Nuketown and beyond: Xbox 360's toughest multiplayer maps

Where to pick a fight if you adore utter bedlam

Besides a stern lesson in what happens when publishers renege on their preorder promises, outcry over the removal of Nuketown 2025 from certain Black Ops 2 playlists is proof, to my mind, that nobody's above the appeal of a good old-fashioned meat-grinder.

Oh, we all say that we like our multiplayer maps to be evenly balanced, with places for newbies to hide, no direct lines of sight on spawning zones, few chokepoints and so forth. But every so often, you just want to get your hands dirty, and few multiplayer environments are more suited to the purpose than those I've listed below...

Battlefield 3, Operation Metro
If there was one map DICE shouldn't have used to debut a playable version of Battlefield 3, it was this one. In what felt rather like a slap to purist faces, there are no vehicles and few significant instances of destructible furniture. What you get instead is murderous underground war for possession of two MCOM stations, one in the ticket hall and one slap bang in the centre of a platform. It's hard work reaching the latter, thanks to brutally drawn-out sightlines along the train tracks, but wresting control the former is absolute pandemonium on toast. The hall is cramped and packed with vantage points, access routes are limited to an easily camped side stairwell and escalator, and should you manage to penetrate through to the outside world, the first and last thing you'll see is generally the wink of a sniper scope.


Left 4 Dead 2, Coldstream Campaign
The first fan-made Left 4 Dead 2 campaign on Xbox 360 might also be the messiest, thanks to an over-reliance on Gauntlet sequences. The trees have eyes, players, and also teeth and claws and fists. Clambering down from the wrecked flyover is a gruelling business, especially if your answer to claustrophobia is throwing Molotov cocktails. You won't have much fun navigating the sewers, either. But it's not till the final chapter that the madness really commences. A trip down a watercourse provides plenty of opportunity for well-timed Smokers to grapple Survivors where they can't be rescued, and there's a Tank at the bottom to pummel the remains of your sanity to pieces.


Assassin's Creed 3, Animus Core
If there's one thing you need in Assassin's Creed multiplayer, it's time. Time not just to work out who and where your target is, but how to approach them without either drawing their ire or signalling your presence to the hunter on your tail. But there's no time in simple deathmatch on Animus Core, where a shortage of space and a superfluity of NPCs renders your HUD detection tools useless. It's all about walking in small, determined circles, eyes peeled for the sight of somebody e.g. walking in small, determined circles. It's so harrowing I can't even bring myself to find a picture of the place.

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