Checking out the Call Of Duty 4 Variety maps

I have to start this off by saying as of Friday afternoon I had no idea that the extra map pack was available for Call of Duty 4 on 360. I know that’s pretty criminal, considering the majority of my time is spent writing here, reading news and press releases, and playing games. But I had not a clue until I was playing some random drunk kid on Xbox Live in Madden 08, and he mentioned that he couldn’t download the new maps. This was at 10 pm EST Friday, and after that game I immediatly put COD4 in my 360 and proceeded to get my download on.

I didn’t have any problems getting the map to download on the first try. And it was an added bonus to find out that all weekend they’d be giving out double experience for those who paid for the maps early. Lucky for me I had next to nothing to do, because I ended up playing COD4 for the next 5 hours straight without so much as a bathroom break. Now a lot of this was due to the crowded server. The first five matches I tried to get in, started and then ended abruptly. Once I got going I’d get a finished game, and then it would kick everyone out of the lobby. It was annoying, but I was already along for the ride so I stuck it out.

The first map I managed to play on was Chinatown. Now I’d read all about how it was just an updated remix of an old map found in one of the earlier iterations of the series. But I’d never played the original so I was clueless. I was playing Team Domination and after quicly learning the domination points I was on my way. Chinatown is a very narrow level. It’s basically comprised of a few 2 way alleways, some dead ends, a park area, and a few wide open bases (streets, and a parking area) with buildings that have a lot of open windows, multiple floors and provide good tactical positioning. Beyond that all I can say is this level will be Camp City. Venturing from anywhere outside of the back alleys or not strategically using the inside of buildings to move around, will get you killed 85% of the time. Also, in a lot of good positioning rooms there is only one way in, so snipers are going to be able to set up shop, bake some cakes, do their taxes, and hand you your ass, all in in one serving.

The next map I played was Creek, I had an intersting conversation with some 12 year-old about how this map sucked because it was sniper city. And I was a little wary based on that. But once I got going I didn’t find it that bad at all. Creek is huge, there’s a lot of ground to cover, and a lot of it is uneven. There’s hills and ridges with the main hill in the center of the map, allowing you to either go over it or through it via a narrow cave. If you come out of the North side you have a dilapidated shack to the west with a bridge (be on your p’s and q’s) and another hill climb with a narrow path going up or you can follow the empty creek resevoir and go around the side.

If you come out on the South side you have a straight path leading you to 2 run down houses on the East side and a fairly large wide open space between the houses and the hill.

To the far East of the map is a waterfall of sorts, and throughout the map there are huge rocks, trees and tall grass for cover. In short, yes, you could find yourself in sniper hell, but there’s a lot of cover and some pretty obvious spots to look out for sniper fire.

Broadcast, the next map, was based on the “Charlie Don’t Surf” stage in the game, and this level can be complete maddness. There’s a housing area to the South that leads to a wide open parking lot and directly into the complex via the lobby. To the East around the building there are stairs leading up stairs and to a couple different locations inside. You can also drop down from the roof on the eastside through a huge gapping hole into the production room.

The meat of this map takes place on the inside in the “TV” room, this is basically the middle of the map and filled to the brink with televison-lined cubicles. There’s too many places to hide, about 3-4 ways to enter and exit the room, and only one overhead area (which is camped heavily) looking onto the floor. A lot of time in team matches the other teams flag, or hq, or bomb objective is in the middle. And beleive me when I tell you it can get pretty intense when the grenades and hot lead start flying. Get ready for some sweaty palms.

The last level, which was seemingly absent from map rotation is Killhouse, I didn’t get a chance to play this until a friend of mine sent me a private match invite with the sole intention of playing this level. This stage is the smallest of the new maps, and it’s basically the training facility from the beginning of the game. This level lives up to it’s name. Everything is made up of thin wood material or concrete which can be blasted through with deep impact. There’s a tower in the center of the stage but it doesn’t offer much in the way of positioning because the level is so compact. Also there are open roof spots, so when sending in air strikes you could potentially be bombing your own team or self. We played for about a half hour on Hardcore and it was an absolute mess.

In conclusion, I broke down and spent the 800 Microsoft Points and played this game to death all weekend. I hadn’t picked up COD4 since mid-December and it was nice to get back into the game. I did a ton of leveling up jumping from 32-40 in 2 days, and I think the new maps are a great addition to an already stellar offering from Infinity Ward.

[See also: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare gallery]