So I don’t think I really got into the China Rising pack but here I have some observations on Second Strike

Second Strike was released on Tuesday for Premium members on PC – this was the “XBOX Exclusive” level that was released first instead of China Rising. It contains 4 levels from previous versions and they’re ridiculously detailed.

Operation Firestorm
Operation Metro
Gulf of Oman
Caspian Border

There is something to be said for adding a few bushes and rocks to otherwise familiar levels. In Operation Firestorm it turns the sandy expanse of open killing ground into a much more playable section. There is more ground cover, higher walls – vehicle placement changes, extra alcoves (G has a stairway underneath the building) and the addition of the new gunships. Operation Metro has some tweaks to the subway cars, and most importantly an elevator at C throwing a third method of attack into the otherwise stalemate-heavy level. I don’t believe I got to see Gulf of Oman the other night, but I’ll update once I do. Caspian Border has to be my favorite version. I was a big fan of the original because it was often played as part of the “air maps” selection. There was a big air dependency, especially with the attack choppers, with the planes keeping the choppers in check. It is much easier to destroy as a jet because the area is much smaller, noticeably smaller but at the cost of maneuverability – so on one side you have more direct dog fighting, you also have less room to properly approach. The walls are no longer chain link – they’re stone and tough. There is a massive checkpoint gate – no foolin around, this time it’s a major bottleneck and it prevents unlimited shelling from the hill. There’s stairs up the tower now, though it falls like a stick in a toilet – the animation is rather simple and doesn’t even do the previous version justice. However all the areas inbetween are thick with bush and cover. This is a much more lush environment, much more difficult to see through, preventing inevitable sniping from the highest points – the towers. There’s also a bunker under the tower on the hill, similar to the one in Operation Firestorm.

All in all I enjoy playing on the maps I know, with their obvious weaknesses addressed.

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