A fair bit has happened since the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2's Uprising DLC in April. We've seen the announcement of the Xbox One, and the uproar and backtracking that followed. We've seen PlayStation 4 claim a glorious and slightly smug victory at E3. We've also seen the announcement, and some gameplay of the next Call of Duty, Ghosts. It looks pretty promising. But after all that, the third and penultimate slice of rather expensive downloadable carnage for Black Ops 2 has arrived - Vengeance.
Vengeance brings the usual four multiplayer maps, a brand new Zombies map, and also brings the introduction of the Ray Gun Mark II to all Zombies maps - but can it topple the excellent Uprising?
The Multiplayer Maps
Vengeance brings four new multiplayer maps - Rush, Uplink, Cove and Detour. Once again, they're quite the mix - the primary colours of Rush mix with the moody lightning storm of Uplink - but they're all unified in the fact that they're all at least good. There's not a Hydro/Magma-esque clunker, even if the average standard is a tad lower than Uprising.
The best of the four (in the humble opinion of this writer) is Rush. The quirkiest maps in Black Ops 2's DLCs have always been the best - Grind and Studio featuring on the top of my reviews for each DLC, and Vengeance is no exception. Rush is set in a paintball arena, effectively bringing to life that paintball-with-real-guns feeling that Call of Duty conveys rather well. It's also almost exclusively close quarters, with tiny lines of sight and plenty of areas for rushers (it's in the name!) to square off - and it's only marred by a couple of slightly weird sniping spots in the middle of the map. It also looks rather nice, even if there's nothing quite as eye-catching as the area pictured above. Still, Rush is a blast to play, and feels like Black Ops 2's best close-quarters map yet.
Next is Uplink. Fan favourite Firing Range got the remastering and re-designing treatment with Studio in Uprising, and this time, Summit is remade as Uplink, with the snowy setting swapped out for a jungle military facility with constant pouring rain. Admittedly, Uplink doesn't look fantastic - there's a lot of the 'future facility' areas we got to a slight excess in the campaign, and the outside areas are a bit dull and overly 'gritty'. Still, there's the consolation that Uplink, unsurprisingly, plays really rather well, with a nice mix of play-styles that doesn't feel too favorable to one particular play-style, and a diverse bunch of areas that manages to make the map consistently interesting to play in. Uplink may be a bit ugly, but peel back the skin and there's a rock solid map there.
Third, it's Cove - and as with Uprising, third place isn't actually too bad considering the quality of the maps. It's set in a beach area where a plane has crashed among a ton of rocky outcroppings, and the two rival factions must do battle... for some reason. Yep, Cove has backstory, but we'll skim over that. It borrows rather a lot from the recent and brilliant Far Cry 3, but Cove is perhaps the most eye-catching of the pack - and if not, it's at least one of the more interesting environments. Cove is perhaps a little too interested in long lines of sight - it's one of those maps where you can be sniped from a long way across the map fairly easily, and it suffers from it. Still, it's a fair bit of fun, there's enough of a mix to keep most players satisfied, and the plane in the middle is an interesting way to splice the map in half.
Bottom placed is Detour, a map set in a destroyed bridge just outside New York. Detour's not a bad map - like most of the maps here, it's a good mix of play-styles and environments, but it's just a bit too familiar. There's not an original thought in Detour - every cog in the machine has been used before somewhere - the ruined environment, the destroyed cars, the two levels of play... the list goes on. And with most of the DLC maps genuinely showing originality, it's a little disappointing to see Treyarch rest on their laurels and create such a bog-standard map. It's perfectly enjoyable and it's better than the worst of Revolution and Uprising's maps, but it's not really a premium DLC map.
Click next for a review of the new Zombies map, Buried.