Call of Duty: Black Ops II – Uprising DLC
he first Call of Duty: Black Ops II expansion was fairly decent, with new maps taking place in a skatepark, hydroelectric dam and a hotel which has been devastated by a sandstorm. Arguably the weakest component in revolution was the new Zombies map Die Rise, which may not be for everyone, but that’s only due to to it’s less conventional design, favouring vertically traversing exploration and survival over Tranzit’s road trip-survival gameplay.
We’ve had the Revolution, now comes the ‘Uprising’, featuring four multiplayer maps and a massive new zombies map, and while the new Zombies map raises the bar for the already excellent Black Ops II Zombie mode, the three new multiplayer maps offer little excitement, despite a huge amount of effort from Treyarch.
What do I get, and why do I want it?
Four multiplayer maps, and one hell of a Zombies map. The first map, ‘Vertigo’, is a decent map and takes place on a skyscraper in India, which according to the official Call of Duty: Black Ops II website “brings new dimensions of verticality to every battle”. I would have to say I disagree, and while the map is fun to play, it certainly isn’t as fun as any map in the Revolution DLC pack. There are plenty of open areas, with many directions to choose, but it felt as though the majority of online games I played involved staying on the starting area, and people running laps around the map’s perimeter.
The next map, ‘Encore’, really rubs me the wrong way. The map feels like one choke point after the other, with the occasional sniper area. There is a main stage, and walkways which take players to main tents and the surrounding amphitheater. The map has potential, but all online play involved snipers, and players guarding the doors to the sniper areas. Occasionally, someone would try to sneak through a walkway in the middle, but they were usually overwhelmed by the snipers using a rifle like a shotgun. Aside from the way the map plays, its actually quite boring to look at too.
‘Magma’ takes place in a modern Japanese village after it has been ravaged by a river of lava. Compared to Encore and Vertigo, Magma is actually quite pretty to look at. Neon signs, large kanji text, and the molten lava both diving and shaping the map, makes for great run-and-gun gameplay. During a few online matches, I managed to find multiple paths to travel and take advantage of, which made for a welcome change of pace compared to the bottleneck design of Encore. Something about Magma still feels off, though I can’t quite put my finger on it. A few silly design choices perhaps, like two parallel routes that never join, or how quickly the map can be traversed from side to side.
The final map is a fan-favourite, revamped. ‘Studio’ has exactly the same map layout as Firing Range, from Black Ops 1, though it has been re-imagined as a film studio, with different set pieces littering the stage. Running towards the back of the stage felt both the same and immediately different, as there is now a Jurassic Park style broken fence, complete with an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex menacingly gnashing his jaws. There are also medieval castle sets, cowboy movie sets and green screens. Its good that Firing Range was made available to current Black Ops players, but its even better with all the visual stimulation and distraction that the scenery provides.
Now, onto ‘Mob of the Dead’ which is the best Zombies expansion yet. Ray Liotta, Joe Pantoliano, Michael Madsen and Chazz Palminteri lend their voices and visual likenesses to the maps four protagonists. Players are cast as one of four imprisoned inmates at Alcatraz Island, who must escape the island amidst a zombie apocalypse (and other paranormal events). New to Zombies, is the ability to enter the afterlife, and control your character’s spirit in order to accomplish certain goals, such as floating through a ethereal tear in the building’s structure to power a trap or door, or discover some of the maps many, many secrets. Single player is fun, though its highly unlikely that you will accomplish the map’s quest or survive to a high wave playing solo. Multiplayer is an absolute blast, and Mob of the Dead is some of the most fun I’ve had with Call of Duty period. There are so many secrets, and every time you play it, you learn something new about the map. Even when I thought I was about to see the map’s “end”, I was wrong. So very, very wrong. If you are a zombies fan, you need buy Uprising.
How much does it cost?
1200 Microsoft points. Apparently the map pack will be available on the PSN and PC on the 15th of May.
- Mob of the Dead is absoluately brilliant.
- Treyarch are trying to shake things up with these maps.
- These maps don’t just cater to corner-campers and shotgun-snipers, they celebrate them. Normal players should be prepared to bitch and moan.
- Boring visual design of Encore and Vertigo.
Conclusion – Is it worth it?
It depends on your preferences. Zombies fans shouldn’t hesitate to pick up Uprising, as Mob of the Dead really is a COD Zombie player’s dream, with Treyarch nailing the gameplay that players want: fun, yet not without a challenge. Players sitting on the fence about whether or not they should purchase Uprising can probably give it a miss, as the new maps offer little in the way of thrills and excitement, and Firing Range being a previously released map. COD addicts probably won’t even read this review, and have probably bought the DLC the very minute it was released.
Score – 7/10 (Though I would give Mob of the Dead a 9/10 based on it’s own merits)