Why you shouldn't buy the Modern Warfare 2 Stimulus Package

If you're in a committed relationship with MW2, go ahead and splurge on sumptin' nice for the lady, but if your affair has cooled off, put that $15 toward a new mistress. Three new maps and two recycled CoD 4 maps aren't going to make the game better if you aren't already in love with it, and it's not a precedent we like.

What are the maps like?

They're not bad, but they're not great, and the harsh price tag invites harsh criticism.

The best of the three new maps is Bailout, a war-torn apartment complex. It's well-designed, and different enough from the others to inspire a smile when it appears in the rotation.

Above: Bailout's intimate interiors are balanced with a wide-open sniper gauntlet outside

Salvage is a small, dull junkyard map. It's more modern decay, and more tight corridors and silly concrete tubes to hide in. It's a lot of running around and hoping you see the other guy first, an experience you already get in the more-visually-interesting Rust.

Above: Salvage's blocks of junk texture are distractingly ugly

The final new map is Storm, a rainy, industrial map that's a lot like Underpass. Again, it's well designed, but more crates and more empty warehouses don't fill us with glee. Underpass is a better map.

Above: Storm is full of visual elements we've already had enough of

The final two included maps are arguably the best maps from CoD 4, and the best maps in the Stimulus Package. Overgrown and Crash were excellent then and still are, but they're nearly identical to the originals. The memories are nice, but remember that you're paying $3 a piece for maps you've probably already played to death.

Above: Playing CTF on Overgrown did make us a little giddy

Why we're being so cynical

Our eyes sparkled when we first experienced Modern Warfare 2's new weapons, perks, and kill streaks. We saw more of what we loved in CoD 4, and drooled all over our riot shields and tactical nukes. But our high-caliber boners for the game have since gone flaccid.

Above: Doesn't do it for us anymore

We still think that Modern Warfare 2 is an excellent game - the campaign and Special Ops missions alone are flabbergasting. But the multiplayer suffered heavily from Infinity Ward's exuberance. The abundance of additions was divine at first, but after a few months we realized that the balance had shifted too much for the game to dominate like its predecessor, which we were still playing up to the release of MW2.

But it's not just that we've cooled off on MW2. The priorities of Activision and Infinity Ward are unclear. What are their ideals? Certainly not to make buggy games that piss off the PC community, or to gouge their fans, right? Right?

It doesn't make us feel better that Activision kicked out Infinity Ward's founders, and the overpriced Stimulus Package has us even more worked up because we feel like we're being treated like drug addicts who will pay anything to get our fix. Well, we just might kick the habit.

Our anticipation level for the next CoD entry has already gone from :D to a firm :|, and there are plenty of other games to distract us. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 is superb, and DICE is also building Medal of Honor's multiplayer. DICE, by the way, doesn't charge for DLC maps for players who bought the game new. How about that?

Activision best figure out how to recapture the CoD mojo. We have a few suggestions: never exclude dedicated servers, create reasonably priced (or how about free?) DLC, release mod tools immediately, and, look, we'll just say it... act like Valve. They've got this "being a company and making games that people like" shit figured out... and they've been massively successful at it. Giving a bunch of copies of your game to the Navy doesn't cut it.

What you could buy instead

Here are a few arguably-better purchases you could make on XBLA for the price of the Stimulus Package. And by "arguably," we mean, "These are better, and you're wrong if you disagree."

Or you could buy five maps. Your call.

Mar 31, 2010


  • hand-o_death547 - April 3, 2010 5:02 p.m.

    i agree with this article completely. while i love mw2 and i still play it, there are many other games that have come out that i think are better (mainly bfbc2). and 15 bucks for 5 maps? i'll take free dlc from EA, thanks. p.s. sorry for bad grammar/spelling, im a lazy typer
  • kor2disturbed - April 3, 2010 8:35 a.m.

    I'm planning to save my money for the new l4d2 DLC
  • FinderKeeper - April 3, 2010 12:27 a.m.

    Was the "Game of the Year" award MW2 received from some game critics (or the perfect "10" score from this site, see below) deserved? Perhaps games of the year should only be decided in December for games that came out from October 1 of the previous year to September 30 of the "award" year? That way, supposed "10s" with massive flaws won't cause "premature adulation". reCaptcha: bluenose coke (is that you, Bobby K?)
  • soccerclownking - April 2, 2010 8:05 p.m.

    Take it from someone who made the mistake of buying them on the first day. DO NOT BUY IT!
  • Ronbotic - April 1, 2010 10:27 p.m.

    Yeah I agree, fortunatly I didn't buy the map pack, I'm back on CoD5 and playing BFBC2 now.
  • MilitaryRaiden - April 1, 2010 9:39 p.m.

    You are so spot on !!! Especially when you provide excellent alternatives for people that have money lying around and might even consider splurging it on IW's rip-off...
  • D0CCON - April 1, 2010 9:17 p.m.

    Also, to the people saying get a job. I can buy this thing 14 times over and still have money left over (exluding what I still have in the bank). Just because you CAN pay for something doesn't mean you SHOULD pay for something. And for people who think I hate the game: MW2>BC2 imo (not by much) This is my most played shooter I don't even mind all the glitches, mainly because I've never seen any of them in a game (except for the infinite ammo one, which was interesting to play for a game before getting annoying, and I only saw that one twice)
  • D0CCON - April 1, 2010 9:12 p.m.

    My friends all already downloaded this immeadietly. One mentions how much of a steal it is. Salvage is epic and the other 4 are great. The two remakes were so awesome he had to download them again for a ripoff price (which he thought was actually a steal). I love the game, too, but I notice when something is a ripoff and will also notice the bad parts (he also said that no shooter had a better story than MW2 and he didn't notice a single plot hole)
  • GodofPS314 - April 1, 2010 8:19 p.m.

    I kicked the habit 2 weeks ago. I was a ridiculous COD player I have 19 days on that game, but recently I just stopped. Ninth Prestige level 70 but I just stopped. Rarely, probably 2-3 times a week i play maybe an hour or so. No buy for me
  • nadrewod999 - April 1, 2010 6:42 p.m.

    I personally believe that 1200 points is WAY too much, so I am at least waiting for them to cut down the price. I think Activision is an evil corporation focused on making money (increased price on initial MW2 release, behind the 1200 point price) while Infinity Ward is out in front trying to make things right (numerous patches for any glitches, wanted to release avatar items for free but didn't know about awards)
  • eagledare - April 1, 2010 3:33 p.m.

    Hell yes. GR keepin' it real, son.
  • mdiaz033 - April 1, 2010 3:29 p.m.

    @Elit3m0nkey I agree, EA has impressed me recently (last 12-18 months). I used to resent them but now I see my resentment heading towards activision more and more.
  • kckondor - April 1, 2010 1:41 p.m.

    This has nothing to do with which game is better (both are good, but different imo), but surely you BC2 people realize you are being tricked right? Assuming you are VIP, the "free DLC" is not actually free or DLC. Its content on the the disc, which means you've already payed for it. Their new maps are just existing maps available for other play modes. This is wildly different than actual new maps. Anytime you can trick people into thinking they are getting stuff for free is brilliant. Is $15 dollars ridiculous? Probably. Is it unexpected? Not really. And finally will I buy it? More than likely, but I'm one of the few who doesn't pathologically hate MW2. For me it will be a decent value after you factor all the hours I will end up playing these maps.
  • pin316 - April 1, 2010 12:53 p.m.

    excellent points, every single one... one thing - although i'm not completely blown away with the MW2 experience, i do still like to jump on for a few games every now and then... i've only played an hour or so since the map pack came out, and seemed to have a lot more difficulty finding a game than usual. has anyone else had the same problem or did i just have an unlucky session? Really hoping the latter...
  • heznave - April 1, 2010 10:43 a.m.

    Beautiful story, thanks GR. Too bad there are a lot of people who have already bought it (to people who are enjoying it, keep enjoying it). Hopefully it won't encourage publishers to jack up prices on DLC in the future.
  • philipshaw - April 1, 2010 10:28 a.m.

    Have to agree with this article, the map pack is way too much money for what your getting. Look at UC2 and the way they did DLC, first couple were free and the stuff you paid for was $4
  • blankcheque - April 1, 2010 9:33 a.m.

    Get the rotund activision apologist Dan Amrich to belch forth spray & overuse the word 'asinine' as the spokesmodel for Sauron himself, Mrs Bobby Kotick, on your next podcast. I believe he has been servicing seaman on an Infinity Ward sponsored ship recently so he will probably enjoy the chance to just talk. On second thought....don't.
  • notthatgoodthanks - April 1, 2010 7:52 a.m.

    Bad company is all well and good, but some of us and by some of us i mean me, bought bad company 2 pre owned so now have to pay 1200 points for VIP content. Code was used. As for this article, I couldnt agree more with it, its a massive con, MW1 was and still is the better game, go back to it and see. Im paying for 2100 points today and im grabbing shadow complex and maybe time for a gamertag change, its been a long time coming.
  • Spydie4x4 - April 1, 2010 4:50 a.m.

    yah, so i got the maps. I still found myself asking the same thing i do after every match. "So, whens REACH coming out?"
  • Silentcapt2 - April 1, 2010 4:10 a.m.

    Already sold MW2 a while ago. Even if I still had it I would never pay $15 for 5 maps. It's sad that Activision will probably do this again and get even more money for ripping people off.

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