Stimulus Package: Modern Warfare 2 Map Pack Review
The stimulus package was released for the XBOX 360 some time ago, but it's just now coming to the PS3. Whether you're just now getting it for the PS3, or you're still agonizing over the decision for 360, look no further for reasons why, or why not, to buy.
Modern Warfare 2: Stimulus Package
The Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package has two parts: the map pack, and the event. The Event happened on the XBOX the weekend the package was released, and will happen the same on the PS3. The Event? Double Experience Weekend. Of course by now all of the double exp events are long over and most people don't even play the game any more, having switched to Black Ops. Still, if playing this old game and their old maps is your thing, feel free.
Double Experience will help you round out your current prestige, or let you prestige all over again and power through the early levels, to get back the guns you know and love. EXP from match bonuses, kills, and killstreaks are all doubled. Challenge EXP isn't, however, so saving up those 10K challenges will still just net you 10K. For this aspect alone, if you're looking for a reason to prestige, the stimulus package is well worth it. If you have that weekend free to play, that is.
On the other hand, aside from the new maps, that's all you get. There are no new challenges, no new titles, no new emblems, no new guns or cameos or ghille suits. If you're more interested in what you earn than where you earn it, maybe you'll want to pass. If you were hoping to get new content beyond just the maps, you're going to be pretty disappointed. It's rather sad that Infinity Ward didn't keep up with the game beyond just the map packs and some twitter messages.
New Map: Storm
Storm, one of the five maps added in the stimulus package, is probably one of the better ones. Action is a constant flow in every game type, and there are plenty of options for every play style. A long sight line in the middle of the map allows for some decent sniping opportunities. The middle warehouse lets you rain bullets down on unfortunate players caught below, or circle the outside with a fast class to knife everyone in the back. The outer ring allows enough space to use explosives and allows aerial killstreaks the room they need to work, without being locked into a small area.
On the other hand, if you didn't like Underpass because of the constant rain, you won't like Storm either. It's a bit easier to see, not as misty as Underpass is, but it's still rainy. There's also a couple of places (the mannequin room, and the corner kitchen) that can be used for easy control over large portions of the outside of the map. Great, if you're in control. Less great if you're not. Storm is one of those maps where experienced players are more able to control the whole area with just a few positions, making disorganized teams at a disadvantage.
New Map: Bailout
Bailout is the second of the three brand new maps, and is the second strongest among them. For those who played the single player campaign, and wished you could run through suburban America in the multiplayer mode, this is your chance. Set in a bombed-out wreck of a suburb, the action puts you in strings of buildings on either side of a long open street.
This is one of the most balanced maps in MW2, unless you're playing Domination. More on that in a moment. For most game types, the action takes place primarily in two spots: the building with the long open balcony, and the building across the road from it. The balcony is a long sight line, with a few bits of cover to make it effective to snipe or to spray bullets along. The other building is two floors with several entrances, allowing whoever is holding it ample opportunity to cover large portions of the map. Whoever happens to be trying to take it will find explosives and shotguns to be their best friends.
On the down side, Domination in Bailout is a giant mess. The majority of the time, the team that spawns at A will winthe game, as long as they can hold B. A is very easy to defend. B is where most of the action will take place. Even though there's a direct line from C to A, that line can be covered by one or two people alone. Even if not, a few explosions sent from B to A can clear it out without having to put effort into it. The fight from C is an uphill battle with not enough cover.
New Map: Salvage
Salvage is the third of the brand new maps coming to Modern Warfare 2 in the Stimulus Package. It's also, by far, the worst of the three. Unless you love to tube, and don't do much else, you're probably going to dislike the map. Domination's C is prime explosive location, and B is essentially made out of blind corners. Just like Bailout, if you spawn at the wrong point, you're probably going to lose. In this case, spawning at A puts you almost too far away to have a chance at B before the enemy has it.
On the other hand, Salvage doesn't have any spots where one person can hold down the whole map. The action is a constant flow around C or B, sometimes passing through A on the way to one point or another. Your best friends on the map are going to be explosives, and secondary to that, lots of bullets. Light Machine Guns fare well here, as does careful use of an assault rifle. Shotguns have to stick to a few narrow corridors around the outsides of the map. It's also open enough to allow most killstreaks the room they need to work.
Returning Map: Overgrown
Overgrown is one of two maps returning from the original Modern Warfare game. A long time favorite for snipers, the large patches of tall g rass allow lots of chances to hide in a ghille suit. The rooftops allow access to large portions of the map for snipers and tubers as well, though they're a rather obvious camping spot for veteran players. Meanwhile the B side of the map is full of rooms to shoot from, or to rampage through with a shotgun.
Domination is somewhat balanced with this map, with A being the contested point more than B or C. A is on the bridge between the two, and is easily defended from both sides. The somewhat distant spawns also allow odd game starts, where both teams rush the other side's point and swap the action immediately.
Also a bonus: the glitch that allowed players to get under the map in the riverbed has been fixed; no more dying to an invisible impervious opponent! On the other hand, the map is a haven for snipers that don't know what they're doing, and every time you get killed by one of them, you're going to feel bad about yourself.
Returning Map: Crash
Crash is the fifth of the map pack maps, and the second of the maps returning from the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Long time fans will remember the lengthy sight line along the bottom of the map (back alley on the image to the right.) As always, the grassy hill there is a haven for snipers. Fans will also remember the bombed-out blue room, that gives good map control over the crashed helicopter where domination's B flag is located.
The rooftop of the three story building is back in force, but is much harder to hold now. The fence at the top keeps people from dominating the map with tubes, and when you're standing up there trying to line up a shot, you're a perfect target for a ground based sniper. On top of that, a danger close rocket or tube will explode against the fence, and most likely kill whoever happens to be at the top.
Unfortunately, this map suffers from unbalanced domination points worse than any other. The A spawn, by the blue building, is incredibly easy to become spawn trapped in. Meanwhile the C point is hard to access without passing through one of several high-action zones. This means C is easily defended, and A is hard to leave. Meanwhile, you don't want to be on B. It's pretty much constantly expoding.
When all is said and done, you're paying $15 for five new maps and a weekend of free experience. If you don't care about the experience, you have to ask yourself: do I like the idea of these maps enough to spend $3 each for them? Just keep in mind that most people will be buying the map pack. That means the community of people who don't buy it will be quite a bit smaller. Personally, I say go for it. The maps are fun, they're fresh, and they give some new chances to excel. Buy early, and you'll have the most fun you'll have with the game, while all the new players try to figure out the camping spots, making them easy prey. Buy too late, and you'll be the sitting duck from everyone's hidey hole.