The world is most definitely at war. It may not be top of the Xbox Live charts, but Call of Duty is king of the All-Formats Top 40, and with double experience points this week for LCE owners, now seems a good time to relate what we've picked up from the last few weeks running around the internet shooting people in the dogs. Thankfully, Eurogamer's recent intern Matt Edwards happened to write some of it down. Quite a lot, actually. Here's what he reckons.
Courtyard is a small and mostly open map, which makes it a good choice for Free-for-all matches. The two central fountains sandwich Domination point B and there is a short underground trench below Domination point C - but beware when taking it, as you may be surprised. There are some good sniping points up at Domination C but don't expect to stay hidden long (unless you equip Camouflage and a Suppressor/Flash Hider). The walls directly between Domination points A and C are climbable and are a good way of reaching a better vantage point; prone in the foliage here to catch unsuspecting enemies off guard. Also, use the low walls to your advantage as cover is everywhere. But remember that combat can become claustrophobic very quickly - camp for too long at your peril!
Weaponry - Machineguns are a safe bet with their high capacity, as are the Sub variety with their high rates of fire. But don't overlook the stopping power of the Rifles; just be sure to make those first shots count.
Search & Destroy - The defending team start on the high ground and right on top of A. It's best to spread out and take them all down before trying for a plant.
Dome is small map split between inside and outside areas with many points of entry between. Capturing the high ground can be a real tactical advantage with the right team behind you, but bear in mind that you could be stormed at any moment from either the ladder, stairs or bent girder, so have a point man covering each one, or, failing that, bring some Bouncing Betties to cover your tracks. If the opposition are putting up a good fight around Domination A, remember to use the derelict corridor in the south for effective flanking manoeuvres. We initially thought scaling the makeshift fort between Domination A and B would be a sound tactical manoeuvre, but the amount of times we were gunned down climbing up proved otherwise. And be careful not to fall in the gaping hole to the west - although falling down here will net you the 'Sayonara' Challenge if you haven't already got it.
Weaponry - Rifles are easily your best friends here. Bolt Action if you're a head shot king and standard if not. Just line up the sights.
Domination - On Dome a domination match is all about capturing point B. Once held any team worth their salt should be able to hold A and B or C and B with good communication and team work. Drawing a line of sight on B is possible from many corners of Dome.
Asylum is best summed up as an intense corridor map with a few open areas, and it's also quite reminiscent of Vacant from Modern Warfare. Often the action will take place inside the central building, so use the quieter eastern and western open areas to hunt out the opposition more safely. Also, if timed correctly, the mound of rubble in the central area makes a good jumping pad for reaching the western balcony - bypassing any entrenched battles often taking place in the area between Domination points A and C. The stairs between C and B is another good area to rack up kills; just make sure you have an exit plan once the grenades start flying. Players will often camp on Asylum just waiting to shoot you in the back. Play it safe by flushing out any room you suspect with a cooked Frag Grenade.
Weaponry - Often overlooked, the Trench Gun can be an effective weapon on a map like Asylum, so long as you stick to the small rooms and narrow corridors. But if you really want to get up close and personal, attach a Bayonet for a taste of true close combat sadism.
Team Deathmatch - Asylum is one of our favourite maps and host to many a memorable fire-fight. Walking idly around point B is often suicide, however, so check to make sure you have all the angles covered. The long corridor to the north from A is an excellent place to snipe should you have the patience and skill to wield a PTRS-41 effectively.
Castle is a medium-sized map based on a Japanese Castle with many different vantage points to exploit. It can be a hard map to get down as each area normally has at least three entry points minimum, but a team employing solid tactics on Castle is often victorious over individuals who may be a better shot. Although hard to achieve unnoticed, if you climb up the stairs next to Domination point B, it is possible to jump onto the red archway outside of the south-facing window. From here you can walk onto the roof of the building south of A and prone for a good sniping point. Just beware that on Core matches your location will often be revealed to whoever you kill. Mix it up!
Weaponry - All weapons are more than viable here. Just pick whatever you're good with and keep to a route that'll best cater for your weapons range.
Search & Destroy - This can be a particularly difficult map to attack on Search & Destroy as the Defenders can dig into points A and B very quickly. We often found trying to wipe out the defenders rather than rushing for a plant was the way to go.
Hangar, as the name would suggest, features a large derelict hanger bay and an open area with four smaller buildings. Halling up inside the hanger can be a sound tactic as you can easily identify the chokepoints where the enemy can assault you. But remember how useless the not-even-rain-proof roof is; it's not going to provide you any protection from an Artillery Strike. There are many ways to gain access to the hanger, but one of the best is to enter through the opening atop the debris just east of Domination point B. As long as you're stealthy, you'll have the instant advantage of being on the high ground. Seen anyone stupid enough to camp next to one of the many explosive barrels or vehicles on this map? You don't need us to tell you what to do.
Weaponry - Our money for this map was usually on the Submachine Guns. There aren't many locations of the map that could really be considered long-range and a good Sub like the PPSh-41 can be very adaptable both in the hanger and out.
Sabotage - The Imperial army gets the privilege of planting inside the hanger, so whether attacking or defending, the upper balcony is a good place to cover the planting zone. Comparatively, the Marine Raiders plant in the far south-east. If you manage to disarm you can exit the hanger heading south-east and head to the plant virtually straight through the adjacent building.
Makin was perhaps our least favourite among the beta maps and don't be surprised if it's often vetoed. It's medium-sized and set in a primitive harbour during the night. Viable tactics for deathmatches included hot-footing it from hut to hut with a Trench Gun to catch unsuspecting snipers off their guard and laying Bouncing Betties across the more central areas. You can't prone in the southern sea, but charging across the bridges will often get you killed quicker than sneaking silently through the open waters. In a Search & Destroy match the attacking team will often rush for B up the river as both sides start roughly the same distance away. Keep some snipers in the central building early to take advantage of the line of sight drawn to both bombing points.
Weaponry - Another map that caters well for most weapons. If you bring a Machinegun with a tripod you can set up in one of the huts and go to town - we'd recommend the FG42 for its high rate of fire and good compromise between Accuracy and Damage.
Capture the Flag - Often capture-the-flag games will have both teams entrenching for a stalemate. If you manage to retrieve the enemy's flag it's often a better tactic to run to the top of the map and then back down to your base, rather than simply charging headfirst through the central killzone.
Roundhouse (V B)
A more medium-to-large map with an impressive sense of scale that conveys its complexity. Our main advice for Roundhouse is to stay in cover; this map is a sniper's dream. The high ground at Domination point A and below C may seem like a good place to rack up the kills. But both are visible from many different areas of the map and the kill cam on core games will quickly rat you out. Tanks may be easily ambushed, but it's better to have a team-mate in one than let the opposition take control of both - even if you are all tooled up with Bazookas and No 74 STs. And if you're brave enough to go man the pintle-mounted machinegun, remember to hold B until you actually hear someone being foolish enough to shot the tank with a rifle. Otherwise you're just asking to be shot in the head.
Weaponry - Rifles and Machineguns here to be sure, and Bolt Actions if you're good. But have some team-mates bring a few No 74 STs and Satchel Charges to dispatch any tank joyrides.
Capture the Flag - You can either try a suicidal run through the central dome, sneak through the train graveyard to the west or the open trail to the east. Although you can't enter a tank, that doesn't stop a team-mate from covering you while you dash to the base.
Upheaval plays host to many two-tiered houses in a relatively small location. The second floor of the open house in the far north-east of the map can be used to climb onto the roof of the outbuilding adjacent to it. Prone here gives an excellent sniper spot to cover Domination point B, but you are extremely venerable to a counter attack should you be sussed out. Another excellent sniping point for B is the far-west alleyway. You're not as exposed here, but you may be left twiddling your thumbs till someone walks into your crosshairs. Also, there are many cars on this map, set a Bouncing Betty next to one to give your proximity blast that extra kick.
Weaponry - Every weapon is viable on Upheavel due to the many different ranges in which combat will take place. For this reason it was one of our favourite maps, but if you're unsure a Sub Machinegun like the Thompson with an Aperture Sight is always a safe bet.
Sabotage - Two sets of explosive barrels between near Domination point B can be used to vault the fences leading to either plant zone from the central area. Destroying these barrels limits your enemies' options, but will also make it harder for your team-mates getting to get the drop on them in return.
Airfield is one giant killzone, with two main buildings and large open areas. Shotgun and Sub Machinegun nuts will find the circumference of this map to be a cover-packed circuit - attempting regular laps should net you a good few kill streaks with the right tools. The buildings at both Domination A and C provide perfect sniping points, but are in perfect view of each other so take out the opposing snipers before concentrating on the infantry in-between. Also, the underground tunnel can be used to effectively flank the enemy's position. Just be sure to have your thumb firmly poised on the right analogue stick in case you bump into someone with the same idea. Be weary of the exploding barrel just to the east of A, too - a Bouncing Betty often planted here will set off a chain reaction seeing Betty, Barrel and Trucks all going off in one massive blast.
Weaponry - Rifles and Snipers often offer good results to those who can use them. However, nothing quite beats the thrill of taking revenge with the Sawn-Off Double-Barrel Shotgun if you're good at closing the gap quickly.
Domination - Use the tunnel to storm A and C as well as the often quite south-western area. Sniper battles will consistently take place between points A and C but the key to victory is to hold B and any other point for as long as your team can manage.
Ah Cliffside, far too many sniper points to list and littered with small temples and pillboxes in one elongated open corridor. If you're a marksman of some renown then this map could potentially be your favourite. With a solid team it's often easier to defend a location on Cliffside than it is to storm one; mostly due to simple to cover chokepoints. Running down the centre on Cliffside is paramount to suicide; if you need to advance then progress through the buildings and the southern and eastern paths. Satchel Charges and Bouncing Betty traps will be popular during heated clan battles as are Tabun and Frag Grenades for flushing out occupied buildings - so pay attention to your surroundings and memorise popular trap planting locations.
Weaponry - It's obvious, but Snipers all the way. The Mosin-Nagant and PTRS-91 are both good choices.
Search & Destroy - Both A and B bombing points are similar distances to the start for the Attacks and Defenders. Don't all try and defend the same one, spread out and cover all the possible angles. Rather than hauling up in A, lay some traps inside and then cover the two entrances. If planting, remember that A and B are in very close proximity, so if you find a solid wall of defence at one it's likely the other side may be more attemptable.
A larger, crater-filled warzone with a massive open central area complete with tanks and a few small buildings. This is an easy map to get lost in, and tanks can be a problem if left ignored, so if you're being overwhelmed, switch to a class that better deals with them and remember that it can take as many as six Bazooka shots to take out a tank with full health, so don't just leave the job to one person. Camping out at the most northern part of the map with a scoped Springfield can be a viable tactic, but if the opposition are communicating well don't be surprised if you start seeing the heavy artillery coming your way. Meanwhile, it doesn't really offer much in the way of strategic advantage, but it is possible to reach the upper platform on which the statue resides in the centre of the map. Prone with a rifle would obviously be the way to go but bear in mind that you're very exposed.
Weaponry - Another map that caters for all play styles. Go with what your best with, we often favoured the versatility of the Machineguns.
War - It's one steady advance from the centre to the opposite end of you starting position. Get Memorial quickly and then gradually apply the pressure forward. Many people don't like them, but use the tanks to fend off an enemy resurgence.
Outskirts can be a very hard map to learn due to its size and many buildings. But this goes for everyone else too, so charging from building to building with a Trench Gun and Bayonet can be lethal against green opposition. It can be fun to climb up the derelict church bell tower for a bit of sniping, but everyone knows this trick so don't be surprised if you're the one who starts taking shots. Also, as good as the higher ground is, the tower doesn't draw line-of-sight to a single Domination point. Also, use the ladder in the north section of the church for an effective Rifle spot, and good vantage on one of the map's popular chokepoints. The map as a whole has many buildings to utilise, but as a lot of the action with take place in and around the church area, it's best to remain centralised if your going for the most kills.
Weaponry - Rifles, Machineguns and Sub Machineguns are all useful in many areas on Outskirts. This map also has a good smattering of explosive barrels so if you camping use them as traps.
Sabotage - The bomb starts in the church so both teams will likely rush it during the opening phase. The Red Army has a plant zone slightly north-west to the Church that also draws line-of-sight with the Bell Tower, so it's a sound move to capture the bell-tower early. The Wehrmacht plant zone, however, is inside a building just south of the church. Once planted you can prone on the upturned bookshelf just south of the bomb to take out any would be disarmers.
Seelow is set in a large rural farm area with a bridged train track in the centre. In a straight-up deathmatch the bridge usually turns into one massive gunfight and for some reason all the Domination points are in the western half of the map. Use the often-overlooked eastern tunnel entrance if you're constantly getting sniped trying to manoeuvre over the bridge. Also, beware that the shallow river under the bridge slows you to a crawl. Get caught out here and you'll be looking at a respawn. The wheat fields probably don't offer as much camouflage as you might think; stray grenades always seen to end up here. The balcony at Domination point B and the barn to the far east both make excellent sniping spots and draw good line of sight to various chokepoints. Just be weary of enemy tank fire.
Weaponry - We managed a good few kill streaks here with the STG-44. It's a solid Rifle with many of the properties of a Sun Machinegun.
Headquarters - All the HQs appear in one of the many buildings, so once you've captured one, lay down the traps and cover all the entrances. Tanks are indispensible for keeping the advancing hordes at bay; shoot through the various windows and doors to keep your HQ from being recaptured and scoring valuable seconds. It isn't always idea to have everyone defending a captured HQ though, so spread out in preparation for the next HQ spawn.
A few final thoughts:
- On larger maps, extreme condition can be an advantage.
- If the enemy calls for a Recon Plane and you haven't taken the appropriate precautions, don't just sit there! Move around to confuse them.
- Red Barrels explode! Use this to your advantage. Plant a Bouncing Betty next to one for that extra proximity kick.
- There's no points scored for being polite! Think about using windows rather than doors to gain entry to the various buildings.
- Snipers work better in pairs. Sniping will leave you exposed to everything not directly in front of you. Have a team-mate cover you while you rack up the kills, and they take out the queue of players that will come seeking revenge.
- Perks are all about play style and choice of weapons. There's no point in having Hold Breath if your weapon doesn't even have a scope.
- Learn the maps. You're no good to your team if you're always walking blindly into a blatantly watched chokepoint.
- Guard dogs are far more annoying than helicopters, but you can always knife them if you time it right. Worth it for the yelp.