Review Platform: Xbox 360
Review Copy Provided By: Activision
Release Date: August 27, 2013
The Apocalypse Map Pack for Call Of Duty: Black Ops II is both the fourth and final map pack. It contains four multiplayer maps Dig, Frost, Pod, and Takeoff and a new zombies map called Origins. Apocalypse suffers from coming out just two months prior to the next Call Of Duty game leaving many fans wondering if they should not just wait. It is currently out on only Xbox 360 for $15 bucks (now that we no longer have magic points) or free with the Season Pass. Gamers on the PlayStation 3 and PC must wait until the September 26th for the map pack.
Dig is a remake of the Call Of Duty: World At War map Courtyard and is located in the area of two archaeological dig sites in Afghanistan. The map isn’t a picture perfect remake as it changes out the routes giving a different flow compared to the original. It is the second map to take elements from the 1980’s campaign and is based on Old Wounds. The map is square in nature with circular bowl areas in the center creating two distinct chokepoints. The most interesting gameplay happens on the outside edge with cover while everyone seems to avoid the death trap that is the center of the map. While quite a few of the map pack maps have been colorful, Dig falls back into that boring earth tone syndrome many first person shooters have suffered this generation creating perhaps the worst DLC map released for Black Ops II.
Frost takes place in the snow capped city of Amsterdam split down the center by a frozen canal. Shops feature prominently on the map giving many indoor areas to hide from the aerial support and to ambush opponents. The setup of the map favors indoor hiding in the corner style camping as there is only one good sniping spot near the canal that everyone seems to avoid leaving it actionless. Other than being located in a snowy European town, Frost lacks any gimmick that makes it stand out like maps in the previous packs but avoids falling into the boring category with solid pathing that creates exciting gameplay.
Pod is located in a failed utopian community from the 1970’s nestled into a cliff side in Taiwan. It is actually based off the real life Sanzhi Pod Houses in Taiwan that were later demolished after numerous deaths and financing issues during construction. The map is covered in a large amount of pod styled housing units. It creates a very traditional feel with a lot of tight corners and hiding spots to pick people off from. This map seems to suffer a lot of group camping in team deathmatch making it sit on the low end of fun Call Of Duty maps list but it holds its own in objective based matches— barely.
Takeoff is the second map that is a remake that converts Black Ops First Strike DLC map Stadium into a nuclear remote launch site marooned in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It really is an incredible job remodeling a sports stadium into a giant ship. Small things really make this map snap like the space shuttle taking off in the background or the nuclear rocket that launches when the match is over much like the Launch map from the original Black Ops. Takeoff is the best looking map of the bunch with bright colors rather than the earthy tones. The indoor and outdoor areas strike a nice balance between close quarter combat and picking players off at long range. This is the map that gets the vote every time when it shows up in rotation.
Origins is the zombie map of this pack and takes zombie mode back to the original group of survivors featured in World At War, their beginning, and the beginning of the zombie outbreak. Located in the World War 1 trenches surrounding laboratories and bunkers, the map features large amounts of lore that helps tie together the mythos of the Treyarch Zombies Universe. Players start out with a new starting weapon in the Mauser that has a slightly different feel than other map’s starter weapons. Multiple power generators are located on the map and power small sections rather than there being one single power switch. While the formula is familiar, the multiple switches forces players into a different mindset especially when they are attacked by special zombies attempting to interrupt them when flipping a switch.
Multiple generators aren’t the only new tweak to Zombies. There is a new perk that actually repels zombies called Zombie Blood. Think that scene in The Walking Dead where Rick covers himself in zombie guts to cover his scent and you will get the idea. There is also a giant metal mech that wanders the map sending Jurassic Park style tremors as it nears players. Shooting its foot midstep actually teleports players into its head for an easter egg and even more mythos. With the Zombie maps being the most anticipated parts of the map packs, it should only be a matter of time before we get a stand alone game and that is something I personally look forward to based on the quality of maps like Origins.
Origins is the saving grace of this map pack bringing with it everything Zombies fan love; mythos, action, zombies, and giant robots. The multiplayer portion of the pack doesn’t stand out and non-zombie fans without the season pass may want to look into waiting for Call Of Duty: Ghosts rather than dropping a quarter of that game’s price to extend Black Ops II. Here is to hoping that Treyarch eventually does a stand alone zombies title.