January 29th marked the release of the first DLC pack for Call of Duty Black Ops 2. Priced at 1200 points, or included as part of the annual Elite subscription, the pack contains 4 new multiplayer maps, 1 new single player map,a new game type for Zombies and finally a brand new weapon.
Is the new content worth the extra money? Read on and I’ll give you a run through what’s included.
Hydro is set in a dam in Pakistan and, as the name suggests, brings water firmly to the forefront. Straight through the centre of the map runs a tunnel which periodically floods. Anyone caught within the tunnel or the outlet is killed by the sudden gush of water. Thankfully plenty of warning is given but it is quite normal to see one or two deaths per game caused by people caught in the deluge.
Aside from the ‘tunnel of death’ it’s a standard Call Of Duty Team Deathmatch style map; lots of tight corners in some areas with a distinctly separate long straight path with minimal cover and two bridges either side for those who prefer distance weapons.
Mirage is set in a hotel in the Gobi Desert. It seems to have been long abandoned and the passage of time hasn’t been kind, sandstorms have torn through the building and left it in a dilapidated state. The residents seem to have left in a hurry too, luggage is strewn throughout the inside of the hotel and crashed vehicles block one of the paths outside.
The sand dunes piled up against the side of the buildings add a new element to the gameplay in that you can, for example, sneak up behind a sniper rather than have to clumsily clamber through a window or run up the stairs.
Apart from the dunes though there’s not a lot special about this map. It’s pretty much standard fare and I can’t help but feel there’s a missed opportunity with the sand. I’d have liked to seen a sandstorm occasionally blast through the map, temporarily obscuring vision outside.
Grind can be regarded as Treyarch trying to mix up the standard locales used for maps in shooters. Instead of a generic desert or gritty industrial type setting we instead have a bright and colourful Venice Beach skate park.
This setting was apparently used because the curves associated with skate parks mean that the way players have traditionally approached corners would have to change. Maybe it does affect the top competitive players but in truth the difference is negligible. The majority of Call of Duty games are a race to see who gets the bullets off first and a slight change to your line of vision doesn’t have too much of an impact.
This criticism though doesn’t detract for the fact that Grind is a fun map. It’s fast paced and plays out well in Team Deathmatch games as there is a good mix of close quarters and distance based kill zones with numerous bottleneck points. There’s also a small indoors area which seems to be a magnet for trouble, with 3 possible entrance points and a raised vantage point, which lead to some frantic moments.
Downhill is set in a ski resort the Alpines and marks the return of snow based maps to Call of Duty. The majority is set outside; however there are some inside environments with a lodge, ski shop and centre building also being present.
The twist on this map is two cable cars running across the map. While these can offer you some handy moving protection, coming into contact with them results in insta-death, so be warned!
Due to the map layout there’s a lot of long lines of sight, making it handy for snipers, but the fallen trees and rock formations offer cover for those who prefer an all-out assault.
Die Rise is the new Zombies map. I’ll hold my hands up and say I’ve never really ‘got’ the Zombies mode, it’s always felt a little tacked on to me. Similarly I’ve always been a little confused by the excitement behind it and when I see people of my Friend’s List playing Zombies mode there’s always a sense of bemusement. I can safely say that Die Rise has changed my opinion on that, and I’d go as far as saying it’s the most impressive part of this DLC package.
The setting for this map is a crumbling skyscraper during an apocalyptic event, reinforced by the meteor shower taking place overhead. Its set across two skyscrapers and introduces an element of verticality as opposed to the usual horizontal map layouts and you’ll need to get from floor to floor using lift shafts and makeshift ramps formed from fallen support beams. To get from one skyscraper to the next takes a daring leap off the side with the gaps just big enough for you to successfully land.
Aside from the standard death-by-zombie Die Rise is a veritable death trap. While backtracking from a horde descending upon you it’s easy to backtrack and fall down an empty elevator shaft or just drop off the side altogether.
There are some lovely visual tricks throughout the map too. Treyarch said they wanted to disconcert the player and they’ve certainly achieved that. Some rooms are entirely upside down and, my personal favourite, there’s a large function room designed in the style of M.C. Escher, complete with upside down staircases.
It was clear from the promotional videos that Treyarch were very proud of Die Rise and it’s easy to see that they’ve put a lot of care and attention into this map.
Turned is the first new game mode introduced into Zombies and brings something that has been long requested; the ability to play as a Zombie. It’s effectively a game of tag, but with zombies and guns. One player is the human character and the other 3 are zombies, tasked with killing him. The zombie player who kills the human is then turned into a human and so on.
Sadly this mode didn’t turn out quite as fun as I’d hoped. Disappointingly it’s only possible to play on the small Diner map. While a large one, such as the new Die Rise, would prove to be too large for Turned, Diner is far too cramped. The zombies also move at an incredible speed making it very difficult for the human player to target them. By far the most disappointing aspect is that the person who’s a human at the end of the timed round receives such a huge bonus that they’re almost guaranteed to win the game overall!
Turned has the foundations of a decent game mode but needs changes. It won’t be one that you go back to time and time again, but with a few necessary tweaks it could become a fun mode to play with your friends when tired of the normal modes.
The Peacekeeper is the first time in the Call of Duty franchise that a weapon has been included as part of a DLC pack. Billed as a cross between an SMG and an assault rifle, the new weapon had some people worried before release as players were concerned it could be a game breaker. I can safely say it isn’t. While the gun does add the ability to engage enemies at a further distance than a standard SMG would it’s at the expense of general power. A run and gun style player will enjoy the Peacemaker, but those who prefer mid to long range combat will be content to stay with their current weapons of choice.
Revolution landed at the right time for Black Ops 2. The map rotation had just started to feel a little dull and needed an injection of some new content and thankfully the extra 4 multiplayer maps will certainly freshen that up. Add in the new weapon, plus the superb Die Rise, and I think its money well spent.
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Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a download code for the Call of Duty Black Ops 2 Revolution DLC for review purposes by the promoter. The DLC was reviewed over the course of two weeks on a Xbox 360. For more information, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.