Please be advised Activision has burgled 22 dollars from me. I will use foul language in this post, so if you find four letter words offensive please read no further.
The Stimulus Package is the biggest heist in the history of videogaming. After having bought it with my own money, and played the maps on my own copy of Modern Warfare 2, I can report that Activision robbed me of $21.95. A lot of you would have quite rightly and obviously thought: $21.95 for five maps is a rip-off, you should have known better. You're right, but lets explore how this is the biggest swindle going around.
3 new maps, 2 old ones: Crash and Overgrown are easily the two best maps in this package and if you still own the original Modern Warfare, rest assured there is nothing to see here. There are no changes to either map and while for most that would be acceptable, for me it underlines the severe lack of value to be found in the Stimulus Package. Of the 3 new maps, Bailout is the clear stand-out with an expansive play area and a maze of interconnected hotel rooms. I am indifferent towards Storm. It is a derivative experience which I feel has been included in hundreds of other previous shooters (It's a fucking warehouse with shipping containers smattered about!). Salvage is the worst first-person shooter map I've ever played through. I've seen it referred to as claustrophobic (in a positive tone) but whether I was trapsing through extremely tight passages or being shot in the back (soooooooo many times) in small open areas, every match on Salvage was terribly frustrating. Salvage was a small map for four players, I can't imagine how painful it would be with a full lobby of 16 players online.
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$: The Stimulus Package is $21.95 on the Playstation Network and 1200MSP on the Xbox Live Marketplace. You can buy some truly fantastic games (full fucking games) for less. Want some examples? On the PSN you can grab Marvel VS Capcom 2, Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection, PixelJunk Monsters, Peggle (FTW), Final Fantasy VII or VIII, or an assortment of PSone classics for under $21.95 (in some cases a combination of games). On the Xbox Live Arcade: Perfect Dark, Trials HD, Puzzle Quest - Rise of the Plague Lord, Catlevania: Symphony of the Night, Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Halo, Doom and more for 1200 points or less. If you walk down to your local EB Games you can get Mass Effect pre-owned for $20! Hundreds of hours of quality RPG action for $1.95 less than the Stimulus Package. Gears of War is currently $13! A Game of The Year quality title for less than this shitty map pack. This is madness!!!
Setting a new price point: It is safe to assume that with 2.5 million sales on the XBLM (in the first week) and the PSN Store collapsing under the heavy weight of consumer demand, Activison will see 1200MSP and $21.95 as the new standard price for maps packs. This is, quite frankly unacceptable (read: fucked). The world's console owners have validated Activision's thievery and now we can expect inflation in the price of all downloadable content from the mega-publisher.
Infastructure: I haven't taken the stimulus package online yet , but one of our loyal reader's (thanks Sambo) has informed us that the new maps are only playable via the "Stimulus Playlist," which only adds to the calamity that is the Stimulus Package. This essentially means that players can't even decide how they use their 22 dollars worth of mediocre maps.
If you are sitting on the fence about this, and haven't yet been swindled, please abide by the following: DO NOT ALLOW ACTIVISION TO PLUNDER YOUR POINTS!!!! (or Playstation Store wallet, whatever you choose).
When have you felt financially cheated by a game (or expansion, DLC etc)?