Posted by : Dewey Riou III Monday, February 21, 2011

First Strike is the first downloadable content pack for Call of Duty Black Ops. It features 5 new maps: Stadium, Kowloon, Berlin Wall, Discovery and a brand new zombie map named 'Ascension'.









BERLIN WALL



Berlin Wall seems to be based during the assault that eventually brought it down. The map is of a medium size and is most definitely, on a ground level, a CQC (close quarter combat) kind of map, however if you can get into the windows of the upper floors of the buildings there are many vantage points for sniping and long range combat. The area is covered in snow with tight ally ways and derelict houses.

In the middle of the map is a 'Red Zone' where if the clearly marked boundaries are crossed automated minigun nests fire upon the player resulting in death. There are a few walkways between this red zone that are also clearly marked out on the ground that allows the players to cross to other parts of the map safely, it is an enjoyable and unpredictable map that with its many corners and turns could mean death at any conceivable moment.



DISCOVERY



Discovery is another snow map based in a desolate German outpost. Stretching through the middle of the map is a deep chasm in which falling down it will result in instant death so peering over the edge to get a closer view isn't advised. stretching across the chasm is a metal bridge which is the main pathway to reach the other side and where a lot of the fighting takes place.

Around each side of the map there are alternative pathways to the other side, making it possible to flank and get behind the enemy adding cunning and tactics into the mix. There is also a smaller snow bridge that stretches just under the main metal one, due to the fact it is made of snow and ice it can be blown up with explosive weaponry and equipment condemning anyone who is unlucky enough to be on it at the time to an early grave. The map itself is of a medium size and is very open, favouring assault rifles and sniper rifles. There are many prime sniping spots around the map, that are perfect for picking off the enemy from a long range, one of these been a large bridge that runs along the side of the map and stretches from one side to the other.

This map will definitely be favoured by those who like to keep a little distance between themselves and their enemies and it's a really fun map to play, It's also interesting to see what weapons people choose to use on it, as picking the right weapon is crucial to surviving.


KOWLOON



Kowloon is based in a shanty village and is the map in which the 'Escaping Kowloon' campaign mission take place.

Kowloon itself is very much different from the rest of the maps in the download pack and even the default maps, but is fun none the less. It is the smallest of the new maps but, differing floor levels and ramps with varying gradients makes it appear much bigger than it actually is. There are several buildings that offer vantage points to see major parts of the map, however the centre building towers over them all. The centre building is accessible from all sides and the player has to fight their way up the altering gradients of the map to reach it. Once in, there are two zip lines that lead from the centre to the edges of the map, allowing for a quick escape or for cunning flanking tactics.

The map is made up of sharp corners and turns and so it favours CQC weaponry, however there are a few windows and other areas where long range weaponry could be used. It's a fun little map that engorges in fierce fast paced battle, or slow cautious battle depending on the game mode.


STADIUM



Stadium is possibly the most 'out of place' map to be included in the map pack in that it bears no relation to the games campaign mode or even to the kind of places that are explored within it.

It takes place in and around a stadium and so, there are open courtyards as well as buildings with ledges and windows. The map is always very explosive no matter what the game mode, as the architecture and layout of the map makes it seem very confined and closed in. There are no spots in which you are truly safe as there are either multiple entrances and exits to a single building or severely over exposed ledges and windows. This is definitely not a map for those who like to sit and wait for their enemies to come by, because chances are you going to get shot in the back. The map isn't particularly fun to play due to the fact that tactics don't play as much of a part in the game as desired, trying to flank the enemy will more than likely result in them appearing in a door way behind you. This is a map that any weapon can be used as long as you get into the right position, however the main weapon of choice seems to be SMG's and assault rifles.

ASCENSION




Ascension Is a huge rocket launch facility that has been over run with a horde of zombies and its your job to annihilate as many of them as possible. This map brings a few new features to the table in terms of game play while keeping all the original ones in place, such as the pack 'a' punch and the perk vendors.

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the teleportation platform in Kino De Toten, well in Ascension they have done away with the teleportation system and replaced it with a self guided rocket platform. You simply stand on the platform, activate it and up you go. Unfortunately while on the platform you are unable to move and so shooting zombies from above isn't really an option, you can however rain down the grenades, though it's effectiveness depends on the position you are in.

The second feature included is the chance to get a 'death machine' as a random drop when killing zombies, in the same way you get 'max ammo' or 'fire sale', and in the same tradition as 'fire sale' the amount of time you have it for is limited. However this can be EXTREMELY useful when you get onto the later levels.

The third feature that was altered in the game play is there are no longer 'dog' levels, however these have been replaced with small evil chimp monkey creatures. The main objective of this level is to kill the evil little nasties before they can attack the perk vendors. If they do reach a particular perk vendor and attack it and if you currently have that perk, you will loose it, so be warned. However after defeating all of them you are awarded with max ammo and each person receives a random perk which could include one of the two new perks: Stamina-up (increased running time) and PhD Flopper (a large bomb blast is given off when you fall killing all zombies in its wake, and also no falling damage is given to the player). There are a few new tools at your disposal to help kill the zombies including a black hole device that literally sucks the zombies into an abyss never to be seen again.

All in all the new map is definitely for the hard core zombie players as its tight hallways and stair cases, several large open areas, and hundreds of zombie spawn points make this one of the hardest zombie maps to date, and its awesome!


Bottom Line: The map pack all in all is fantastic and is great fun, and is possibly the best DLC that has ever been released for a Call of Duty game.











silver DewSky's take:

The First Strike Map Pack may be 1200 Points like with the MW2 dlc, but I felt I got a better deal this time around. All of the new multiplayer maps have a distinct look and feel to them, and each still to be pretty flexible no matter what type of game mode you play them on. So far my favorite would probably be Berlin Wall since it offers up some frenetic action while stile being pretty open for different types of players to have fun with.

As for Ascension, the great new zombie map, it feels very familiar in that you can develop a nice pattern to get to higher waves, while offering up new weapons and gadgets to control. Nova 6 Zombies are gone, as well as bloodhounds who have been replaced with small and agile Space Monkeys. They may be a bit easier to take out, but you better guard any perk machines you may be using as they can be destroyed by the little guys.

Definite buy if you're still engaged in Black Ops Multiplayer.

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