Modern Warfare 2: Stimulus Package • Page 2

Warmongering.

Bailout, by contrast, is a bright American apartment complex, one newly built if the "FOR RENT" banner is anything to go by. But with walls pitted with bullet holes, and giant blast bites taken about of supporting walls, these houses will remain unsold. The long connecting corridors and expansive communal area overlooking an empty swimming pool provide long, satisfying sight lines.

But there's little scope to set up camp here, as every look-out point has its own flank weakness, giving the flow of combat a cyclical, washing-machine style and ensuring players stay on the move. Nevertheless, the three-storey block of flats allows for tense cross-court shootouts, while inside, you peek around arcade and pinball machines in search of a headshot.

Salvage is the weakest of the three new maps, as the frequent voting down by players two days in testifies. A frozen salvage yard, here's another area with a large crane as its defining feature, this one backed up by a corrugated wall adorned with tyres, bonnets and other assorted car parts. Around this central area, stacks of used vehicles form aluminium corridors, shepherding players around the area's icy borders.

There are few camp points here outside of a derelict filling station and a few segments of concrete tubing, presumably intended for a pipeline that will never be. As a result, the map forces fast and frenetic movement around itself, lest a puff of misty breath give your position away.

2
Overgrown.

Two of Modern Warfare's most popular maps complete the set. Overgrown is a large, overrun rural area of Russia, perfect for snipers in ghillie suits who can blend in with the thick shrubbery that envelops the area. Meanwhile, Crash is a Middle Eastern city centre, based around a downed Sea Knight helicopter in the town square, which provides a swivel point for the action. Probably the best map in the Modern Warfare canon for team games, its addition is more than welcome, familiarity somehow not breeding contempt for the majority of players.

There's no denying Infinity Ward's huge skill in map design, and even a couple of days in, it's clear that the three new maps will bed in well with their older siblings. So, to the question of value. You'll need to play for an hour or so in the Stimulus-exclusive playlists before you've seen all of the maps, and many more than that before you'll have tried each of the game modes across all of them, let alone begun to form workable strategies for each.

So, while on paper this is an expensive set, it seems a little churlish to set about Infinity Ward for its pricing. You'll already know whether the set is worth the money to you, and for those who are investing scores of hours into the game every week, the Stimulus Package will live up to its name, revitalising the game once again by providing new scope to learn, master and dominate.

But these are only new playgrounds to mess about in: the systems and wider structure remain the same, along with some of the balancing problems that exist there. For players hoping for a more radical overhaul of Modern Warfare 2's admittedly distinguished multiplayer, this will not be stimulus enough.

7 /10

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About the author

Simon Parkin

Simon Parkin

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Simon Parkin is an award-winning writer and journalist from England, a regular contributor to The New Yorker, The Guardian and a variety of other publications.

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