Modern Warfare 2: Stimulus Package Impressions

Take a video tour around these new (and old) maps as we analyze this pricey new downloadable content.

After a rocky launch earlier this week, the first downloadable map pack for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 has settled into place and started attracting a lot of virtual soldiers. The so-called Stimulus Package includes five multiplayer maps for 1,200 Microsoft points ($15). Three of these maps are completely new, while the other two are from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Of the three new maps, Bailout's sunny residential streets and sprawling apartment complex offer the most visual variety, though all provide good settings for the chaotic, lightning-quick combat for which the series is famous. That said, none of the maps are standouts that really change the game in any intriguing ways, so they don't offer a particularly strong incentive for players that have strayed from the servers. Similarly, those who are still engrossed in the cycle of prestige will likely welcome the variety and the return of some old favorites. If you find yourself on the fence about the Stimulus Package or just want to hear more about the new maps, read on.

As mentioned earlier, the Bailout map feels the most novel of the bunch. The map is roughly rectangular, with a long driveway littered with cars running lengthwise down the center. Along either side of the road are apartment buildings with hallways, balconies, and multistory rooms that you can sneak your way through. Some of these provide long sight lines down the road, making them attractive for snipers with claymores, though the number of ways in or out of these places makes prolonged tenancy difficult. The central road is a dangerous place, though it is the quickest path between the many tough-to-defend headquarters points. Bailout is like a cleaner, cozier Skidrow, distinguished by its seemingly smaller area and rectangular footprint. It also nicely captures the strange suburban warzone feeling of the campaign level Exodus.

Salvage is set in a wintery junkyard littered with smashed cars and sections of large concrete pipe. A house and a large garage set at opposite ends of this squarish map offer defensive anchor points for Capture-the-Flag matches. The area between these points is crisscrossed with paths that wind around, over, and through the aforementioned junk, and a few elevated positions provide better sight lines at the risk of increased exposure. Claustrophobic firefights are the name of the game, and enemy air support is even more fearsome, thanks to the lack of cover. The arctic whites and grays make Salvage feel visually familiar, and the large hanging magnet and lonely doghouse are welcome pieces of flair.

The final new map is called Storm. Yes, the weather is inclement and you will see flashes of lightning illuminating the sky. The setting is industrial, so warehouses, shipping containers, and elevated walkways carve up the open paved areas, leaving a lot of compartmentalized combat areas. This creates a combat flow reminiscent of Sub Base as you move from buildings into open areas and sprint up stairs to travel between sectors, perhaps cruising by an eerie and distracting row of mannequins on the way. There is a decent interplay of elevation here, though the industrial aesthetic also feels very familiar.

Any one of them could be wielding two shotguns.

The other two maps are oldies but goodies. Crash is set in the heart of a war-torn desert town where a helicopter has crashed and broken into pieces. Lots of buildings and windows make this a fun place for snipers, and sneaky types can also thrive by moving quickly along the streets. Overgrown takes you to a rural village bisected by a dry riverbed and dotted with houses. Long sight lines and cramped buildings provide a great variety of combat. Neither of these maps has been changed in any significant way, so if you've played them a lot, it will be like deja vu all over again.

The Stimulus Package maps can currently be played as part of only two playlists: Stimulus and Hardcore Stimulus. Both automatically cycle through different maps and modes, so if you're hoping to pick your poison, then you are out of luck for the time being. You'll have no trouble finding a match in either of these playlists, and the issues that plagued the DLC's launch have been rectified. So is it worth the higher-than-usual price for this 60 percent new, 40 percent recycled map pack? Well, if you're looking for some variety in your regular MW2 play sessions, then odds are you've already downloaded the Stimulus Package. If you're still undecided, then it depends on how much disposable income you've got lying around. For 1,200 Microsoft points, you can buy some of the best games that Xbox Live Arcade has to offer, and the novelty of the three new maps is good, but not great. Ultimately, the Stimulus Package feels like a tough sell to all but the MW2 faithful.

Written By

With his Apple IIGS as the spark and his neighbor's NES the fuel, Chris Watters' passion for gaming caught fire early. Y

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Discussion

464 comments
Ignasz
Ignasz

Wow infinity ward really "worked" on that one...

momok30
momok30

DMX - Where Da Hood At

dbpvivi
dbpvivi

$15 one off whats the problem? You will be paying that monthly in MW3.

joeisnub
joeisnub

There is no way in hell ill pay 15$ for old maps and only 3 new.....

funnysplay
funnysplay

-alihector- respawns are always bad in these types of games, thats why i usually carry the tac insertion thats one of my favorite things in this game.

alihector
alihector

these maps is very close and small . respawns is very bad . enemy only behind you .

alihector
alihector

these maps is very close and small . respawns is very bad . enemy only behind you .

hlm2
hlm2

I can get portal for this, which is about 10000000x better seen as call of duty was rubbish anyway

jordan1
jordan1

rip off, why not do what EA is doing with battlefield, sign up for a VIP pass and get the maps that are released for free... I would rather pay 15 dollars knowing that all the maps on a later will be free... thats a decent concept , all though I rather not pay for extra content when its usually free with PC games...

sakboy10
sakboy10

All I can say is put the price down its dumb

wikkiwild1
wikkiwild1

Make the price 800MSP and I'll consider, until then notta chance.

Jorlen
Jorlen

Lower the price and I'll consider it. 1200 ms points? Yeah no.

elgrantimmy
elgrantimmy

I'm saving my money and getting new cars in forza, and maybe the gta4 eps for pc

acdc5462
acdc5462

@thorughfire-nail some wood, you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and guess what, for the next few months, Nicargua is going to be my home country since i will be living here

Payasoplas
Payasoplas

@SpunkyB0B It's true the maps were made by paid professionals and it's a fact, but also it's is a fact that the cost of the DLC was already paid by the extra $10 tha PC verison costs, and by the more than %100 extra the games costs in some countries , i would say that the maps were made by "overpaid professionals"

yearof3000
yearof3000

SpunkyB0B@ so how is the PS3 is a ripoff? They are both the same price, but yea LIVE is a ripoff. They need to give discounts for DLC on LIVE.

squall_83
squall_83

@acdc5462 @thorughfire Only children argue over the internet. Find a new hobby... Also this is overpriced. I'll wait for the PC version. It will probably be free.

thorughfire
thorughfire

@acdc5462 Just because you nail some wood doesnt make you Ghandi,It makes you a guy who nails wood.Oh big deal that you make schools,Why not help with problems in your own country (Assuming the USA) instead of wasting your time in another.

acdc5462
acdc5462

@thorughfire yea, buy do some research I mean google me, I mean that before you go making rude comments about someone, you should find a little more about what or whom you are talking to, and that is a life lesson, applying more to something as irrelevant as a videogame messageboard. And your damn right i help build schools in Nicaragua, and i dont appreciate you demeaning my work.

allthatdown
allthatdown

@SpunkyB0B Tbh, this is the first COD game i bought lol, even so, the next game is rumoured to be set in Vietnam, so it could be very interesting.

SpunkyB0B
SpunkyB0B

@Payasoplas Everything you said is true and I'm not going to argue with you. But the fact is, these maps were not made buy some fat kid in his mums basement, they were made by paid professionals. And the people saying this is the last COD game you will ever buy... Man up, we know you will all pre order the next 1.

DFen
DFen

I think this will be the last cod game I will ever buy period..........

Payasoplas
Payasoplas

@SpunkyB0B you said: "Even at $5 a map (ignore remade ones) it still took the guys at IW the time and talent, 4+ years at UNI (each designer), the cost of the premises, all that pizza and many many late nights at the office to bring these maps" Multiplayer maps can be done for free by anyone with freetime and a map editor or the right editting tools, if the DLC was about single palyer mission maybe i would beleive that it took them too much time (and brain) to make it. Ypou don't need a cllege degree to make multiplayer maps, and the cost MW's Gmes is still too high, MW2 iis $60 no matter wich version is even when most PC games are just $50 or less, and CoD 4: MW has sold millions and is still high priced and they dont want to make it "Platinum hits" or "greatest hits" They have made enough millions to buy Pizza for them, their sons, their grandsons and thir grand-grand sons

polosuleyman
polosuleyman

@thorughfire Your ignorant comments made me crap my pants :D Oh, and learn to spell...it's "here" not "hear".

thorughfire
thorughfire

@acdc5462 So you expect me to google someone I dont even know the name of to find out if they build schools in Nicaragua? lmfao wow not the brightest person are you? You can say you do this and that but that doesnt make me believe you and yet again,Stop wasting your time hear and do something you complainer.

acdc5462
acdc5462

@thorughfire really, really, because I just got back from a week of building schools in the mountains of fu*king nicaragua so how about you do some research before you speak next time

Balmane
Balmane

These don't look bad at all. I am sure getting this is worth it for those who play the game a lot. But only if it came out on PS3. Hopefully next time.

six_six_808
six_six_808

I think it is only worth 10$ at the most. The three new maps are fun and enjoyable but two old maps were the worst maps i ever played in the old COD game. I guess there saving the better maps for the next map pack. If your willing to steal your kids allowance for the month then go ahead and buy the map pack.

SpunkyB0B
SpunkyB0B

@allthatdown I agree with you 100%, but if you (anyone) doesn't enjoy the game all that much then whats the issue? keep playing the vanilla maps over and over again and enjoy. Your not getting ripped off, people who are happy to pay for extra maps are not getting ripped off, so everyone should be happy. The only reason people feel ripped off is because other people are saying its a ripoff when $15 is pittance. don't drink those 4 cups of coffee from the coffee man and you have your money back. $85 a year for xbox live is a ripoff and PS3's are a ripoff so why not continue getting ripped off. (yes i have a 360)

ADAM_PALO
ADAM_PALO

COD is over, and activision is not helping by fireing all there employees at IW. sorry guys but thats how it is. cant wait for Crysis 2, and Medal of honor. You live and move on. Hey i remeber when Doom was the killer FPS, but times change and so do Game engines. RIP Doom, RIP COD. and all the fallen FPS that never made it.

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

Its overpriced because 2/3 new maps are bad and I want 5 new maps, not 2 old ones. I already played CoD 4, I don't want to keep playing it. Overgrown is really just not even that good. Basically you pay $15 for 2 good maps, one of them having already been available on the previous game. They really should have given 7 maps, 5 new ones then adding on the 2 old ones, or maybe not give us the old ones at all. I want a discount on the next DLC because I was under the impression there were going to be new game modes and guns as well added. I don't care about 7 days free of Xbox Live.

allthatdown
allthatdown

Yes but SpunkyB0B, when you go to the cinemas you pay to see a few years of work and see the movie through from the beginning to the end. You don't pay extra to see an alternate ending. And your right, if you love the game then this map pack will be right up your alley. However, if, like me, you only play casually with friends and don't enjoy the game all that much then you will percieve this map pack as a rip-off and a cash grab on Activisions part

SpunkyB0B
SpunkyB0B

It really is not a rip off at all. Even at $5 a map (ignore remade ones) it still took the guys at IW the time and talent, 4+ years at UNI (each designer), the cost of the premises, all that pizza and many many late nights at the office to bring these maps. Paying $15 to go to the movies and sit there for 90 mins to watch a bunch of douches that you only get to see 1 time (per $15) is overpriced, and I don't hear anyone complaining about that. Some guy below said "you must be good and addict to like" and this is what this map pack is for. People who love this game and want more out of it. I play 2+ hrs a day online so to me $15 for 3 maps that will provide me with countless hrs of entertainment its worth it, id even pay more. Yes BC2 might get free maps... but EA also owns half the world.

skittlz44
skittlz44

idk where u guys got urs but i got mine the first day on xbox live for $10

xXJeff13Xx
xXJeff13Xx

The new maps are not a relief, but a huge bundle of frustration.

thorughfire
thorughfire

@acdc5462 There are people in this country without food and water and you are spending your time on the computer instead of trying to fix the problem.Shut the hell up dude.

acdc5462
acdc5462

there are people in this country that are without food, and yet people waste their money on a few extra virtual maps for a videogame- is this really what the world has come too

mojitality
mojitality

your not gona know what is gona come next,maybe more map packs! so it may be waste of saved money to spend on the newly released map packs presently,it should have been cheaper... after all ,all my friends from around the world are still there playing old maps, why should i over-spend?

kamikazedragon4
kamikazedragon4

MW2's demand is so big, that the maps are 1200 MS points.

AszaultSin
AszaultSin

Great storyline, great campaign, frustrating online...

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

I don't see how $15 is worth it. That's $5 a map, if I wanted to play MW maps, I'd load that disc in and play that. I'm sure that they are novel and fun...but I have better things to spend my money on. This is almost as if they charged $80 bucks for MW3 when it came out and it was exactly the same as MW2 but with a few new missions that didn't even change the formula one bit.

DFen
DFen

even if I buy this still wont change whole fact that everytime I play online always getting logged out some how or out of memory bull****, DAMN SERVERS !!!!

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

Wouldn't it make more sense to release this on ps3 and 360 THE SAME TIME! Im actually considering rebuying WAW (traded when MW2 came out) just to play the 3 mappacks and zombie maps. WAW had alot more value in their mappacks.

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

Battlefield 1943 - $14.99 MW2 mappack - $14.99 WTF? Give me more value like 1943!

AStriegel75
AStriegel75

ryan1260 Not trying to start a fight but each DLC for WaW came with a new zombie map as well. Now yes that was just a map but each new zombie map added to the already good zombie gameplay. No two zombie maps were identical.

ryan1260
ryan1260

3 maps in cod 5 = 10$, 3.33 a map 5 maps 15$ bucks, 3 dollars a map say what you want, imma go play

AStriegel75
AStriegel75

Everyone talking about zombies is making me really excited for the Treyarch CoD. That is where it is at. Zombie mode was meant to be just a silly little easter egg after you beat the game and people loved it making the DLC's more than worth while. My point is this, if they had included more spec ops or some random even stupid game mode it would ahve been worth 15 dollars but as it stands it's just not enough value for the price. I have other things I want to spend my money on.

DaGamingDude
DaGamingDude

Paying for map packs and game modes is lame. We don't pay TF2 maps and mods on Steam