CODBLOPS First Strike’s Last Strike

He be beastin', or something

While you lot have made absolutely no secret of your contempt for latter-day Call of Duty games, as I understand it they’re pretty big business on PC nonetheless. Despite others’ best, sneery comment-based efforts, people still buy them. So there will be a large and enthuastic audience for the news that DLC map pack First Strike has been given a PC release date, having already been available on 360 for some time. You may well not be that enthusiastic audience, but I’m going to tell you anyway – knowing what the biggest, most aloof publisher is up to in terms of PC gaming is always useful.

March 26 is the day that First Strike pops onto a Steam order page near you. That’ll be this Saturday, then. It’s $15/£11.50, which is a frankly absurd asking price for five new multiplayer maps. A captive audience is a publisher’s perfect dream, I suppose. If it is your sort of thing and you don’t sensibly balk at the horror-price, you can pre-order now for a 10% saving. I rather imagine it’ll sell frighteningly well despite the price, and despite the performance complaints levelled at CODBLOPS multiplayer on release.

The late release date isn’t a matter of Activision considering the PC an afterthought (they may not always treat it well, but they’re well aware that it can mean enormo-revenues), but of a Microsoft-enforced delay. First Strike was originally bound up in an Xbox 360 exclusive, so the PS3 has been similarly made to wait.

Four new standard multiplayer maps and one new zombie map: these are the contents. Here’s what they look like (on console, at least).

You’d have thought they’d have found a way to make player run animations not look like puppets with their legs sewn on back to front by now, wouldn’t you? The jet-powered death-platform in the zombie map looks like a good time, though.

Oh, ‘Meh’ Squadron? Look, I understand you don’t care, but if you could for once resist the urge to tell everyone else just how hard you don’t care, that would be super.


  1. Bret says:

    That, well, that’s rather a lot of pounds, isn’t it?

    I mean, I have no room to talk, bought all the Mass Effect DLC, but cor. Lot of money.

  2. Xirex says:

    To be honest, it does look like good fun…

    …now, if only it didn’t cost $75 on Steam, maybe I would play it.

  3. Phoshi says:

    One thing that always impresses me is how *not* good it looks. I mean, I realise I’m a horrible graphics whorey person for doing it, but like, people *praise* this! The explosions clip, even, I thought we got past that years ago. The textures are icky and the lighting is almost nonexistent.

    Also, $15 for 5 new maps? Again? That people buy that in large enough amounts to justify doing it again depresses me.

    • Jimmeh says:

      Exactly my thoughts when I played it, and this video looks even worse. I expected to be excited by the visual elements at the very least, but in reality they look like reused assets from COD4 on a very tired engine.

      This video really highlights the lack of graphical fidelity, which appears to be one of the primary selling points.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      When I first saw the trailer for this somewhere else, I thought it was for a cheap knock-off game.

  4. Njordsk says:

    I admit I played it. And I almost immediatly regretted my 35€. My previous one was COD4, which was amazing.

    I sank something like 50H in the MP. At first it’s alright. Then you realise how bland it is, how small the maps are, and how boring it gets to play it.

    Never again. Time to change the recipe activision, it’s old OLD OOOOLD !

  5. EthZee says:


    Cheap clone Activision suck Damn Kotick Franchise sucks Action Movie On Rails Shooting Gallery Originals were Better Console Port No Servers NO LEAN did I leave anything out?!

    If I didn’t, then all that is out of the way. This piece of news can be discussed, rather than twenty or so comment threads attacking and defending the game.

  6. AiglosCelt says:

    “Oh, ‘Meh’ Squadron? Look, I understand you don’t care, but if you could for once resist the urge to tell everyone else just how hard you don’t care, that would be super.”

    I never realized the “Opinion, Away!” button on the comment threads was meant to literally tell me to take my opinions elsewhere.

    • Daave says:

      I’m sure the writers read most of the comments, I suppose they don’t want to read another “UT rocks, Q3 sucks” set of comments.

    • Nick says:

      I care slightly more than I don’t care, which makes it a net gain of 0.003% care.

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      Yeah guys. Come on. We all hate it, and every article that has come up about it we say exactly that.

      Maybe we need to move on. Just maybe?

      . . .

      Soo . . . how about that Rebecca Black song, ‘Friday’, hmm?

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Saying ‘I don’t care’ isn’t the same as saying I care and I particularly do/don’t like it (for X and Y reasons).

  7. Mac says:

    I’ll pass – having read peoples comments regarding the console release of the maps, they sound meh …

    I’ll stick to my stance that COD:BLOPS was the last COD I will buy …

    I could just aswell play COD 4 and be playing the same game – just without all the hitching there was at release.

  8. Orija says:

    I am proud of the fact that CoD4 was the last CoD I GoT.

    • runbmp says:

      Likewise. I never really caught on to anything else after BF2 and COD4. Tried BFBC2 but it still didn’t feel right. I always felt like I had to plug in my xbox controller to play BFBC2 correctly.

      Then Homefront showed up, and its the first time in a long while i’ve has so much fun in a FPS multiplayer with really tight controls.

  9. Daave says:

    BC2 Vietnam had a similar number of maps for a similar price, but there was a whole lot more content besides.

    I think this recent craze of DLC might actually reduce people’s tendency to pirate (single player games at least) as a lot of people are quite compulsive about not missing out on any content and the easiest way is to just buy the darn thing.

    • HermitUK says:

      You’re assuming that DLC for single player games (such as Dragon Age) cannot be pirated just as easily as the game itself.

      If anything, multiplayer DLC is the real money spinner. Especially if you use the Halo model and actually start locking people out of game modes they used to be able access when DLC maps are added. If your friends buy in, you must also, or risk not being able to play online with them.

    • Daave says:

      It’s just as easy, but takes longer to do. And it quite often is hard to find a crack for a game with the most recent updates. All I’m saying is DLC will make more people buy the game, as it is easier to get a “complete” game, which many people want. When bad DRM makes it easier to pirate the game than buy it, I think piracy will be greater.

  10. Scorch says:

    I’d just like to point out that this map pack costs more than half what I paid for the entire game ($25), and I wouldn’t have even bought the game if I didn’t get it at that price.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot: meh.

  11. Hoaxfish says:

    Those shots of blowing up Europe (post-war Berlin given the West German flag and Berlin Wall) reminds me of Team America… which kinda meshes well with the playerbase, huuraH!

  12. Alexander Norris says:

    It’s a shame Treyarch/Activision are marring blops with DLC mappacks, because it’s actually about as good as CoD4. Treyarch still haven’t fixed the few glaring balance issues in the game, either. Damn shame. :(

  13. bigtoeohno says:

    Admission; I am addicted to zombies.. Don’t touch MP. People say what they want about blops but zombies is a genuinely good formula. Endless waves of the undead, ever increasing difficulty, co-op that actually requires teamwork it works for me. But yea I’ll be coughing up for the maps or the 1 new zombie map rather. Gotta scratch the itch.

  14. rawgr says:

    To this day it is still so bug ridden its just not worth trying to play it competitively. I seem to have a 40% chance of going on a server only to get super warp lags every minute or so where I have to stare at the ‘connection problem’ icon for 15 seconds or something.
    You* ppls’ constant yelling for “dedi servers or naziism!!!” further destroyed my hope for a vanilla experiement of the game. I have to bear with shite servers where 17 year olds tell me to not use this and that weapon, not to sit down for a sec, not to run around with a knife for a sec, even not to effin jump on HC servers. Also not to use my perks, not to plan’t claymores, not to tube, and generally to play CS with a different engine and happier weapon spray. I want MW2 matchmaking back. DLC for MW2 may have looked 500 levels of ‘too expensive’, but if you enjoyed the game, that were the best 13 euros of your life……
    From that perspective, if only blops would have worked -technically- as it was supposed to, I would have now bought the DLC. Zombies was also fun.

    *the vast majority I mean…

  15. HermitUK says:

    £11 was too much for the MW2 maps, and it’s too much for this offering as well. Which hasn’t stopped it reaching no.2 in Steam’s top sellers list.

    I am intrigued to see how the DLC is handled with Dedicated Servers. Will players who don’t buy it be unable to join servers that have DLC maps in rotation? Will servers kick players when a DLC map pops up? Or will there be entirely seperate server browser for those with/without it?

    It’ll be interesting to see if they can avoid splitting the player base while still making sure the new maps actually get played, If only because other games are probably going to follow this sort of DLC model – I expect there will be a Crysis 2 map pack at some point.

    • abhishek says:

      A server browser filter will let you filter out search results running DLC content that you don’t own. Meaning it will only show you servers that are not running DLC maps in their rotation. Non DLC owners can also join any server to play regular maps, but if a DLC map comes up in the rotation they will be kicked.

    • Cross says:

      As if they give a flying tosspot about splitting the “community”.

  16. kilometrico says:

    “The late release date isn’t a matter of Activision considering the PC an afterthought (they may not always treat it well, but they’re well aware that it can mean enormo-revenues), but of a Microsoft-enforced delay. First Strike was originally bound up in an Xbox 360 exclusive, so the PS3 has been similarly made to wait.”

    It’s been out on PS3 for a few weeks now, i’d say the release date is timed to coincide with Crysis 2.

    • Film11 says:

      Indeed, the DLC was released on the 360 near the start of February, then it came out on the PS3 on the 3rd of March, and now finally it has appeared on PC along with the fixes that the consoles have had for literally months. So yes, we really are an afterthought.

  17. georgemoshington says:

    i sense that the not-so-passive aggression contained within this piece is a response to the round trouncing that alec’s attempt at persuasive condescension received yesterday.

    someone have a word with the boy before he turns up with a pack of matches.


  18. Carra says:

    Long live the Team Fortress 2 business model.

    • Navagon says:

      Yes. More microtransaction monetized virtual hat shops need a tacked on FPS component.

  19. Navagon says:

    Surely 5 free maps is the least they could do as a way of saying sorry for how horrible it was on release? But that would suggest there’s some humanity and humility on display at Activision and I make no such claims.

  20. Huw_Dawson says:

    Meh? This is a more interesting situation than meh.

    This is what happens when people play FPS games that deliberately knock out important features like map making software. This is also why modding is important. Independent of whether the game is any good, this is what happens when restrictive business models – closed architecture, modding ability stripped out and the ban enforced by crack lawyer teams.

    The reason why this is important is that it’s a continuing proof of concept that profit from charging for map packs > profit from a map editor. And that’s an exceptionally bad thing for PC FPS gaming.

  21. President Weasel says:

    I am trying hard not to say “meh”. Can I instead say I regret buying CODBLOPS, haven’t played it since a week after release when they, brilliantly, released a patch that was meant to fix multiplayer but instead made it worse, have since uninstalled it, have no intention of ever installing it again, and will certainly not be paying any money for DLC? That’s more of a “Grr” than a “Meh”.

  22. syntax says:

    I’ve never understood why games are usually shown off on consoles. I understand that PC is not the main market for these games, but why not show off a better looking and more cleanly controlled gameplay video?

    • poop says:

      easier to do nice clean camera pans with a controller, I guess

    • Scorch says:

      So use a controller on the pc? :P

    • Ringwraith says:

      It’s also easier to use a console to demonstrate games, particularly at conferences and their ilk, as you simply plug it in and it works.
      Much fewer cables and general faffing.

    • Ogs says:

      Has been known that many do show off the PC version using a 360 pad (Crysis 2, Rage etc)

    • vodkarn says:

      As mentioned, games shown played on gamepads are almost universally done with the PC build (they’re more stable, easier to set up, and easier to run specific things on.)

      At least on the games I’ve worked on.

    • Nick says:

      not to mention look prettier. But yeah, they use controllers because you can stand up and don’t need a desk.

  23. Ogs says:

    Spend £11.49 on 5 multiplayer maps, or double and get an entire single player campaign and multiplayer in Crysis 2…. hmmm.

    Also, why the hell anyone would even consider buying this when the game to this day still stutters and runs like a crippled hooker i dont know.

  24. Captain Hijinx says:


    Or to put it mildly, i shall not be purchasing this little pack of maps, as i can better spend my money elsewhere on more deserving titles.

  25. vodkarn says:

    Wow, yeah I am part of Meh Squardron, but still, that IS an ugly looking game. I was under the impression the game had good visuals, but those… christ.

    Also, 15 dollars? Wow. $75 dollars for a game played half as much as CS 1.6? Odd, truly odd.

  26. godkingemperor says:

    I was excited when I heard one map was set in the Kowloon Walled City, but apparently thats not the case. $15 map packs. Wow. Still, the target market for this game, generally only buy this and WoW, so the weight on their pocket is less.

  27. Teddy Leach says:

    [Insert contemptuous comment here.]

  28. jwfiore says:

    Been playing CoDBLOPS since it came out, and to this day have not touched the single player campaign. I still don’t think I’ll be buying this, since not providing mod tools (and therefore not allowing community maps) and then charging a lot of money for what amounts to a couple new maps is kind of a slap in the face to the fans.

    The biggest complaint I have is that so many things are broken about the maps they have now (spawn issues, railings that act like walls, impenetrable wooden barrels, etc.) they they haven’t fixed since release, and yet they’re making new maps that surely will have the same problems. :|

  29. Jimbo says:


    The price is reasonable enough if you know you’re going to spend hundreds of hours playing on those maps, as many people do. It’s worth whatever the market says it’s worth.

  30. iQue says:

    Just me that never really liked CoD4? I actually prefer Blops over it. *awaits flames*

    Nothing ever beats CoD:UO though… those were the days :)

  31. Grey_Ghost says:

    Expensive DLC for an expensive game. I’ve been wanting to see what all the hoopla is about, but no way am I spending 60 freaking dollars on that game.