|System: Xbox 360|
|Release: February 01, 2011|
|Players: 1-18 (Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
The biggest map from the new pack is Discovery, an abandoned Nazi base in the Antarctic divided into two sides by a gaping gorge. The map is large and filled with icy caves, abandoned buildings, warehouses, and deadly bottomless drops. There are several ways to cross between the two areas, and the bridge is the most common route. Underneath it however, is a thin ice bridge that can be destroyed with a well aimed rocket or pack of C4. Not great for players running across it at the time, but once destroyed it can still be crossed by jumping over. This gimmick doesn't really change the status quo of the map and can be avoided all together by taking one of the other many routes. It almost seems pointless to have it in there at all. If the main bridge across was destroyable though, then it could have more of an effect on changing the gameplay. Discovery has perfect locations for all out gunfights as well as sneaky paths and caverns for players who prefer stealthy approaches.
Ascension is another fun, addictive zombie level that, like the rest of the maps in First Strike, tries to mix up the gameplay and add gimmicks. Unlike the original levels, Ascension's map is more like a maze of interconnecting areas and confusing dead ends. Gimmicks like a giant metal tube that spins around every few minutes in the middle of the room, killing anything that stands, is a great way to slaughter a huge hoard of oncoming zombies if you can time and position it just right. The guns and abilities progress like normal, and as in every other game of Nazi zombies, turning on the power is the objective, second to surviving. Until players get the power working though, the color scheme is completely black and white, making everything bland – an interesting twist with not much point to it. There are plenty of tactical positions for survivors to hold down to battle the waves of undead. And as if demon dogs, gas crawlers, and crazy scientists weren't bad enough, Ascension introduces zombie space monkeys. That's right, dead monkeys in space suits. What more could you want from enemies in a game?
Overall, Treyarch has developed a fun set of maps that continue adding to the great Call of Duty multiplayer experience whilst mixing up the norm. The idea of environment-changing gimmicks are fun and unique, but the way that they have been placed around maps makes them unappealing and, quite frankly, useless. Players will have to go out of their way in order to experience them. If Treyarch really wanted to mess things up, a bit they would have made some of these interferences much more unavoidable. But doing so would completely upset the simple status quo of multiplayer that fans are used to, so it can be seen why they didn't do so.
First Strike gives players an extension to the already awesome and addictive online multiplayer phenomenon. Yet it is not worth spending 1200 points ($15) on a meager five maps. It's is an extortionate overcharge for such little content, regardless of how much replay value they have, especially when for the same price gamers can purchase full arcade games and get much more out of them. Only the most hardcore fans (that means all you veterans at prestige levels) will get the most out of the map pack.
CCC Freelance Writer