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The Great Debate: Nuketown

Submitted by on Monday, 22 November 20109 Comments

Nuketown – Call of Duty: Black Ops’ small multiplayer map, based on a suburban nuclear testing area – has divided opinion across the net and on PS3 Attitude. There’s no doubt that it has a flawed spawn system, which will see you repeatedly die (through no fault of your own), but that hasn’t stopped gamers from voting for it again and again.

It is by far the most popular map on Black Ops – but is popularity an accurate measure of quality? After all, just look at some of the nonsense that tops the film and music charts.

PS3 Attitude brings you three different opinions: Echo loves it, Danny_D loathes it and I’m (Seanoc) on the fence – it sure does hurt sitting on this picket fence. Read on to find out the reasons why we think the way we do about Nuketown…

Echo307 – A long-time Call of Duty fan who loves duking it out on Nuketown

I like the map, overall. I love its long almost ‘corridor’ feel, even though it’s almost as wide as it is long. I especially love it when two teams take up shop on each side of the map and just duke it out without changing sides. It’s like: “You stay on your side; I’ll stay on mine, and we’ll just trade punches.” That never lasts for too long, but it’s a lot of fun when it does.

I also enjoy the vehicles in the center of the map. I got a double-kill first blood once by floating a grenade out to the center at the beginning of the game. Plus, the placement of the two houses and the vehicles make for a lot of small cracks and crevices which enemies can pop out of. It really keeps you on your toes when trying to cross from one side to the other.

What I hate about is obviously the spawning system: I’ve literally watched enemies spawn on many occasions. I’m not sure there is a 100% fix for this because the map is so tiny, but they can certainly improve it. Other than that, it’s top fun.

You can take the fight indoors

Danny_D – A Call of Duty fan but not a fan of Nuketown

As much as I enjoyed spending most of my gaming time in Modern Warfare 2 about a month ago, and even more before that, I just don’t have many nice things to say about Nuketown; the honeymoon is officially over.

The map effectively shows the worst side of Black Ops’ online offering. Because of the pace that the map dictates – it is (very) quick, (extremely) dirty and (downright) filthy – most of the time textures won’t load until you stare at them. Not that you have time to stare at anything except a killcam replay, which is never fun. It all dials up to 11 in a very bad way: spawn trapping, grenade whoring (Scavenger anyone?) and the extreme randomness of it all.

I can see the appeal of such a frenetic pace in Team Deathmatch (up to a point), but Free For All is damn near unplayable unless you get lucky and spawn behind everyone. All the time. And Wager Matches? Forget about it. Do you feel like racking up a 20+ killstreak just be reset to zero by a camper’s Tomahawk in a house during Sticks and Stones? How about a guaranteed death via exploding crossbow bolt if you are inside either house? (green is easiest to die in BTW). And forget about enemies with Grim Reapers in Gun Game D.E.D.: dead will be in your forecast. I don’t see this map being fun for most players on MOST game modes.000000;"> 000000;"> Sure, it may be the easiest map to get all the kills/killstreaks/contracts you want, provided you know what you are doing, but it almost seems too easy sometimes.

It is the number one map everyone wants to play online and the reason why you cannot play the same map three times in a row anymore (thanks a lot patch 1.03) – no more KDR (kill-death ratio) boosting for you veteran CoD players, feeding on the massive influx of CoD noobs. Treyarch’s answer to the ‘Nuketown Meltdown’ is not what was needed in my honest opinion. We’re still getting the same problems, just not as often. It’s like having a broken left arm when you’re right handed:  you can still work the mouse at work or write stuff down at school.

Hang around here and an enemy will likely spawn next to you

Seanoc – Can’t decide whether he finds the chaos exciting or tiresome

There’s a reason why gamers would vote to play on Nuketown five or more games in-a-row: you can do a lot of killing on this map, and killing is what players want to do. You always feel involved because of its small size, and this leads to some very chaotic games and some good old fashioned fun. As Echo said, it does have that corridor feel to it – when you’re moving from room to room, down the side of the buildings, or in between the vehicles – and this makes it a perfect map for a run-and-gun type, like myself. Nuketown is the best map for some of the Wager Matches, especially Gun Game. Gamers fly through the weapons quickly until they reach the sniper rifles, and at this point the lower skilled players get a chance to catch up because their assault rifles always have the advantage. It creates an interesting and fun dynamic.

So, Nuketown does a lot right, but it also has some big problems. The spawn system is a nightmare. There is nothing fun about having someone spawn next to you and kill you before you even have the chance to blink, and it’s not fun either watching a poor sod spawn in front of you, forcing you to kill him or be killed. You do it out of necessity, but you still feel dirty.

Ultimately, my main problem with Nuketown is that it feels old; not because I played it seven times in-a-row the other day, but because it has a design that reminds me of multiplayer maps from five years ago, or more. The small, symmetrical design has been done so many times in the past, and I expected something a bit more dynamic and interesting from Black Ops. However, the world clearly cannot resist having a good old stramash, so who am I to argue otherwise? Especially as I’m voting for it as well.