The first content drop of many has come to Xbox LIVE for Call of Duty ELITE Premium Members. Infinity Ward has advertised it quite a bit (I saw advertisements all over YouTube for instance), and it got me pretty excited. This first content drop, as I'm sure you all know by now, contains just two maps: "Liberation" and "Piazza". There are no Spec Ops missions, guns, camos, or any other goodies in this content drop, just in case you're wondering.
Liberation: Upon first screenshot, I immediately thought of Stadium from Black Ops, just because it looked similar. When actually playing the map though, it's completely unlike Stadium. Liberation takes place in what I suppose is supposed to be Central Park in New York... you can even see the Empire Stat Building in the background, for example. After seeing some early footage of this map, I was very impressed with how the map looked, but not exceptionally excited with how I was expecting the map to play out. And now, I know why, unfortunately. Liberation is pretty much a map for snipers only. Sure, there are a select few areas where assault rifles would beat a sniper rifle, but let's not kid anybody - this is a map for snipers, and if you play Team Deathmatch, you can expect nothing but a campfest.
After playing about four games of TDM on this map, that's all it was each and every time. Hell, I've hardly even gotten a chance to see the middle of this map just because it's about impossible to get through there without getting your head blown off. Other objective modes for Liberation are also rather disappointing. In a game mode like Capture the Flag, if your flag carrier dies, it's super simple for an enemy sniper to camp back and shoot anybody that's about to pick up the flag on your team. I really can't think of any one objective game mode that could be fun on this map... and if you wanted to get any enjoyment out of ANY objective mode, you'd sure as hell better have a tactical insertion in your class, because otherwise you'll be running a half mile to get to the enemy flag. Almost entirely just because of how the map looks, and not how it's played, I give Liberation a ... 3/5
Piazza: When I saw the previews for these maps before release, I was actually more excited for Liberation than Piazza. After playing Liberation, I was dissatisfied to say the least. In the initial video I saw for Piazza, I felt that from a distance it looked way too much like Favela. Fortunately for me, - Favela was one of my least favorite maps in MW3 - Piazza is nothing like Favela, and is also the exact polar opposite of what Liberation is as far as map design. While Liberation is quite possibly the largest map in Modern Warfare 3, Piazza is one of the smallest - not much longer than Dome, I don't think. If you didn't already know, it takes place at some town in Italy, right near the water. The landscape looks incredibly nice, and I really love the design of the map. But as you can see from my Liberation score, that's not what makes a good map.
Fortunately, Piazza looks great, and plays pretty decently too. While Liberation is a map that I feel is almost good for nothing, Piazza plays well in TDM, S&D, and CTF to name a few. Its small size make a shotgun (A.K.A. Striker) or SMG a necessity, while there are virtually no areas where a sniper or even assault rifle could win. Piazza is a very small map with several buildings, sets of stairs, and corners. The main problem I have with Piazza is the same that I tend to have with Dome - it can get very clusterfuck-ish, and you WILL be shot in the back/spawnkilled repeatedly if you're unlucky enough to have that happen (I didn't mention it in my review of Liberation, but the spawning in that map - even with it's gigantic size - is pretty poor as well from my early on experiences.). It's not a fantastic map by any means, but it is most certainly a better map all around than Liberation is. 3.75/5
And that's that - the first Content Drop for MW3 reviewed. Disappointed by the scores? Did you play the maps yourself and not care for them much either? Yeah. I was extremely unhappy with these two maps. To be honest, I'd go as far as saying that this is the most disappointing content I've ever gotten from the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. I sure hope Infinity Ward can 'wow' me next time, because if this Content Drop is a sign of things to come, I surely won't be happy.