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This is the second map pack for the expanding Call of Duty: World at War game, which looks to stay set as one of the most played online games on Xbox Live - at least until Modern Warfare 2 360 comes out. The first map pack was downloaded one million times in the first week of release, and I think that this pack is even better.
Sub Pens is the first map. It's set in a bombed Japanese submarine base, and is the smallest map in the pack. Just like Dome, another small map, it's one of my favourite to play. Maybe it's because my favourite weapon is the shotgun (trench or double barrelled, I'm not fussy), but I really like the smaller maps, and this is one of my favourites. It's fairly segmented, so it's fairly easy to get to the action. There are a couple of nice places to ambush the enemy as well, like hiding in a broken toilet cubicle, or inside an air vent. Also, because of the small size, games like capture the flag and domination are really fast paced and interesting, but death match is awesome as well.
This makes the map interesting and frantic in all game modes, however I prefer the confined spaces of Sub pens and the jungle setting of Banzai.
Banzai is a larger, outdoors map. There's a base on each side of the map, with a river in the middle. A large bridge is the easiest way to get across, but it quickly becomes a chokepoint as it's a haven for snipers at either end, as well as people hiding behind burnt-out cars and putting down Bouncing Betties to make crossing harder.
However, you can take a lengthier route around to get to the opposing base. You can head into a cave system, which encompasses the waterfall at the head of the river, or you can travel down to the river and run below the bridge. This map is quite open, so sniping is a pretty good tactic here. You can sit at the end of the bridge; however your view will be obstructed by destroyed cars and other obstacles. I found that the best way to score a few kills was to be halfway across the bridge. Overall, the map is pretty balanced. You can be a sniper, but there are lots of things to break your line of sight, and you'll only be able to cover a specific area, rather than the whole map.
Next up is Corrosion, which is a medium sized map set in a ruined (or perhaps corroded) facility. It's a medium sized map, and the focus is on vertical combat. There are two levels in the map, and it means that you're really not safe anywhere. The main building is fairly simple - there's a ground floor and then a walkway above it. However, when you get outside it's slightly more complicated. On one side, there are pipes you can climb onto, where you can surprise the unwitting players below. On the other side, there are some pipes you can climb through, and as the end of the pipe overlooks the flag in CTF, I often find my attempts to score a point ruined by someone hiding above me. This makes the map interesting and frantic in all game modes, however I prefer the confined spaces of Sub pens and the jungle setting of Banzai, so I tended to vote to skip this Corrosion. That's not to say it's not a fun map, but I found the other two more interesting.
They won't reinvent the online experience, but if you're already a fan this'll expand the multiplayer appeal of the game.
And then there's a fourth map, Shi No Numa (or Zombie Swamp). Nazi Zombies was a surprising success, intended as a little add on for the main game which wasn't going to be implemented until late in the development. However, now it's one of the biggest features of the game and has tripled in size through the DLC. I think that Zombie Swamp is probably the most anticipated map here for some people, and gameplay has definitely advanced a long way from that original, three roomed map.
It's far more open now, so the gameplay is very different from the window protecting you'll be used to. Now you'll have to run from hut to hut, and often you'll end up with no protection from the hordes of zombies. Also, it's no longer just the shambling legions of the undead you'll have to protect yourselves from. Now there are zombie dogs as well. Although they aren't quite as deadly, they move very fast, and you'll have to group up with your backs to the wall to survive a wave of them. Nazi Zombies isn't really my thing - few of my friends still play Call of Duty 5, and playing with strangers is never as fun. However, this is definately one of the most fun maps in the pack, and if you play Nazi Zombies already, this'll be a great update for you. My brother's friends are all fans, and he plays with them all the time. He seems to love this mode, but when I asked him what he thought of it, he just said 'It's pretty good'.
You probably already know whether or not you're going to buy this. If you play Call of Duty online regularly, I would definitely recommend it. It's four great maps, and they're even better than Treyarch's last offering. They won't reinvent the online experience, but if you're already a fan this'll expand the multiplayer appeal of the game.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: