Support Rowan, click to buy via us...
The Call of Duty 5 variety map pack is the first in what will probably be a recurring line of add-ons for the game. I'm generally sceptical about map packs, because they're free on the pc and it seems strange to be paying for something simply because I like to play on a console. However, I was genuinely impressed by this map pack. Although small (three standard maps and one zombie map), it was a lot of fun to play and it got me back into playing the game.
My favourite map is the Nightfire map. It's set in an area of houses, and I think it's the most fun to play. There's a sniper area on either side, with one being hard to defend but with a good view of most of the battlefield. The other sniping area only has one entrance, but only a narrow line of sight. Because there are two, and both have weaknesses, sniping doesn't become crazily overpowered like in other maps. There's also a bunch of different routes through the level, so all the different game types are pretty fun.
Another map is Knee Deep. It's set in some small village, with a Japanese fort. This one's a little more unbalanced than the other, because one team's in the fort whilst the other is assaulting it. This makes things a bit strange for games like Death match, because one team gets a nice sniping point, albeit without much cover, underground bunkers and a bunch of other easily defendable areas. But when you're playing an objective game like Capture the Flag, or Domination, the map is pretty balanced. The village where the other team spawns has a bunch of houses that make defending easier, although other houses will block your line of site, making sniping hard and a sneak attack easy.
There's a nice split screen mode (which is all too rare in many modern games), so I was able to play with my Dad.
The final map is set in a ruined station, and it's my least favourite. Judging by the amount of people voting to skip this map, I'm guessing it's not too popular with some other people either. I'm not really sure why I dislike this map, but I think it has something to do with the branching tunnels on either side that makes Objective games too complex. However, it is still a lot of fun for Death match games, and it's my favourite map for using the double barrelled shotgun due to the narrow corridors.
There is one other map, Varruck, but it's only playable in the Nazi Zombies mode. The Zombie mode was a surprise hit when the game was released, especially seeing as it started out life as a side project. However, the first map released was pretty basic, and easily mastered. Varruck solves all that by bringing several all new concepts to the game. If you're playing the game as it's mean to be played, with four people, you'll start off separated. You then have to work through the building, defending your half, until you can turn the power back on. This will open up some doors, reuniting the players. You'll also get access to the perks machines, where you can buy a perk, and the electric fences which can help keep zombies out. As you can imagine, it's quite a complicated task and if you're not playing with friends communication can be a problem.
It's my favourite map for using the double barrelled shotgun due to the narrow corridors.
All too often, the different players will have different tactics and if you're not experienced it can be hard to keep up. Unfortunately, most of my friends had traded in COD5 at the local game store - they're running a promotion where you can trade in the game and get Resident Evil 5 for just GBP 10. There's a nice split screen mode (which is all too rare in many modern games), so I was able to play with my Dad. Unfortunately, neither of us were that good at it, and when you're playing with half the number of people you're supposed to things go bad quickly. I'm assured by a friend that Varruck is brilliant if you're a real Nazi Zombie fan.
Whether or not you buy this map back is really down to whether you think the cost is worth it. GBP 6.80 isn't too much, but it'll probably be free on the PC. It always annoys me when you have to buy add-ons on the Xbox 360, when the games are usually more expensive in the first place. However, I did get a lot of fun out of the maps, so if you play World at War online already, you'll get more out of the GBP 6.80 than anything else I can think of.
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: