Platform: Xbox 360 / Xbox LIVE
Review Copy Provided By: Activision
Release Date: January 29, 2013
The first DLC map pack, Revolution, for Call of Duty: Black Ops II has finally released. Marketed with a cute trailer, The Replacer, Revolution is Treyarch’s attempt to change-up the Call of Duty map pack formula. The pack is loaded with content with a little something for everyone. The official count is 4 multiplayer maps, 1 zombies map, 1 zombies game mode, and 1 new weapon. The new weapon is a Peacekeeper submachine gun and it is a first for Call of Duty map packs. The weapon has the range and damage of an assault rifle while keeping all the good things that make a SMG what it is. Some will claim it is game-breaking, but our impression is that it gives DLC players a nice boon but is never overpowering.
Grind takes place in a Venice Beach skate park and is very much the antithesis to the typical military shooter map. Colorful and bright, the map is filled with the typical stuff found in skateparks like pipes and ramps. Soft rounded vertical corners and open sections will leave most players vulnerable to attack. Open areas are connected via stairwell and hallway tight interiors leading to close and catch you off guard type encounters. Games modes outside of the deathmatch variety feel forced, as any kind of objective play doesn’t provide the necessary routing and cover to properly strategize.
Mirage finds itself in the Gobi desert and features a scene right out of a recent sand filled third person shooter title, Spec Ops: The Line. While the quality does not quite meet the glorious vistas from half buried skyscrapers, Mirage’s half destroyed hotel surrounded by a circular open exterior with plenty of cover and smaller buildings to dip in and out of fits right in with most other Call of Duty maps. Players can expect a lot of running around the hotel and near instant death for those stupid or brave enough to actually go inside. The interior is open and consists of what used to be the balcony over the now sandy half filled first floor.
Downhill brings the slaughter to a snowy mountainous ski resort setting. The map tries something different with mobile cover in the form of ski lift cars that bring a different level of strategy to Call Of Duty. The rest of the map consists of an open exterior setting with a lot of natural cover in the form of trees and rocks. It should be easy to rack up kills on this map if played carefully as the openness makes it easily to pick off those that decide to sprint around.
Hydro takes place on a dam and is the most symmetrical of the maps. The main feature of this map is the water pathways splitting the map that are randomly flooded by the release of water from the dam. It is reminiscent of maps in Gears of War 2 that had environmental traps that could kill players. Outside of the water trap, Hydro is a “by the number” Call of Duty map with a single back and forth vector attack pattern. This side of the map attacks that side of the map and vice versa. Building like structures, underground paths, and plenty of cover give this map plenty of spots to set up camp and pick people off on 3 different vertical levels.
The new zombie mode is called Turned and must be played on the smallish Diner map. The undead game of tag is a mix of regicide style rules and gun game. 3 player controlled zombies face off against a single human player. As the human kills zombies, they get better weapons (ala gun game). If a zombie kills a human, they become the human and the dead become a zombie. It is strange that the mode is limited to 4 players because it seems that it would be much more enjoyable at 8 players. Turned should prove popular as a party game but for general play, most players will find it lacking especially only being able to play on Diner.
The new zombies map Die Rise ups the ante with new ways to die and is not for those that suffer acrophobia. Die Rise is all about sneaky vertical danger ranging from empty elevator shafts to turning corners and there only being open outside. Die Rise takes place in a skyscraper that has seen better days. The apocalypse has not been kind to this building filled with confusing twists and turns. While bringing something new to zombies, Die Rise has its annoyances. Weapons are scarce and there are some unfair situations with the pack-a-punch machines being located in elevators that love to change floors on you. Die Rise is a hardcore zombies map and will frustrate those that are not built for the challenge it presents.
The overall package of the Revolution DLC is a mixed bag. The maps are not bad but they will not stand out and players will not be rushing to vote for them in matchmaking. The new zombie mode is more tacked-on than fleshed out while the new zombies map is not newbie-friendly but great for veterans. The Peacekeeper SMG is powerful and that will lead to arguments of it being overpowered. The saving grace is the amount of content compared to previous Call of Duty map packs. It is obvious Treyarch is trying to bring changes to the Call of Duty formula and that is something to admire even if they stumble a bit.