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Stimulus Package impressions

Posted by: Nathan at 4/3/2010 7:00 PM
I don't know how many 360 owners there have been who started new online matches in Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare or Modern Warfare 2 and saw the gamer tag frophey. I don't know how many gamers saw that peculiar spelling of frothy and scoffed at the stupid name. What I do know is that there have been thousands of gamers who have screamed my gamer tag in frustration as I got the match winning kill, decimated their entire team in one flanking maneuver, or blew up their sniper from across the map with my grenade launcher. I play a lot of Modern Warfare 2 online.

Being a fan of the series, I was happy to see some of the original maps make it into the Stimulus Package map pack. Crash and Overgrown have returned and they're, well, pretty much exactly the same. Sure, there are some differences but these maps feel much like the original if only a little off. The three new and original maps, Bailout, Salvage, and Storm all seem slightly out of place compared to the maps on the disc. I appreciate that Infinity Ward tried to change up the style of play but the flow of these maps feels disjointed. Doors, windows, stairs, and other elements of the maps don't seem to be in the right place. The biggest offender in this is Storm. Stairs stuck on the sides of buildings, bridges connecting the main warehouse to a room full of mannequins(?), and a skylight beneath the overhanging roof of a taller building are just a few of the design decisions that don't feel right. Not that they aren't fun to play on, just that immersion suffers from the unnaturalness of the level design.

As far as the "two new game modes" go, I could take them or leave them. While it's nice to have the option to have a play list devoted exclusively to the new maps, they're not necessary. I spend most of my time with team death match or ground war, and the alternating game modes of the stimulus package play lists kind of cramp my style. It is refreshing to play some game modes, such as sabotage, that I don't normally play, but ultimately the two new modes will only hold my attention for about a month before I go back to my regular routine.

Ah, but you didn't come here to read me go on about "immersion" and map structure, you want to know if its worth $15. The Stimulus Package map pack's value is debatable, but as a regular player of MW2 I'd say it's worth the cost. If you're like me you've probably already downloaded the map pack. For anyone who is a casual player I'd advise to shy away unless you have the extra cash (MS points) to spend. If you are one of those rare people who hasn't picked up a copy of MW2 yet I'd advise giving things a little more time. Wait and see if the map pack will be included with the inevitable game of the year edition later this year.