MW3 players who subscribed to the ELITE service have been living large, getting to sample new maps and game modes before everyone else. That has started to end, as on Tuesday all content drops were made available to everyone playing on Xbox 360, and they’ll be on their way shortly for PS3.
So if you got it right away and want to compare notes, or were waiting until the weekend and want to know what to expect, we’ve got you covered!
- Liberation – Billed as a sniper’s map, it takes place mostly outdoors in a New York City waterside park. Now I’ll take issue with calling it a sniping map when the central tower that would make a great sniping location is blocked off. However, there is a lot of grass and fall foliage, so those with ghillie suits and the Assassin perk can still fare well, especially if paired with silenced weapons. Many areas provide unobstructed views of the sky, so air support called in will often be shot down quite quickly. A few tunnels and some bridges over a dry creek bed offer a bit of variety, though you’ll have to watch out for campers there. And if you need a breather to call in a care package, some missile trucks and an antenna structure provide good cover in the low-traffic east area of the map.
- Piazza – I’ll straight up say it: this may be the worst map in the past three games (or at minimum my least favorite). No matter where you go in this Italian village, there’s usually three ways or more to get where you are. There’s no safety or catching your breath, and since you’re almost always in either a choke point or an area with 360° of exposure, death comes swiftly and often without warning. The map puts a premium on ‘twitch gaming’ as opposed to any strategy. Due to all the buildings and low approach angles, air support can usually get in for a while (if you live long enough to earn them, that is). Fun trivia: a building is labeled “Macelleria Carne Equina”; type it into a translation site and see what it means.
- Overwatch – Set 70 stories high above the streets of New York City, the first thing you have to do is not fall off; there’s lots of chances for that to happen, and the tiniest misstep or loss of attention while strafing can lead to death. As a building still under construction, there is some decent variety in terms of things you can get on top off, and a bit of risk/reward if you’re willing to chance a fall to get a good spot to shoot from. It is a shame that there’s not a great sniping spot to homage the roof of the tan building in MW2’s awesome Highrise map, but it’s still an overall good map with opportunities for people of all play styles to find a few areas where they can succeed. However, it would also be a bit better if paint cans and such weren’t used as cheap obstacles to stop you from getting to spots that look like they’d be the most fun.
- Black Box – If the movie Air Force One had a bad ending, this map is close to the end result. Set amidst the wreckage of our president’s plane in a California neighborhood, it provides one of the more interesting maps. Battle inside the wreckage or climb a broken wing to get a decent vertical view of the action. Lots of debris means a lot of stuff lying around to take a quick reload breather, so mastering the fine art of cooking grenades and timing your throws just right could yield kills against foes that get complacent while in cover. The only buzz kill is an invisible wall preventing you from getting on top of the plane sections.
- Black Ice – One of the two new SpecOps missions, you’ll get to enjoy a speedy snowmobile ride down the circular path along the rim of a mine pit. Enemies with their own snowmobiles will be shooting at you and there are plenty of foot soldiers to deal with before you reach the bottom, get off, and head into the mine. Once inside you’ll have to fend off more troops to reach the control room, set the mine to self-destruct, and make it back to the entrance before the whole place explodes!
- Negotiator – The second new SpecOps mission sends you to India to negotiate for hostage release the only way you know how—with a gun and explosives. There are 35 hostages that need rescuing, and there’s no time to dawdle; hostages get killed on a schedule, so you need to advance quickly and take out the enemy without letting them kill the hostages (or scoring an ‘own goal’ by accidentally doing so yourself). Toss in some street fighting to get from hostage to hostage and you’re in for a lot of action.
And as an added bonus, the SpecOps missions have achievements for completion, completion on Veteran difficulty, and one specified task each.
Jeff is currently playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3; follow him on Twitter at JKLugar.