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Anthony Capone
11 Apr, 2010

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2: Stimulus Package Review

360 Feature | We get stimulated.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s first multiplayer map pack, titled the Stimulus Package, landed exclusively on Xbox LIVE (for the time being, at least) over a week ago. Plagued with bugs and several other issues at launch, the Stimulus Package is now running somewhat steadily. So the question is, should you dish out the required 1200 Microsoft Points for this package, or hold off being stimulated?

The Stimulus Package include includes five maps. Three are brand new to the series, and the other two are what Activision defines as ‘classic’ Call of Duty 4 maps. The two flashback maps are Crash and Overgrown. Series veterans’ will recognise these environments as the urban district with the crashed helicopter and the grassy paddock filled with houses, barns and a ditch, respectively. You certainly get a kick out of playing these old maps, if only for the pure nostalgia. Its fun running around familiar hangouts with Modern Warfare 2’s new kit and perks, while employing old strategies (if they still work). Nonetheless, you cannot help but feel you’re playing something you may already own and that the two old maps are just a bit of padding.

Return of the helicopter.

Return of the helicopter.
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Things are much fresher with the three new maps, Bailout, Storm and Salvage. Regardless of your personal play style, there is something in each of these new environments for everyone. Bailout is a loose complex of apartment buildings connected by stairs and walkways. It’s great for snipers and players sporting long-range assault rifles, thanks to the plethora of windows and vantage points. Salvage is vastly different, packing players into an icy and claustrophobic junk yard made up of trenches and wrecked cars, with near to no cover. This is a one map where you will definitely want to call shotgun. Camping is not advised, so expect plenty of mayhem (and entertainment) if defending a certain point. Last but not least is Storm, an assortment of warehouses and shipping containers drenched by rain. This map is also great for team-based games, but unlike Salvage, there plenty of hiding spots to get the drop on the enemy. Also expect to shoot the mannequins loitering around the indoor environments more than once.

Overall, the Stimulus Package is a great compilation of maps. However, things become undone in the pricing and infrastructure departments. If you want to be guaranteed a match on one of the new maps, you must select Stimulus or Hardcore Stimulus from Modern Warfare 2’s menu of multiplayer options. The playlists rotate through each of the new maps, while selecting the game types at random. Whether you get to play Team Deathmatch or Search and Destroy, for example, its purely chance. The process for selecting new maps is far from bad, but it could have done with an extra filter or two for narrowing down the options.

Storming the enemy.

Storming the enemy.
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The next issue with the infrastructure is matchmaking. Even though Modern Warfare 2 has been out for a while, the process for connecting to and staying in matches is still rather buggy. The latest patch makes ping the priority when searching for games. However, not once did we get the best ping (or second, third or forth best ping) when looking for a game. After a few minutes, you may get into a match. On balance, the majority of games we played (once we got in) had good connections. Nonetheless, we still experienced problems with lag and being booted out of matches randomly. We mention the matchmaking issues because they should be a consideration in deciding whether to buy the Stimulus Package. Until the multiplayer system is nailed down perfectly, its difficult recommending the new map pack.

The final issue is price. The Stimulus Package sets a new benchmark, coming in at 1200 Microsoft Points (approximately AU $20). This is much more than the 800 Microsoft Points for each of Call of Duty: World at War’s map packs, and also more than what is costs to download full games such as Shadow Complex and Perfect Dark. In the end, it will come down to how much of a Modern Warfare 2 fan you are. As Infinity Ward’s Robert Bowling said in our recent interview, “you really just have to put a value on what you think [the] amount of gameplay is worth to you”. Diehard fans will want to pick up the package, and will certainly get countless mileage from it. For casual fans or defectors to other shooters such as Battlefield: Bad Company 2 though, it will be a different story. While fun, the Stimulus Package has no new weapons, perks or achievements, and doesn’t show anything that we haven’t seen before. Ultimately, given the premium price, the Stimulus Package will be a difficult sell for most.


Worth buying? Maybe


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Downloadable content ratings system

We've given a 'buy' rating of 'Yes', 'Maybe', or 'No'.

Yes means that the content is either great value or brings some substantial additions to the game, or possibly both.

Maybe means that the content may be fun while it lasts, but may either be too short or not enough to fully justify the price tag.

No means that we don't recommend downloading this insubstantial content.
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Related Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Content

17 Comments
4 years ago
It really isn't worth buying unless you are a diehard CoD fan.
4 years ago
It shouldn't be bought. Period.
4 years ago





realistically i agree , if i had the game tho id probably sucker up and err buy in to it icon_redface.gif , there are things far worse tho that id never buy in to.
4 years ago
Thanks for the review, but I will not be getting it, moved onto BF:BC 2. The campaign and spec ops were great, but the online issues pushed me away.
4 years ago
trixSTAR wrote
moved onto BF:BC 2. The campaign and spec ops were great, but the online issues pushed me away.
Lol. online issues so you moved to battlefield BC:2, as a chronic battlefield fanatic/early adopter, you made a horrible horrible judgement call icon_wink.gif
4 years ago
at least he's got a new game.
4 years ago
I'm against buying it but if you only play CoD online it's probably worth it. Seeing how I just moved on to BC2 it's not like I'm going to get this anyway
4 years ago
The screenshots make me laugh because it implies that Teamwork happens in Call of Duty. icon_razz.gif
4 years ago
1200 is way too much for a few maps with clunky implementation. For me and my son, that actually means we'd need to fork out close to $40 for us to play on our own Xboxes, so no go for us.
4 years ago
I returned to the 360 version over the easter long weekend and through most of last week. I liked that despite the warning from IW that they were increasing the rotation of the new maps into the regular match type cycles. Yet it only happened to me once in all of the time that i played icon_smile.gif.

I'm 99% likely to buy the stimulus pack when it is released on the ps3 version (it's the main ps3 game i play online), i'll judge it around the first few weeks of release. If i was to be continuously put in matches that only featured those maps, i'd resort to buying it (or i'd have to find a new online game to play). However if i have the same sort of luck as i did with the 360 version, i may hold off on buying the pack straight away.
4 years ago
notsofat wrote
trixSTAR wrote
moved onto BF:BC 2. The campaign and spec ops were great, but the online issues pushed me away.
Lol. online issues so you moved to battlefield BC:2, as a chronic battlefield fanatic/early adopter, you made a horrible horrible judgement call icon_wink.gif
Yes, you are right, luckily I wasn't playing it for the first week or so after it was released icon_wink.gif The release of the ps3 version was delayed a week so it wasn't as bad for us.
4 years ago
Anyone who says that bf online is worst than cod is clueless. I have never had any problems with lag that actually affects my gameplay in both bad company one and 2. Cod i cant find one game without red connection. How about IW and activison fix the glitches and servers before they charge 20 bucks for 3 maps that wont even be playable.

Ill play my free bf maps like everyone with a brain. mp is better in bf imo anyway
4 years ago
el_supraman wrote
Ill play my free bf maps like everyone with a brain.
that really doesnt make much sense to me, only because cod came out with 16 maps, and bfbc2 with only 10. and bc2 has only had the vip map packs come out which were on the disc to start with, with paid maps coming soon (according to battlefield blog)

i have been waiting for the map pack to come to the ps3 just to play the cod4 maps on it, but looking at the other maps it looks great cant wait to try it out.
4 years ago
It's sold a jillion copies, and will prompt Activision to do the same thing for upcoming awesome games...like War for Cybertron...but they're better than that! Right?
...
...
...
...right?
4 years ago
4 years ago
bfbc2 was the best investment any warfare fps player could make, much better than cod mw2. there is no logical reason for the ridiculous price, and no i will not use capitals.
3 years ago
Good review Tony,
I agree the price is a bit high but as you said die hard fans will buy no matter what.

I would have liked some new weapons with the packs but ultimately I am happy with my Stimulus Package purchase.

I still prefer to play Battlefield: Bad Company 2 but MW2 still seems to be king of games among with Xbox 360 friends list.

Keep up to good reviews,
oo MUDSY oo
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