WARNING: Long Post Ahead. If you love MW2 or you have time, its worth the read.
There's a lot of controversy surrounding the current hype for MW2 Remastered. Is it happening? Are the leaks real, or an extravagant and cruel April Fool's Prank? How much should the game be changed? Should balancing be improved? Will there be supply drops?
Lots of questions, lots of different answers. Lots of discussion here about what balancing changes should be made. Anywhere from much too large changes, like moving shotguns to primaries and removing grenade launchers completely, to small changes, like One Man Army or Scavenger not resupplying explosives.
While I personally feel that as little changes should be made as possible, to prevent messing with the formula for a supremely popular game, I'm not too concerned with it. Balancing changes are good for limiting frustrations, although I had lots of fun trying to combat noobtubers, sometimes giving them a taste of their own medicine. Stuff like that served as a fun self-appointed objective. Smashing unorthodox playstyles into the ground with nerfs I fear may ruin some of the replay value, because then everyone will be running around with ARs and SMGs, like current CoDs. We should embrace alternative lifestyles in CoD. Let Johnny run around with his riot shield, let Jimmy bring his knife to a gun fight, let Kevin camp with infinite grenades. It's fun and offers unique gameplay match-to-match.
All that is well and good, but if they were to ruin all of that the way some of you wish for, I still think MW2R will be very run. Even if they add supply drops, and new weapon skins and camos, it will still be very fun. Honestly, I hope they add them. I played MW2 for over a thousand hours. I'm not opposed to new content.
But whatever they do, I will enjoy it, for one reason: Maps.
Some of you may recognize me from my Open Letter last week, regarding the same subject matter, but in a less pointed form.
Maps are the most important part of a successful arcade shooter. They need to flow, make sense, and allow many different ways to play match-to-match. If a map forces you to do the same thing every time you play it, it's failed.
MW2's maps succeeded in every way. They were well-made, unique, and fun to play. Even the worst maps, like Underpass, were still very good maps compared to what is being churned out now, especially the horrendously made maps of WWII.
Its a very diverse collection of maps that offer tons of ways to play, ranging from huge, open maps (Wasteland) to small, tightly packed maps (Rust).
Let's take a look at each one and talk about why they succeed, or struggle in areas. I'm not going to rank them, because everyone has different preferences and each map has different traits. No one map excels in every perspective.
- Afghan Afghan is a favorite of many. An open map with lots of long sight lines and plenty of paths for traversing its verticality. The cliff is one of my all time favorite spots. The bunkers were great, and the cave was a shitshow. The different halves of the map told very different stories, from the rocky outcropping on the back side, to the crashed airplane in the valley below the cliff, the map often felt like different maps, depending on which side you chose to spend time at.
- Derail Derail is one of the less popular maps from this game, but one I think is a fun map nonetheless. It's open, it has a couple of big warehouses to fight over, and there's lots of long sight-lines and close-quarters areas. The town on one side plays very differently from the warehouse areas, and the no-mans land between the two, with the tree ridge and the bridge, was a death sentence against a sniper.
- Estate Each map has positions of power, areas people gravitate towards within the flow of the map. Some are more obvious than others, and Estate is the prime example. The house on Estate was where everyone gravitated. It offered tons of cover and windows to view the rest of the map, and it also had a ton of ways to enter. If you wanted to camp the house or rush it, or stay back and try to pick people off, there were many ways to do it.
- Favela Favela is my personal favorite map in the game. Close quarters down the middle, long sightlines on the sides and across the soccer field. Tons of verticality, lots of buildings to use to your advantage and fight over. Lots of fun.
- Highrise A unique and fun to play map. The long sight lines on the sides and down the middle, lots of cover to use to make up ground. The hidden way to climb to the roof of the one side and look down at everyone else. The underground pathway was a great equalizer.
- Invasion This map was one of my least favorites, but was still fun to play. It could be a shitshow at times, but there were tons of long sight-lines mixed with close quarters areas. I loved fighting over the palace on the back side.
- Karachi Everyone remembers the tall metal box on this one. Everyone liked to go up there, and there were tons of ways to get around. That area was a popular spot to fight over, along with the brown apartment building looking out over the restaurant.
- Quarry A very popular map for good reason. I loved it. The stone blocks offered a really cool scenery, as well as a fun place to jump around and get shot. Lots of warehouses to use, and tons of long sight-lines.
- Rundown Another personal favorite. I loved fighting over the town square, using the long building as cover. I liked how the creek split the map in half, and there was a lot of fighting over the bridges, but that the bridges weren't the only way to cross the map. They did serve as great decoy spots. Send a riot shielded teammate down a bridge, and sneak up the stairs behind the distracted enemies.
- Rust Rust is a very niche map, and serves an important role. The small, ADHD gamer's heaven. Like Shipment before it, matches on this map were chaotic and had no logical flow. Rust is more remembered for its private match prowess, which I will get into later.
- Scrapyard This one is in my top three of maps. I liked how small it was, which led to lots of action, but it had tons of sight-lines, too. I have fond memories of playing this map, helping my buddy get a Nuke with a Barrett, because we were both camping the catwalk of the warehouse with one, and had extremely similar gamertags. I kept getting killed because everyone thought I was him, and he would pick them off when they looked away.
- Skidrow A less popular map, because it was a bit convoluted. The main building down the middle was always chaotic with everyone fighting for it. But it was a lot of fun, and was unique.
- Sub Base I will always remember this map as the one I got my first nuke on. While not in the top half of maps in this game, and not one of my favorites, it had its moments. I liked the rooftop combat and the openness. Plus, who doesn't love a good snow map?
- Terminal A very popular map, Terminal had one of the most fun places to go in a map with the airplane. Everyone loved piloting that shit and picking people off as they ran down the hallway and through the bookstore. The roof across the tarmac was a popular spot to fight over, and the difference in gameplay between the tarmac area and the airport section helped mix up the matches.
- Underpass My personal least favorite map, it was still a fun map to play. The rain mixed with the darkness, mixed with lots of grass made this map kind of annoying to play. Hard to see people, and less obvious positions of power, I would still prefer to play this map over just about any in WWII.
- Wasteland Wasteland is a very polarizing map. A lot of people hate it because it's a snipers paradise or because a chopper gunner or AC-130 means a Nuke is coming not far behind them. But I think it serves a very valuable role within the game, much like Rust. The uniqueness of it offers a breath of fresh air, and allows you to play a different style of game from many of the other maps.
If you paid attention, you noticed the trends within the maps. All of the maps have the same defining features:
- Defined positions of power, with clear advantages and multiple ways to reach them, giving players something to fight for.
- Varied areas within the same map. If you could cut the maps into halves, or thirds, and the sections of the map played very differently from each other, then the map would have a ton more replayability to it. The mixing of long sight-lines and close-quarters areas are a big part of this. If its all CQ or too open, it could get boring much quicker.
- Verticality. Too much flat gameplay gets boring very quickly.
MW2 as a whole excels at using those features in the maps, which astronomically improves the replay value of the game. Each match had a much higher chance of playing differently each time, and there are tons of ways to counter people using certain spots too much.
Not only that, but the overall selection of maps succeeds as well, for a couple of reasons. The variety in both map appearance and map layout is much stronger than any other cod. A couple of snow maps, a dark, rainy map, some sandy maps, some wooded maps, some urban maps. A mix of small and large maps, close-range and open.
They also have a ton of niche maps that work great in a private match setting with player-created party modes. From 1v1 quickscoping on Rust with its small size, to Michael Myers on Favela with its tightly packed urban feel and tons of buildings to hide in, to Gazelles on Wasteland with the open, grassy fields, to James Bond on Estate with it's house and vast wilderness outside it.
There was a TON of variety in the maps of MW2, both as a whole and within individual maps. The maps were also well-made, with long sight-lines and close-quarters combat, and positions of power, mixed with verticality. There were tons of maps, 16 to be exact. Seven more than in WWII, and there were tons of good maps, with some really good niche maps as well.
Each map was fun to play, and got boring much less quickly than maps in current cod.
That is why I don't care what changes or additions Raven makes to MW2R. The game will be fun to play, and will keep me interested, because the maps alone are the greatest collection in a single CoD game, and it's exciting to get them back. TL;DR: MW2R will succeed on the strength of its maps alone, regardless of what changes are made, or not made.
List your Top 3 maps from every Modern Warfare game (DLC included), then choose 3 from your whole list to bring back in MW4.
COD4 -Backlot was just a great all around map -Showdown was a simplistic map, making it very playable -Bloc has some of my most memorable sniper battles in any FPS game -(Honorable Mentions) Vacant, Crash, Creek
MW2 (Best maps of the series) -Favela is a masterpiece nuf said -Highrise (also a masterpiece) -Rust, they packed so much variety into this little map -(HMs)Terminal, Skidrow, Scrapyard
MW3 -Seatown, my favorite COD map ever, super underrated! -Dome, not much to say about it... Amazing -Lookout, from the amazing faceoff playlist! That map gives me huge MW2 vibes -(HMs) Oasis, Gulch, Hardhat
Three that need to be in MW4 -Seatown -Favela -Highrise (Also bring back Rust)