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It's become sort of a tradition of mine to spend all night twiddling my thumbs waiting on COD's DLC to finally become available for download. This tradition used to include spending an hour or so in forums waiting for speculation to turn to information so that I could narrow down my wait to a half hour or so. After MW2 and then Black Ops, I didn't need forums anymore, because I knew; 5am CT, give or take a few minutes here or there. So in keeping with tradition I spent all night Monday into Tuesday morning playing a little Black Ops II so that come DLC time I wouldn't become a complete bullet receptacle. And once 5am came, there it sat, Black Ops II's first DLC, Revolution. After spray painting my controller with propaganda and tossing a molotov cocktail at my TV, settling in to Treyarch's first entry in their DLC season reminded me once again why they're my favorite developer.
Revolution offers everything a COD fan could hope for in their 1200MP DLC. The 4 new multiplayer maps, Grind, Hydro, Downhill, and Mirage, are equal parts unique and enjoyable. Each locale offers something new to both scenery and strategy. In zombieland, the new map, Die Rise, is by far my favorite addition to Revolution. Set in a decimated city inside a crumbling and barely standing high-rise, the vertical play, while new to the series, reminds me of the old Treyarch zombie maps in both scale and design; something I've felt since day one Black Ops II fell short on. Since I always play zombies as a single player the new zombie mode, Turned, is something I haven't experienced firsthand, but I can't see how playing as a zombie can be a bad thing. The last of this well rounded DLC is COD's first ever new playable weapon, the Peacekeeper SMG, a new close quarters tool to add to your arsenal. But let's get to the important parts, shall we.
The first of the new multiplayer maps I landed in was Grind, a SOCAL skatepark that requires more than just a helmet and kneepads. The park itself is equal parts old school concrete carving and new school polished wooden ramps with a little quasi-street setup in the corner. As a skater, I probably wouldn't pay a dime to go to this park. I'm sure it'd be fun for about an hour or so attempting to carve around on the awkwardly laid out concrete transitions, but overall most of this park's layout is haphazard at best. Not to mention, outside of maybe Danny Way no one would even attempt that full pipe that snakes around the corner to the side of the map. But it's not there to skate. As a COD map, it's actually an interesting new addition. The concave transitions leave you feeling a lot more exposed than you're normally used to in this game, and as tight as it seems, the lack of hard corners actually opens up some fairly lengthy sight lines. You'd think with this feeling of exposure most people would flock to that center building - and depending on the mode, you'd probably be right - but most of the battles I ran into on modes like KC or TD were outdoors along the side with the street course. As one of the smaller maps you might want to bring that SMG, but if you're brave, there are certainly some platform perches and sight lines where a sniper rifle would come in handy. Even inside the skate shop/indoor mini-park building, there's enough distance from front to back to allow for some strategic sniping. Just watch your back.
Next on the lineup was Hydro, a hydroelectric facility set into the middle of a large dam. The battle takes place along the front of the facility with a spillway running across the center of the map; a spillway that releases water from time to time that will kill you if you don't seek higher ground. In terms of design, this map is almost a mirror image from spawn to spawn. Each side has the same raised walkway from which to snipe (though neither has a clear line to the other) and each has the same entries to and from that center spillway; one running indoors and under the center of the map, and the other along the edge of the dam outside. The map is sort of like a hump, with the center of the map consisting of two tiers; one the underground spillway, the other, the street level with a little building in the middle. The mirrored design isn't necessarily a cut and paste, because each side has it's own elements, but the setup makes for a great game of Hardpoint, Domination, or Headquarters. Actually, any mode will do, but with the equal passageways to and from every locale, location objectives make for an evenly balanced game. Well, an equal opportunity game anyway.
The third addition to Revolution's multiplayer maps is Mirage, an abandoned resort that's been nearly reclaimed by the surrounding desert. In my opinion this is one of the better maps. It's essentially a square, with a large hotel for guests in the center and surrounding buildings on either side. The interior of the hotel is a large open circular area with 4 stories, although only two (or two and a half) are playable. There are entrances from both front and back and one to the side that leads to the large pool area; my favorite area of the map. Set in what I'm guessing is supposed to be the back of the resort, the pool area has multiple overlook positions. You can either travel up to the second story bar and cover your team from the window, climb to the balcony on the opposite side, or if you're really brave, walk up the steps to the diving platform in the center of it all. Acting as B flag, this is where a large portion of fights go down. The opposite side, or front of the building is littered with abandoned vehicles clogging up the small road under the overhang in front of the hotel. The vehicles are perfectly set up for cover, and with the ability to go inside the abandoned bus, you'll often find a fight over here as well. Both sides of the map have buildings you can travel through, like a clothing store, workout building, etc., making this map a great place for S&D. There are some definite camping locales, so check your corners.
Last, but in my opinion, first, is Downhill, a map set in a ski resort sort of midway up the mountain. One of the larger parts of the map is the gondola station with working gondolas constantly coming in and out. Watch those things, they will kill you. Odd isn't it; 10 bullets, no problem; bumped by a gondola, instant death. This is definitely the largest of all the maps, and with the different winding paths to and from either side, also the most complex. Unlike Hydro's nearly mirrored design, Downhill has all sorts of different paths outside or through the gondola station, down the center in front of it, or winding down snowy and rocky paths along the other side. Throughout this decent size rectangular map there are buildings overlooking the center of the map like a ski shop and ski patrol building, and at the far end some sort of vacation house. This map seems like it was designed with snipers in mind, so bring your rifles and equip that Ghost perk. As per usual any weapon will do, but Downhill finally gives snipers the map they've been waiting for.
In the zombie department, Revolutions new map, Die Rise, is worth the 1200MP alone. Set in a city where you might not find an open Starbucks, the map itself is inside a high rise (Die Rise, get it?) that looks like it might collapse at any second. You start off in an exposed crumbled entry way high in the sky with only a shotgun to purchase and zombies jumping down and climbing up from all over the joint. One 750 point purchase and you open the door to what truly makes this map standout. Instead of sprawling out in every direction through this door or that, Die Rise is all about verticality. After opening that one door, I found myself jumping down stairways or sliding down fallen roofs to the floors below for about 5 or 6 stories without having to open another door. Like Tranzit there are goodies all about, and like all Treyarch's zombie maps, turning on the power is the first order of business. The map reminds me a lot of Treyarch'a earlier zombie map designs like those from World at War and Black Ops, which is a welcomed change from Black Ops II tiny boring survival maps. In my opinion, Black Ops II's zombie maps are like smacking a single player in the mouth. How do you go from the large expansive maps of World at War and Black Ops to a freaking street corner, or diner? Tranzit's great, but playing survival is fun for about 2 games, because with nowhere to go and nothing to do, it's just pointless. Die Rise changes all that. Hopefully they keep it up with zombie maps like this so that I don't have to keep going back to those earlier games just to enjoy playing zombies as a single player.
As I said earlier, Turned, Revolution's new zombie mode, isn't something I've played because as a single player, you simply can't. This is actually another one of my sore points with Black Ops II's zombies, but I'll complain about that some other time. Turned let's you take the control of one of the zombies, chasing down that sole survivor that I'm assuming is played by your friend? I don't know so don't quote me on that. Actually, don't quote me on anything other than the fact that it's called Turned. So.. uh… yup. That's all I've got.
THE PEACEKEEPER SMG
The last piece of the Revolution DLC pack is COD's very first downloadable weapon, the Peacekeeper SMG. It's a cool looking submachine gun that reminds me a little of the Vector, only larger and beefier. It actually feels a lot more like an AR than an SMG, making it a nice tool for both close quarters and mid range firefights. It's nice after all this time with the game to have something new to not only level up but also add to my mix of weapons. I mainly stick to the MP7, but the Peacekeeper SMG feels both powerful enough and mobile enough to become a permanent part of my close quarter's loadouts. But it's power and mobility are nothing next to the possibilities that this new downloadable weapon presents for COD's DLC. Now that they've finally taken a step outside of that Map Pack world who knows what we'll see in the future. I for one would like to see some new downloadable Scorestreaks, Game Modes, Perks, Lethals, Tacticals, and Attachments. As usual, Treyarch's made that first step, but let's hope that the franchise as a whole takes the idea and runs with it.
So, is it worth the 1200MP? Without a doubt. While I'll more than likely never play Turned, and Hydro I could've lived without, 5 out of 7 is a win in my book. All of the new maps, Downhill and Mirage in particular, are great new additions to the Black Ops II multiplayer lineup, and the Peacekeeper SMG has quickly gone to the top of the SMG heap in my loadouts. But Revolution's all-time heavyweight champion of the DLC is Die Rise. This map has singlehandedly redeemed Black Ops II's Zombies for me. Now instead of having to pop in Black Ops or World at War to enjoy that traditional single player zombie experience, I can just jump over to Die Rise for that same good time. There is something for absolutely everyone in this DLC, and if you're a zombie's fan, there is no way you can miss Die Rise. Revolution is a great way to start the DLC season, and if this is any indicator of what we're in for for the rest of the year.. ¡viva la revolucion!