Activision is at it again, with another $15 five-map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops. This time, Treyarch is offering four dynamic outdoor heavy maps, and one very special zombie mission that involves an all-star Hollywood cast.
With Call of Duty’s tremendous success, it’s easy to think that Treyarch would take the easy way out, and pump out a map pack for some quick cash. Thankfully, like the pack before it, this collection delivers.
[This synopsis will be presented map by map]
This map is a Modern Warfare style rooftop battle, that’s highly reminiscent of Modern Warfare 2′s “Highrise”. Hotel features a ton of different nooks and crannies to explore (very similarly to Kowloon’s catwalk esque escape routes), in addition to two vantage points that allow players to see the entire level.
I was really surprised at the variety of rooms here. For instance, there’s a steam room that decreases visibility, a car showroom that offers plenty of open space action, and a ton of hidden rooms to slink in and out of. All in all, Hotel is probably the strongest map in the pack, and will appeal to every type of player – just be sure and pre-nade some rooms, and watch for campers.
Convoy tries something different, and presents itself as a Ghost Recon esque highway style map. On one side of the board is a small motel, and city area, and on the other, is a collapsed highway. The road area has an overlook that’s perfect for sniping, and there are plenty of places to hide in the collapsed area.
Other than one mid-sized building in the corner (which looks like Modern Warfare 2′s “Estate”), there really isn’t a whole lot of unique scenery: however, it isn’t a huge deal, because the map itself is pretty entertaining on its own. Convoy is also a pretty bright map (both in terms of lighting, and coloring), which Black Ops fans have been asking for ever since Nuketown.
Unlike the above two maps, Zoo has a more bleak, drab, World at War style theme that is highly reminiscent of WAW’s Corrosion – complete with lots of outdoor ruins and pipes. While many people don’t like the drab style of many of Treyarch’s maps, I have to admit I’m a sucker for them.
One of the reasons I loved World at War’s levels so much was the fact that they actually look…war torn. There’s something about fighting in a torn up area that makes everything a bit more excited. The layout itself is also very impressive, with tons of high ground, and unique areas (such as the bear pit). More likely than not, it’ll take you a handful of games to see everything there is to see in Zoo.
Stockpile is probably my personal favorite map of the bunch. Like Zoo, Stockpile has that bleak old feel – reminiscent of WAW’s “Breach” (noticing a trend here?). The map is about half indoors, half outdoors, just like Modern Warfare 2′s “Quarry”. There are plenty of outdoor areas littered with trucks and trains, and a myriad of empty rooms for close quarters combat.
While it may not have all the bells and whistles of a few other maps, Stockpile has a ton of different areas to explore, and offers up some good old plain deathmatch action. Stockpile may not do anything new, but all in all, it’s a very well made, balanced map.
Call of the Dead
Horror stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, Robert Englund, and Michael Rooker star in this special zombie map that mysteriously does not feature the iconic heroes of past Nazi Zombie fame. While it’s not the perfect cast per se, they certainly could have done worse, and the actors do a pretty fine job in terms of voice acting throughout the mission.
Just like previous zombie maps, there are plenty of hidden easter eggs, new weapons, a Pack-A-Punch machine, and a power switch to turn on. The new Wonder Gun, the V-R11, is probably the most fun one yet – it allows you to turn zombies into humans! Your targets will frantically run about as they become the new object of your enemy’s desire, which adds a pretty cool dynamic to the map. In addition to the new gun, without spoiling too much, there’s a very special zombie that will follow you around throughout the entire level, and is very hard to kill. The map itself isn’t the best experience in Nazi Zombie history, but there are enough unique factors that warrant a definite purchase.
All in all, I see a lot of classic Treyarch in Escalation (for some people, for good or bad). While people may not have the best things to say about Treyarch’s programming ability, when it comes to level design, I think they have first person shooters down pat. Unless you’re completely bored of Black Ops, I’d highly recommend picking up this map pack – even over the first one.
Gamer Limit gives Escalation a 9.0/10.