Forever a controversial subject, Call of Duty DLC has been consistently criticised for it’s pricing and general ‘cut and paste’ level design from game to game. With a bonus weapon included in this first of four batches, Treyarch and Activision hope to break the mould; finally remove all doubt regarding it’s products.
Play Online Much?
Four new-fangled multiplayer maps, an SMG for use in multiplayer, an original zombie mode and a completely fresh zombie map are all incorporated into this first drop. The amount of content alone is vastly superior to the previous game’s offerings. All four maps are unique in design, appearance and tactics, not only from each other, but from the core maps that come as standard.
The Peacekeeper is the new gun, a hybrid with the range and accuracy of an assault rifle, yet the manoeuvrability of an SMG, incredibly useful in all scenarios, yet lets itself down at either of the extreme ranges. For example a PDW will beat it close up and a FAL will probably win at extreme range, yet for everything in that hazy middle ground, it can more than hold it’s own.
Hydro takes place at, surprise, a hydroelectric dam! A relatively symmetrical map, it’s close encounters and few long lines of sight are perfect for fast paced, close engagement matches. On each side/spawn point, there is an upper walkway with enough of a vantage point to try to keep people out of your team’s spawn! The main gimmick here being that every so often, a torrent of water rushes the lower level, instantly killing anyone foolish enough to ignore the warning signs! A decent map in of itself, but spawn rushing seems to happen often on the smaller maps; this is no exception!
Downhill is the resident ‘snowy’ map, featuring part of a ski resort, it includes long sight lines, perfect for campy snipers and those target finder LMG’s…Some flanking routes and a small inner section let’s those SMG’s open up on unwary foes. Another terrain hazard on this map, this one’s a lot more sarcastic however! Beware the unintimidating, leisurely paced cable cars, speeding along at a dizzying 1 mph, these can, and will flatten even the most perceptive of players!
Mirage is set in the desert; as such is a nice change of scenery. An interestingly laid out map, the domination points are set out in an equilateral triangle, leading to some excellent back and fourth’s between teams. A good mixture of line of sights and close range battles with plenty of cover in-between makes for some furious fire fights; choosing the corresponding loadout for your style of play is of obvious importance here!
Grind is by far the most visually arresting of the bunch, offering colour like you’ve never seen before in CoD! A stark contrast and a refreshing change gives it a much more ‘arcadey’ feel. With an incredibly busy centre portion; head glitches on the outsides, this can be a very dangerous map. Flanks are exposed and there are multiple entries to the main building, creating a false sense of power when overlooking an area.
They Just Keep Coming!
The new zombies map, perhaps aptly named ‘Die Rise’ brings a whole new threat to the zombie uprising. Long death defying leaps between floors of a towering building are the least of your concern here. Elevator shafts transport you and perk machines across several floors of the building, disorientating rooms that defy the laws of the universe as you know them, all combine to make your first attempt destined to fail!
New weapons, hilarious traps and of course the ever continuing storyline secrets are all present. Zombie fans will probably get their moneys worth out of this alone, for everyone else, it’s still an excellent way to spend an afternoon or five!
Along with the new map, a new zombie mode enters the fray, called Turned. Playing a little like ‘gun game’ in reverse, you either start off as a zombie or a human. As the human, your inevitable goal is survive as long as possible. As the zombie, kill the human!
For What It’s Worth
Of course pricing is always subjective, if you play Black Ops 2 a lot, around £12 is very reasonable for the amount of content here. Maps can be played in their own dedicated playlist, but they are also added to the roster in other game types helping mix it up a little. It’s probably the best value DLC Call of Duty have ever released. Add to that, the maps are not only comparable to the standard ones, but are in some cases, just plain better. If you’ve ever been on the fence regarding buying a map pack, there is no better place to start than here, viva la revolution!
Reviewed on the PS3, also available on Xbox 360 and PC.