Call of Duty: Black Ops II‘s Vengeance DLC Impressions
Activision has released the final downloadable content pack for Black Ops II, titled Apocalypse, exclusively on Xbox 360. Of course, like the map packs before it, this is only a timed exclusive. PlayStation 3 owners only have to wait a little longer to get their hands on it. In the meantime, the latest DLC pack to hit the PS3 should keep players busy until the time comes. Vengeance is its name, and it features three brand new maps, a remake of a classic map, and a new zombies experience.
The latest installment in the Zombies mode is “Buried,” which takes place on a map called “Resolution 1295”. Buried features an old, western mining town that is sunk completely underground. Players will traverse rooftops, traveling from saloon to general store, then work there way down to lower levels of the map. This mode was designed to help push along the story (if you’ve been following it at all), but it actually turned out to be one of the better maps for simply “surviving”. So if you prefer the original Zombie maps from back in the day, or the “Farm” from Black Ops II, you’ll find things to enjoy about “Buried”.
We’re also extremely pleased to say that the map marks the return of two very awesome things. First, the Raygun is back in the game as the Raygun Mark II. It functions the same way as it always did. Second, the old mining town is playable as a “Turned” map. That’s right, we now have a second map to play, where players can take on the role of the zombies themselves. The original “Turned” map from the Revolution DLC was small, but fairly open in terms of design. This put the zombies at a real advantage, especially when the player was trapped outside in the open and the zombies could skirt across the lava. The new map consists of tight corridors and tight corridors only, giving the edge back to the human player as the zombies are forced to bottleneck. “Turned” is still loads of fun, and easily our favorite part of this DLC pack.
Veterans of the original Black Ops will be excited to learn that the ever-popular map “Summit” is returning to multiplayer as Uplink. Gone are the snow-covered hills, since replaced with lush flora and a rainy atmosphere. Vines hang from buildings, buildings that house high tech equipment as the map is re-imagined as a futuristic facility. Despite the difference in appearance, each and every corner is identical. And we definitely welcome that, especially when it comes to one of the best maps in Call of Duty history. Our only gripe is that there are a few hiccups here and there; vines look awful from a distance, and a few of the textures are sub-par.
For me, Detour is the standout map in the whole pack. It features extremely long corridors on two levels: on top of and underneath the belly of a bridge that’s under construction. The site and equipment therein provide plenty of cover, but the nature of the bridge allows for long engagements. There are also many, many alternate paths and ways to traverse the map, creating prime flanking opportunities. Whether you play solo or as a team, there is a lot of strategy involved here.
Cove is similar to “Downhill” in that it is a wide, sprawling, circular map. The scenery is lush and gorgeous, taking place on a island, surrounded by cruise ships, sunken ships, and evidence of pirate activity. While there are many branching paths that go through the middle of the map, most firefights occur around the perimeter. Like the other maps in this pack, it feature a few different levels that give snipers a place to perch. Careful though – nearly every location in the map is accessible from more than one direction, so it’s hard to always watch your own back.
Finally, we have Rush which is easily the worst of the four maps because it entices players to do exactly as its name commands. The two major spawns are extremely defendable points. With the strategic placement of betties, guardians, and/or sentry guns, a team could easily hold and defend their spawn for the duration of the match. But, for whatever reason, players almost always rush to the center of the map, charging through the paintball arena. Despite there being quite a bit of cover, players charge in recklessly and the bloodbath begins. I was often left to defend spawn alone, which isn’t possible because of the four access points. If you can put together a team that has a smart strategy, it can be fun. But with randos, it usually isn’t. Of course, because the map looks cool, it almost always wins in the voting. Frustrating.
Overall, this is pretty standard fare for a Black Ops II DLC pack. If you’ve found the previous packs to be worth your while (and cash), then you’ll probably like this one too. For us, the inclusion of a new map to play “Turned” on makes this pack even sweeter than the last.