As an old school Modern Warfare loving gamer who has abandoned the series to its fates, one of the most frequent questions I receive includes the following:” Well, what about CoD do you hate so much?”. Usually this question comes from kids who have never played with me, or ever had the pleasure of listening to one of my tirades about weapon physics and how you can’t just ‘make things up’. I did a YT series back in 2009-2010 where I went to the firing range and fired weapons that were in the game to see how close they compared to the real things in-game. In the CoD world, it was much easier to make up a gun and then slap a real name on it than it was to do proper research. The same came when it was time to make maps. From Wall Street to Chernobyl, Call of Duty designers have made a bad habit out of regurgitating old maps with a new skin and spoon-feeding them to the masses faster than a new iPhone.
Now, for some strange reason Call of Duty and the XXX Warfare series multiplayer lobbies love to cycle the same four or five maps. Within these games are five of the worst maps to hit any first person shooter.
#5: Downturn –Modern Warfare 3
This map really had too much going on. Between its segmented bank, underground tunnels, and buildings with zero chokepoint ability, this map was always a frustration. Add the fact that bomb sites for Search and Destroy and the middle flag of Domination were always within a spawn grenade throw away and players could feel the frustration ten seconds in. the layout made most conventional high level kill streaks worthless, and that led to the spawning of a team with 5 sentry guns on the field. The map contained key choke points for Search and Destroy that a single sentry gun could cover, allowing your entire team to focus on the other bomb site. Attackers were at a huge disadvantage on this map
The only saving grace to this map is kill confirmed, a game mode which thrives on solo players running around slaying, which is all this map is really good for.
#4. Carrier – Black Ops 2
Carrier was a map that I thought would bring an almost battlefield level of play to the CoD series. I was wrong. What it did give me was a thousand places for campers to hide, some horrendous head glitch corners (talking to you helipad), and flag points that were terribly unbalanced, especially when paired with the horrendous spawn points. If your team was annihilated within the first two minutes, it was over. Spawn trapping was far too easy to manage in this map and that led to a lot of rage quitters early on. Don’t ask about the attempt to make a tiered level out of a ship. Halo did that (boarding action, Halo: Combat Evolved) and never did it again. Leave the naval warfare to Battlefield.
#3. Stonehaven – Call of Duty: Ghosts
Stonehaven would have been an absolutely awesome map for Ground War: Call of Duty, and that’s about it. Being dropped into it with anything less than 12 players made this map a tedious bore that couldn’t keep me interested. While the map itself is beautiful, there was far too much going on. Designers should have split the map into two pieces, a castle map and the village map, rendered them together but zoned them off separately. This map would be phenomenal if it had been set in World at War where players could fight over a tank. Other than that, there is literally 0 saving grace to this map due solely to its excessive size that forces everyone to run a sniper rifle with an IR scope.
The only saving grace to this map is zombies, where every player goes straight to the castle. It can lead to an almost enjoyable onslaught of 15 players coming through a single hallway into gunfire. THAT is something I recommend.
#2. Strikezone – Call of Duty: Ghosts
The second worst map from Ghosts to make my list is also one of my favorites. Just kidding, I really do hate everything about this remake of MW3’s Dome map. Strikezone has an obtuse shape with sub compartments that make map management difficult. Add to that a triangle of three flags in a triangle shape with no real expectations for spawn relocations and you have a giant clusterbomb of chaos. There is nothing worse than spawn trapping a team and then they all respawn behind you at your A flag. It’s lack of predictable spawns and close range combat forces everyone to run sentry guns and SMG’s, especially for anything with “kill” or “confirmed” in the name.
#1. Wasteland – Modern Warfare 2
There is a lot to say about this map, as it takes my number one spot for Worst Call of Duty map ever created. Now, despite Wasteland being hailed as one of the most enjoyable maps created for this game there are several particular issues I have with every zone on this map. Besides being based in an open Chernobyl field, it offers minimal cover and has a single underground area with few hold points and open sights for grenade launchers.
It was an absolute field day for these underground grenade launchers, head glitching snipers that are hiding behind out houses, and way overpowered kill streaks from which there is no cover (except underground with the grenade launchers). Snipers absolutely thrived here because of the lack of cover, and if you were able to get to a predator missile, the chopper gunner and tactical nuke weren’t that far behind. I can attest to that as I abused that kill chain far too often, especially on ground war domination.
Want to know what made this map even better? The all mighty javelin glitch. What did this glitch do? It rained down the heavens on anyone that was stuck outside. I remember crashing many lobbies with this glitch. The open field made joining lobbies with this glitch active a nightmare that was easier to dashboard from than try to leave.
There are a lot more Call of Duty maps than just these 5 that I have taken issues with. Nuketown and Asylum, and Aftermath are strong runners-up for this list and may see some dedicated review time later. What are your thoughts on the evolution of Call of Duty’s maps, and what were your least favorite?
Jesse “Antifreke” Mayer