It’s that time of the year again, and you’re going to have to decide whether or not you’re going to commit to buying the new Call of Duty DLC. Revolution has been released for Black Ops II, and many are using it to judge whether or not they like the direction that they believe Treyarch will take with subsequent map packs. Will the multiplayer keep its usual pace, or will we see some unique takes on combat? And more importantly, will they keep butchering zombies in an attempt to innovate? Hopefully I’ll have your answers here.
With the release of the first content pack for Black Ops II comes the first weapon added to the game: the Peacekeeper SMG. Described as a hybrid between an assault rifle and an SMG, it features a European white paint scheme by default and has blue highlights. It’s simply gorgeous to look at and is one of the few guns that I didn’t just stick the first skin I unlocked on it. For those of you who are accuracy fiends, it’s reasonably easy to get headshots with, so a gold skin shouldn’t be too hard to get. Even though it is technically an SMG, it does not count against getting diamond skins for the rest of the category.
As far as new multiplayer maps go, there are four included: Hydro, Grind, Downhill, and Mirage. Hydro takes place in a Pakistinian hydro-electric dam with timed releases of water flow. The lower portion of the map floods with surges of water during these moments, killing anyone trapped inside the waterways. These locations aren’t just out of the way methods to flank though. In some gametypes, such as Demolition, the bomb is actually located within the danger zone. Arming the bomb has never been this satisfying.
Downhill is the first map of the game to take place in a snowy locale. The French slopes and ski lodge also feature a hazardous environment…of gondolas…that kill on impact. Considering they’re moving slower than five miles per hour, I’m not really sure why they’re inherently dangerous, but it does mean that you have to keep your eyes open when your moving along the pathways that they take. Considering the lodge has a height advantage over the center of the map, where B is located in Domination, it makes sense in an attempt to limit the amount of people that can camp and watch over the choke point. Downhill is a relatively open map that features some other areas to fight over as well, but for the majority, most players simply push for control of the ski lodge.
Grind is probably the most aesthetically unique of the four in that it takes place in a skate park. At first, I found myself questioning why Treyarch ever thought fighting a war in a skate park, of all things, was a good idea. But the map slowly grew on me until I began to accept what they’ve been promoting it for since it was announced: soft lines. Instead of the usual straight lines and boxy structures, we’ve been introduced to curved halfpipes, skate-ramps, rails and more. Most, if not all, of the ramps located in the map can be climbed with a certain amount of speed and momentum. It’s refreshing, but the entire map isn’t purely ramps; the central building is really the main chokepoint, and most parts of it are cemented in reality as a typical building should.
The last multiplayer map, Mirage, takes place in the Gobi Desert and looks like something straight out of Spec Ops: The Line. A dilapidated luxury resort has been hit by a catastrophic sandstorm and has appropriately been abandoned. Obviously this makes it a prime control point in the war. But in all seriousness, Mirage features a good amount of combat variance. The interior of the map is located inside the structure and is host to many run and gun fights as the balcony shoots down to the level below. The exterior, on the other hand, features a good amount of balance with each side of the building acting as a sort of corridor to fight down. This is where I tend to move along as each side features it’s own unique choke point which could act as your best friend or your worst enemy.
Now you’re probably wondering what we thought of zombies. Did Treyarch remove the highly criticized changes that were made in Tranzit such as lava and the bus? You’ll be glad to hear that the answer is yes. Instead, Die Rise (as it’s appropriately called) takes place in a series of skyscrapers in China. The multi-story adventure is surely an interesting one, but isn’t very friendly to newer players. Death by falling looms around every corner as one misstep can cost you your life. On the other hand, it’s an interesting mechanic and one that the developers executed fairly well.
Artistically, Die Rise is beautiful. With Chinese architecture and apocalyptic damage, it resembles something out of a Gears of War trip to China. Entire floors might be flipped upside down. Heck, even the weapon box is located on the ceiling. It’s a good amount of fun, and will surely take hardcore players some time to master. Treyarch even made sure that pros can’t camp in the beginning room for very long, having replaced the default rifle with the Olympia.
As for the “secret” campaign, the story (at least Richtofen’s side) is a little bit dull compared to what we’ve seen in the past. One particular part of the puzzle simply has players jumping on top of emblems that spawn on top of the elevators, and then doing the same thing to a different set in a specific order. It seems like a cheap cop out, but some of the other puzzles are also a little iffy. One in particular has you finding Mahjong pieces around the map to figure out what order to use your Galvaknuckles.
However, it’s not all bad news. The new unique weapon, the Sliquifier, infects zombies with goo and causes them to explode after a short time. When this happens, other zombies in the area are also infected, meaning you can easily set off multiple zombies at a time. It also causes the ground to grow slippery, allowing you to keep the enemies downhill from your team. It’s also a wonderful tool for trolling your friends.
The team also managed to shoe in a new gametype that allows gamers to play as a zombie for the first time. The only map that this takes place on is the Diner from Tranzit which was previously locked. It’s interesting to toy around with and is freakishly fast paced, but by no means is it something that hardcore fans will enjoy. It places an emphasis on competing against your friends, rather than working together.
Call of Duty is a rather polarizing franchise. I do hope that you value hearing my opinions on Revolution, but I’ve got a feeling that you’ve already made up your mind about whether or not you’re going to buy the content. At $15 a pop or $50 for the Season Pass, DLC is a commitment. The question is, will you make it? If Revolution is any indicator, I don’t think you have anything to worry about when it comes to quality content.
A copy of this content was provided by the publisher on the Xbox 360 for reviewing purposes.