Back in January, the first DLC map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, Revolution was released, containing four new multiplayer maps, a Zombies map, a new Zombies game mode and a Peacekeeper SMG. It’s probably worth saying that my opinion on these maps, modes and gun have changed a fair bit since my initial review - oh, and while Die Rise has gone down like a house on fire with the community, the amount of people playing Turned has dwindled to two-digit numbers. And all of that is a long-winded way of saying that Revolution was an unremarkable, but decent start to Black Ops 2′s DLC.
But two and a half months later, it’s time for our second serving of downloadable slightly over-priced mayhem – Uprising, which comes with four shiny new multiplayer maps and a brand new Zombies map. So, how does Uprising compare to Revolution? This review will go in depth into each multiplayer map, and the new Zombies map, Mob of the Dead.
The Multiplayer Maps
Uprising serves up four new multiplayer maps: Studio, Vertigo, Encore and Magma. They’re a diverse bunch of maps – a little gimmicky perhaps, but at least they’re good gimmicks. The overall standard of the multiplayer maps is far higher than that of Revolution’s forgettable offerings – even enough to make up for the lack of a new gun in the DLC.
Starting off with the best of the four – it’s Studio. Studio’s a curious map, because it’s actually a remake of Black Ops 1 fan-favorite Firing Range – but don’t be fooled by its remake tag, because Studio is a sublime map. I haven’t actually played on Firing Range, but I’m assured that it’s pretty great – and Studio brings back everything that was good about Firing Range and adds a little more polish. It keeps the layout, but switches up a 60s firing range for a Hollywood backlot, with movie sets ranging from western saloon to pirate lairs to medieval castles. It’s an odd setting for a map, and the fake sets are crying out for some Battlefield-esque destructive environements, but Studio is superbly designed and looks fantastic – somehow managing to cater for every type of player… even if those players are quick-scopers.
Next up is Vertigo, probably the most trad map in the collection – but Vertigo still manages to be an awful lot of fun. Sure, the high-rise setting in which Vertigo takes place has been used several times before in Call of Duty (as well as the previous Zombies map, Die Rise), but an interesting setting and well-designed map saves Vertigo from the jaws of mediocrity. Despite featuring your standard Call of Duty ‘three-path’ map with a chokepoint in the centre, Vertigo has one gimmick up its sleeve – you can jump onto ladders and platforms throughout the map. It’s something that’s sadly a little too under-used for something that could potentially be an integral part of the map – but it still doesn’t detract from an undeniably solid map design.
Encore (which you can see in the above picture), despite its placing at third best of the pack, is still a rather good map – set in an abandoned concert arena in London. Like Studio, Encore is very much an all-weapons map (it’s heaven if you’re good at sniping), but it does tend to favour assault rifles over sub-machine guns, as it’s mostly compromised of long lines of sight (there’s a few tunnels below the stage which are a little more SMG-friendly), and a central stage that grants you utter domination if (a you can shoot down everyone assaulting the stage without a sweat and (b have the luck of er… the Irish. Again, it’s an unremarkable but solid map – but it’s still a lot of fun to play on… especially if you’re a sniper.
And at the bottom of the pile, it’s Magma. Again, it’s not down with the worst maps on the game, but it’s still disappointingly mediocre for a map that promised so much in the trailers. It’s set in a Japanese town flooded by lava, and while you’d expect lava to be flowing constantly around the map, Magma’s lava just sits there minding its own business. Granted, that’s more a fault of Call of Duty’s steam-powered engine, but it soon turns Magma into a generic, average map that just happens to have lava round the sides. Also, Magma commits the cardinal sin of including a one-way-out tunnel. Bad Treyarch, bad. Magma’s still an OK map, but sitting next to other great offerings, it’s just a tad uninteresting and generic.
Click next for a review of the latest Zombies map, Mob of the Dead.
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This article was first posted on April 23, 2013