Treyarch and Activision have four different DLC packs on the way for Black Ops II. The first one was just recently released, over two months after the launch of the core game. Revolution promises a genesis for Black Ops II and Call of Duty DLC. Do they deliver on that promise?
To be fair, Revolution does provide a lot of new content in this DLC offering that was never available in previous DLC packs for Call of Duty. The previous expansions in the first Black Ops typically added four new multiplayer maps plus a new Zombies map. The final DLC release was just a re-release of all the Zombie maps from World at War, plus a new map called Moon. There’s a lot more bang for your buck this time around, though.
For one, Revolution includes a new weapon for the first time in Call of Duty DLC history. This gun is called the Peacekeeper SMG, and if you’ve played any online multiplayer since the map pack has released, you’ll see everyone and their mother using this gun. No, it’s not a particularly amazing gun, but it’s not that bad either. It falls somewhere in the middle of Black Ops II weapon efficiency, but it’s nice to have a new gun to level up.
Revolution does still add four new multiplayer maps, but they are of varying quality. I was very impressed with the snow map Downhill, which features a lot of environmental variety and nice use of bright, vibrant colors. The inside areas feel great, and the outside areas are well designed, too. The firefights on this map were especially exciting, and it is one of my favorite maps in series history after spending a significant amount of time with it.
Another map from the new DLC that I enjoyed was Mirage. This is the polar opposite of Downhill in that it is a desert-based map. These types of maps are usually found in every FPS game, but the core Black Ops II set of maps lacked a map in this Middle Eastern-style. This map is just as visually interesting as Downhill, and provides plenty of fun areas to duke it out with your opponents.
Hydro was not nearly as good as Mirage or Downhill, but it’s an adequate map. Set in a dam, players can potentially be washed away if they hang out in the center by flooding waterways. This gimmick could’ve been an interesting twist, but I’ve played on Hydro multiple times and it’s way too easy to avoid this, and no one really falls for it, making the entire gimmick kind of pointless. Hydro also has texture loading issues, but on the spectrum of map quality in Call of Duty, it’s certainly not bad, but you won’t see me voting for it if it’s stacked up against Downhill or Mirage.
Finally, we have Grind. Perhaps the most visually stunning map in Black Ops II, Grind could’ve been so much more. The map echoes Activision’s Tony Hawk series with the highly detailed skate park that is fully explorable. Like Downhill, it features a nice balance of indoor and outdoor areas that makes the map look great. The problem with Grind is that it is so prone to camping.
Camping is usually a choice made by players, but it’s almost impossible not to camp in Grind. The reason for that is there is just so much crap all over the map that serve as obstacles. Players aren’t taken out in Grind because of skill, but rather having the luck of the draw when it comes to spawning. I have played on Grind multiple times, and each time one team vastly outscores the opposing team, no matter what.
There’s more than just one new Zombies map this time around, too, though there is a new Zombies map. The new map is called Die Rise, and it is a labyrinthine map if I’ve ever seen one. Set in collapsing skyscrapers, this map features plenty of areas where players can fall off to their death, plus plenty of new challenges such as platforming challenges that must be conquered to traverse the map safely.
Cool visual tricks such as having upside down buildings (the mystery box is upside down when you first find it, so look to the ceiling!) is amusing, plus the map’s vastness makes it quite the challenge to see everything in one playthrough. Elevators add another new element to the mode, plus there is a new perk that, while sort of pointless because it just mimics Quick Revive in single player, is still kind of cool.
A ridiculous Easter Egg is also in store for those that wish to conquer the secrets of Zombies, but I’m getting tired of these. I feel like it bogs down the experience and it’s very rarely ever any fun completing these. In any case, there are new items to build like a catapult and a new gun that causes zombies to slip and fall in humorous ways, though these parts are incredibly difficult to find due to the maze-like structure of the map.
Along with this is a new game mode called Turned. Turned is a lot of fun. It’s fast-paced, and it lets players play as the zombie for the first time in the history of the DLC. Playing as the zombie is just as thrilling as playing as the lone survivor. Every time you get a kill, your gun changes, kind of like Gun Game, which adds another element of intensity to the entire experience.
Unfortunately, “Turned” can only be played on one map, which is the Diner in Green Run. What’s curious about this is that the Diner was always visible in the Green Run map to choose from, but it was inaccessible until this new DLC. This leads me to believe that at least some of this DLC was already available on the disc, which is a bummer, but there has been no definitive word on that so far.
Overall, Revolution is a good purchase, and for once, I don’t feel completely ripped off by Call of Duty DLC. The standard release of four maps a new Zombies map show higher quality than previous DLC releases, plus there is a new gun and a new Zombies game mode with Turned. There are still issues with this DLC, but diehard Call of Duty fans should definitely not pass this one up.
Tested on Xbox 360. Final Score: 8.0/10