Call of Duty: Black Ops - First Strike

Call of Duty: Black Ops - First Strike Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

First Strike adds five new maps - Discovery, Ascension, Berlin Wall, Kowloon and Stadium - to Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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Call of Duty: Black Ops - First Strike screenshot
Call of Duty: Black Ops - First Strike screenshot

Gamers are a funny old bunch. They spend the best part of twenty years banging on about how gaming should be accepted by the masses, and now that it has - primarily through Call of Duty - they spend half their lives drawing devil horns on pictures of Bobby Kotick. So it goes.

I've always found the easiest way is just to conform - because isn't it nice playing a multiplayer game that's well made, blisteringly fast, and always entertaining? So, yes, I like Call of Duty. I like it as much as I liked Counter-Strike a decade ago. Admittedly it often enrages me to a point that I'm worried my heart will pop and my grip is a few scant newtons away from compressing the 360 controller into diamond, but that's all part of the game.

I suppose you can call me a card-carrying member of the Call of Duty fanclub. And you probably are, too. The first step is admitting that you like Call of Duty, which usually encourages about fifty people to turn up and call you names for a couple of hours. Then it's the admission that yes, actually, you would be prepared to spend about ten quid on getting hold of some more multiplayer maps, which will usually cause another gaggle of naysayers to start chiding you. The third step is working out how to mute your headset so you don't have to listen to hordes of whiny chavs saying 'bruv' all evening.

Regardless of which way you cut up the costs, though, 1200 points is fair chunk of actual money, and if you're not a particularly big fan of Zombies mode then you're getting an even worse deal. Still, for me at least, any opportunity to get away from constant cycles of Nuketown - by far Black Ops' most popular map - is well worth the investment.

If Nuketown is what you like, however, then First Strike probably won't be your cup of tea. There's nothing here that offers its miniscule size, funnels streams of foes down tight corridors, or gives you nearly as much of that sweet, sweet XP in glorious showers of frenzied bullet fire. Instead you get more thoughtful maps such as Berlin Wall, which immediately strikes as a mid-size offering built with Crossfire, Havana and Invasion in mind. East and West Germany make up both sides of the map, with the central corridor - by far the loveliest and most dependable of all multiplayer map conceits - has been replaced by a perilous no man's land with automated turrets ready to spin up and grant free suicide deaths at a moment's notice.

You can scrape by without being shot to ribbons if you're fast enough, but this also triggers a map-filling warble so everybody knows exactly what you're doing. There are only three truly safe zones to cross, and the action is neatly concentrated into these spots - with the middle path containing a rather dangerous capture point in Domination, too.

Berlin Wall also heralds something of a renaissance for Black Ops snipers, with some crafty spots for everyone's favourite cowards to take up residence and grab twice as many kills as everybody else. Thankfully, however, there are enough twisty indoors corridors to manoeuvre around without putting yourself into the path of constant long-distance headshots.

Head over to Kowloon and you've got a similar blend of outdoors and indoors environments, alongside some more vantage spots for crafty snipers. There's a far greater emphasis on vertical traversal, however, and there's a confusing abundance of ledges, windows and rooftops to scramble over to reach the map's all-important vantage points.

Kowloon also brings with it a zip-line, which flings you across the map but leaves you wide open to enemy fire. It's gimmicky enough that everyone will try it a couple of times, but its usefulness is something that I'm yet to ascertain. Even in objective gametypes, when speed is of the essence, I've found myself preferring the longer, safer route around the map.

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User Comments

chelskiboy247's Avatar


Which map pack would you say offers better value for money: Halo's Noble Pack
or BlOps' First Strike?
Posted 20:35 on 07 February 2011
xboxlive's Avatar


Looking at the price,it looks like we are paying £1.99 for each map,but i myself think addons should be alot cheap then they been put up.
Posted 10:24 on 04 February 2011
squidman's Avatar

squidman@ p0rtalthinker

Yeah, I can understand that. They are expensive, and it's not like Blops doesn't come with a load of decent maps on the disk anyway.

I do think if you get the itch in the future and see the maps on sale they'd be worth picking up, mind.
Posted 18:33 on 03 February 2011
GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar


Already picked this up, would only recommend it as a last resort or if you play it non-stop.
Posted 18:07 on 03 February 2011
p0rtalthinker's Avatar


Great review Martin, but I don't think I'll pick this one up. I've already had my fair share of Blops MP and have been focusing my short gaming attention span on other things recently. Not to mention the high price for only 4 maps (the other zombie map I have really no interest in) kinda negates any want for this.
Posted 17:46 on 03 February 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Call of Duty: Black Ops - First Strike
Out of 10
Call of Duty: Black Ops - First Strike
  • Something for everyone.
  • Berlin Wall.
  • Good range of maps.
  • Steep asking price.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 01/02/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Treyarch
Publisher: Activision
Genre: First Person Shooter
No. Players: 1-4 + Online
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 6,181 15
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