A recent trend in the video game industry has been the inclusion of downloadable content, or DLC, to existing titles. People who already own the game can pay a small price in order to access a new feature of a game they might already have completed or grown tired of. These expansions can range from gameplay features — new multiplayer maps, campaigns or game modes — to something purely cosmetic, such as character or weapon skins. More and more games are offering “season passes,” allowing access to all major DLC for a reduced price.
This brings us to the first map pack available for Treyarch’s best-selling game Call of Duty: Black Ops II. Titled Revolution, the $15 map pack features four new multiplayer maps, a new Zombies level and game mode and, for the first time in Call of Duty history, a new multiplayer weapon.
The Zombies map, titled “Die Rise,” has the player holding off a zombie horde on top of a skyscraper. Various staircases and elevators around the map provide perks, upgrades and ways to get from level to level. Additionally, Treyarch has added some new weapons to provide even more variety to the experience. “Turned,” the new four-player Zombies game mode, has three people playing as zombies, tasked with killing the one human player to transform back into a human. The player who is the human receives points as long as he remains the human, and each kill by the human switches the current weapon.
“Die Rise” provides the most enjoyable and exhilarating zombie experiences so far on Black Ops II. The emphasis on verticality adds a whole new strategy to zombie killing, and it offers the most in terms of upgrades out of all the maps in the game.
But though “Turned” provides an entertaining diversion from the core Zombies experience, it ultimately gets repetitive as the human ends up sitting on the edge of the map waiting for the Zombies to rush him. The weapon swapping between kills can also lead to a lot of unnecessary deaths; bum-rushing, not teamwork, seems to be the best method of success for the zombies.
The four multiplayer maps featured in the DLC are “Downhill,” “Grind,” “Hydro” and “Mirage.” “Downhill” takes place in a French ski resort and features gondolas traveling around the map that kill any player they hit. “Grind” is set in a skate park in Venice Beach — complete with ramps, halfpipes and the most vibrant color palette of any map in the game. “Hydro,” meanwhile, takes place at a dam and allows players to activate the water flow, cutting off certain parts of the map and killing players in its path. “Mirage” takes place in the desert and features a central building surrounded by debris and various power positions.
The multiplayer maps provide a breath of fresh air to Black Ops II, featuring a lot more color than the original maps as well as the first snow and desert maps in the game. They’re really well-designed and help maintain the arcade-style, fast-paced gameplay Call of Duty is known for. They’re certainly not the maps a player would want to skip every time they pop up, though “Grind” is arguably the most entertaining of the four.
Finally, the map pack comes with the first downloadable gun ever in Call of Duty, the Peacekeeper. The weapon is an assault rifle/submachine gun hybrid, combining the mobility of submachine guns with the medium-range lethality of the assault rifles. Though it might sound over-powered, Treyarch did an excellent job balancing the gun for competitive play, making the gun feel powerful and fun to use without feeling cheap. Players without the DLC can still pick up and use the Peacekeeper, but will be unable to unlock camouflage and attachments for the Create-A-Class mode.
It’s likely that hardcore Call of Duty players who own an Xbox have already purchased the map pack. If one is on the fence about it, however, or plays on a PS3 or PC (PS3 and PC players will get the map pack on Feb. 28), one shouldn’t be. For $15, it is well worth purchasing the Revolution map pack, as it is arguably the best map pack released in a Call of Duty game to date and sets even higher expectations for future Call of Duty DLCs. The multiplayer and Zombie maps are better than most of the maps that came with the game, the “Turned” game mode provides an enjoyable diversion from killing waves of zombies and the Peacekeeper rifle is an excellent addition to the Black Ops II arsenal.