One day after announcing the release date, Treyarch has released the second Map Pack for Call of Duty: World at War.  The announcement yesterday was a pleasant surprise, and I find myself eagerly downloaded said map pack in the wee hours of the morning.  As a result of this inability to sleep, I’m also posting an early review.

The new pack consists of three new competitive multiplayer maps for traditional matchmaking, as well as another level expanding the Zombies experience.

Sub Pens

Marines vs. Imperial Army.  The atmosphere provided by the rain is outstanding.  It looks somewhat open when you spawn in, but as you move around you can see that there are a lot of little rooms, nooks and crannies.  I think it offers some things that aren’t really provided by any map previously in multiplayer for WaW.  While it was compared to Dome during the demo on the XBLA, it feels nothing like Dome to me.  It is of a similar size in that you can run straight from one end of the map to the other in around 15 seconds, but it offers a great deal more cover than Dome’s environment does.  While there are shooting lanes available, there are also many ways to move around without crossing open spaces.  I can invision a lot of hairy close-combat situations and a lot of trap scenarios on this board.

Corrosion

Wehrmacht vs. Red Army.  A somewhat long but not especially wide map.  I’d classify it as a mid-sized level.  It felt very large to me at first but as I moved around and learned the layout, it no longer felt quite as expansive.   One thing you will definitely find here more than other WaW maps is a level of vertical combat.  While this is offered on some maps such as Nightfire, Corrosion has a second level that sprawls across most of the map and will definitely be a factor in how the map plays.  Be ready for those moments of frustration as you die from an unseen adversary.  It’s going to happen on this map more than once.  While the environment offers enough cover to move around, this isn’t a map where you can run wild and free without fear of snipers and riflemen.

Banzai

Imperial Army vs. Marines.  This map has some of the most varied terrain and environments in WaW.  One portion of the map is dedicated to a series of underground caves along with a pair of waterfalls that feed into the river splitting the map into two sides.  You can cross the map via the caves and the man-made tunnels they connect to, or you can cross the large bridge.  Additionally there are a number of structures on both sides of the stream that will remind players of Knee Deep or Makin.  These buildings are mainly constructed of thin wood and metal, although you will find an old Japanese shrine in one corner.  This is definitely the largest of the three maps, providing a number of combat scenarios.  Snipers will love to pick off bridge-crossers while those who prefer to lurk in the shadows will enjoy the caves.  There are also plenty of opportunities for gunfights between the various buildings.  You can even fight it out along the stream under the bridge if you wish.

Shi No Numa

More Zombie madness.  This time with Imperial Japanese Zombies rather than Nazis.  Oh yeah and Hell Hounds.  Those are great fun (except not really).  They appear at random between rounds of zombies and will simply materialize out of thin air and charge at you.  I’m a pretty crummy Zombies player solo, so I couldn’t get deep enough by myself to run into anything new.  However once we got some four-player cooperative teams running in the afternoon today, business picked up.  There’s a large central building where you start on the second story.  The lower story holds the random weapon chest.  It also has four exit doors that will take you to each of the four outlying shacks.  Each shack contains different weapons and has different pluses and minuses with regards to defending it.  Each also has a perk machine, but the perks are random.  You never know what will appear where.

As we got deeper into the rounds, we found that it was more and more difficult to defend the outlying structures.  Especially given the lack of weapon options once you’re out there as you only have whatever one weapons spawns in each building.  There is another treat to be pulled out of the weapon randomizer, the Wunderwaffe DG-2 or as I call it “The Lightning Gun”.  It essentially shoots an electrical charge at the nearest zombie, and that charge then spreads to all other zombies nearby.  It can be a powerful equalizer when being overrun, but unlike the Ray Gun it’s a complimentary weapon rather than a primary killing tool as you have a small clip, limited rounds and it’s a real pain to use in close quarters.  All in all I think this might be the most challenging Zombies map yet.  It definitely presents some unique challenges.

Double XP

Looking to Prestige?  Now’s the time.  There’s an extended Double XP Weekend that is running through Tuesday to celebrate the new maps.  Treyarch has also unleashed the usual new maps playlists.

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