd instalment of extra maps and goodies due to arrive on May 22nd, the good folk at Activision really are spoiling us.
A whole bundle of Warfare goodness will soon be in our mitts. 3 standard multiplayer maps, 2 spanking new Spec Ops missions and 4 smaller maps for the all new Face-Off game mode make up what is without doubt a veritable feast for avid ‘Codders’ to get their teeth into.
The 3 standard maps bundled into this release wear the name badges, Sanctuary, Foundation and Oasis. The former two surfaced last month as an Elite membership drop while the latter makes it’s debut here.
The good news is all three sit on the right side of decent.
Sanctuary is a sizable location for all your team excursions, it’s very easy on the eye with it’s mountaintop setting and carved rock good looks and is also a joy to play. Despite being a fairly big map it also holds a wealth of team work and tactical opportunities for those more in tune groups out there to take advantage of.
Foundation is much tighter affair. Set amid the iron and dust of a disused concrete factory the map plays at a heartbreak pace. Little time to think and nowhere to hide Foundation is a fantastic map for the run and gun gamer to practice that fine art. Towers hold sniping potential but you’ll have to be on your toes to stay alive. It’s a weaker map than Sanctuary and certainly looks a lot less appealing but thanks to the high tempo it will surely find a place in many a gamers heart.
Now to Oasis and thankfully with this newest of the standard MP maps there’s not a hairy eyebrow or recycled guitar riff in sight, no, this is a much more interesting release than anything the Gallagher brothers have put out in a while.
Oasis takes place in a seriously flash Dubai hotel, you know one of those places where the stolen dressing gown you’ve accidentally placed in your luggage upon departure becomes the most expensive item of clothing in your wardrobe……….no?…. Just me then…anyway, I’ll probably never know how one of these places functions as a hotel but as a venue for raining down a hail of gunfire upon your enemies it works a treat. The killing grounds are large enough for some good old cross courtyard shootouts while within the walls there are a nice number of claustrophobic corridors and close combat opportunities to lap up. It’s another solid performer in what is fast becoming one of the strongest collection of maps seen in a Call of Duty game since Call of Duty 3, and I’m seriously biased towards that old gem so I don’t say that lightly.
Now to what has quickly become my MW3 home over the last few days – Face Off. This new mode offers 1v1, 2v2 and for a time 3v3 matches on maps suitable in size for such an encounter.
To coincide with this mode Activision have bestowed upon us 4 sublime little venues.
Erosion takes place amongst the ancient ruins of a past civilisation, a civilisation it seems that managed to construct the perfect playground for some modern age warfare. It’s a very close quarters map that, possibly the tightest of the 4. A tower in the centre offers up a strategic location from which the enemies can be harshly punished by a savvy team. I’ve only ever been on the receiving end of such tactics being neither savvy nor much of a team player (read selfish) and believe me it was a painful few minutes of utter despair. Erosion is another good performer but when compared to the other maps in Face Off it does pale a little.
We head back to the mountains for Lookout, a well laid out observation post in Afghanistan. As with all these maps it’s Close Encounters of the MW3rd Kind again. Looks wise the map is nothing special, it actually reminded me very much of a couple of maps from a certain other wargame that will remain unnamed. But having said that it still deserves a ‘Medal of Honor’ for again playing host to top notch action.
Onto the beachside location of Getaway then. Here we find ourselves within the sort of luxurious beachside holiday home I imagine most of the Activision employees own. The building is also a window cleaners nightmare with glass as far as the eye can see (which, when there’s glass everywhere is actually quite far.) Getaway is a run and gunners dream though, the use of so much glass means there’s little cover available and you’ll find small reward from taking a stealthy approach. The map looks great and plays just as well. Personally I didn’t notice any locations that were used for a team to try and bed in and take advantage of, rather, matches here became a compete high octane bullet fest until the final Kill cam rolled. Love it.
The final of the 4 is my own personal favourite. Aground, set amid a long rusted shipwreck and craggy features of the unforgiving Scottish coastline is an absolute beauty. This map feels slightly larger than the others, to the point in fact where having a good sniper on the team can prove a real bonus, but still maintains a high pace. There are places where teams can attempt to hold up and keep the enemy at bay but equally the potential to flank the holding team is very evident. Aground looks superb and plays like you always hope a map will, beautifully thrilling from start to finish.
So that takes care of the maps now let’s quickly look at the Spec Ops missions so I can get back to some Face Off action, and no, that has nothing to do with removing my make-up. I only wear that on Wednesdays.
With this collection comes a couple of fresh Spec Ops missions to get to grips with.
Iron Clad and Kill Switch can both be played either solo or in co-op. Iron Clad takes place in Hamburg and tasks you with clearing a path for a tank by placing C4 charges along it’s route while also dealing with a multitude of heavily armed enemy forces. Kill Switch meanwhile requires one player to infiltrate a Russian Comms station and detonate an EMP. One player heads into the fray on foot while the other takes up position on an overlooking bridge armed with that trustiest of weapons, the sniper rifle. Both missions are decent and, as ever, ramp up the fun in co-op play but make no mistake unless you’re seriously into your Spec Ops missions these two are merely the nibbles next to the real meat of this release, that being the maps.
All in all we have another triumph for Activision and their DLC. There’s just so much to be getting on with, new maps to discover, new modes to sample and new missions to embark upon. Everything seems polished and unrushed, each map has the power to deliver top notch gameplay and none, so far, have become stale. Keep ‘em coming!