Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package Review: Pricey Maps

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 remains the most popular game played on Xbox Live since its launch late last year, but that doesn't mean that the fans of the fast-paced, first-person shooter couldn't use some new ways to play.

Enter the Stimulus Package. The first Modern Warfare 2 map pack, coming to the Xbox 360 a month before any other platform, comes with just five new killing fields: Crash, Overgrown, Bailout, Salvage and Storm. Two of those maps, Crash and Overgrown, are fan favourites pulled from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare's multiplayer experience and retooled for the sequel. And they'll set you back $US15 USD.

Could a pack of maps be worth a quarter the price of the full game? Let's see.

Loved

Visual Variety:The three new maps included in the pack are an eclectic mix of city scape, junkyard and industrial park, all loaded with detail. I particularly love the rolling sheets of rain and lighting of the aptly named Storm map. The snow-dusted fortified junkyard of Salvage is a stark setting, and the apartment complex and empty swimming pool of Bailout give you plenty to scan during play. Combined, the maps of the Stimulus Package do much to broaden the visual palette of Modern Warfare 2's online play.

Tactical Tuning: The maps of Stimulus Package aren't just pretty to look at, they were also each designed to try and stop certain in-game play styles. For instance, the perches that can be found along the roofs of Storm can help shift the tide of a battle if commanded by a talented sniper. Bailout's inside and outside sections force players to shift between long range and close range weapons and Salvage's lack of buildings and maze-like junkyards is great for fast and deadly play.

Hated

The Price: And really, it all comes down to this. Is it worth $US15 to add five maps, two of which you've likely seen before, to your Modern Warfare 2 experience? Put another way, the original Modern Warfare 2 game was a $US60 title. Dropping that cash gave you 16 maps, and an eight to 10 hour single-player campaign. Paying that price for nothing more than five new maps seems absurdly out of whack to me.

Ignoring the price, the Stimulus Package offers the online, multiplayer Modern Warfare 2 experience a breath of fresh air, with new settings, new places to explore and build tactics around. But it's hard to ignore the $US15 price tag. If you can, the maps are a finely-tooled collection of places to play.

When I spoke with the development team about the pack they told me that it was called a Stimulus Package because it was designed to stimulate interest in the title. At $US15 though and with no other additions in the pack, it feels more like it was meant to stimulate earnings on Activision's quarterly report.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package was developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for the Xbox 360 on March 30. Retails for 1200 Microsoft Points ($US15/$AU19.80). A code for the download pack was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played all five multiplayer modes multiple times.

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Comments

    It was never stated that you would have to play all the different kinds of matches. Myself I love the team deathmatches, not the rest of the other BS. Why was this never said in the package.

      They're only doing it that way to introduce the maps for the double exp weekend - the maps were always gonig to be introduced to other playlists.

      Ddue to popular demand, they're going to add the new maps to regular matchmaknnig playlists now (as in literally, today, I think Bowling said on his Twitter) rather than later.

    I'd heard rumours the stimulus package would also include new challenges and callsigns. Pity it didn't but eh.
    I'm personally not liking the maps - yet - but then again some of the maps I hated at first I now love playing on. I'm sure they'll grow on me once I know them.

    "Put another way, the original Modern Warfare 2 game was a $US60 title. Dropping that cash gave you 16 maps, and an eight to 10 hour single-player campaign."

    The campaign was NOT 8-10 hours long, try 4 hours. It took me 4 hours on my first playthrough on regular, then i played it again on veteran and it took me 4 hours again. I was massively disappointed in MW2's campaign... :(

    Why didn't you review the other two maps? MW2 has sold many millions more copies than CoD4, so there would be many people who have never seen these maps. Regardless the two redone maps are excellent.

    Five top maps for 1200 is reasonable, your review has a note of sour grapes.

      You just need to look at previous DLC for similar games to notice that the pricing is on the heavy side. The bang for buck just isn't here on this one and it is coming across as corporate greed. They are taking the easy/lazy way out here by including previous maps. Sure some people out there haven't played MW1, but the majority of players out there will be familiar with them.

      They are also taking advantage of how popular this game is. They know they are on to a good thing and have such a massive fan base that they can afford to price accordingly.

    Got a good idea for a article guys. 'What else your US$15 could buy you on XBL/PSN'.

      It was 800 for CoD4 variety map pack, four maps of which one was only usable in free-for-all. CoD5's packs are three maps each plus a zombie map for 800. Halo3's were 3 for 800.

      I think five for 1200 isn't so bad.

    hopefully they will drop the price in a few weeks

    Who still plays this shit? Bad Company 2 is superior!

      Agreed

      There were 500K playing earlier on xbox.

    "The maps of Stimulus Package aren’t just pretty to look at, they were also each designed to try and stop certain in-game play styles."

    Right. And yet the CQB of Crash is just going increase the use of akimbo 1887s >.<

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