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Black Ops II: Uprising

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen.. Buy it now. The end.

Not enough? Very well then.

 

       If you are even remotely on the fence about spending those 1200 MPs on Black Ops II's new DLC, Uprising, hop off it right now and light it on fire; Uprising is phenomenal. With 4 new Multiplayer maps and perhaps the best Zombie experience you'll ever play, Treyarch has one, two, three, and four upped themselves with their lasted DLC entry. From the rooftops of a mega skyscraper in India, to the lava filled streets of a Japanese village, every single multiplayer map offers something new and unique to the Black Ops II experience. But Uprising's maps, as great as they are, pale in comparison to Treyarch's latest zombie addition, Mob of the Dead. If you are in any way fond of discouraging the undead from remaining upright, you absolutely cannot pass up this latest zombie entry. Wandering the cell blocks and cramped corridors of Alcatraz with the recently undeceased hot on your heels, is every bit as fun as it is terrifying. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

       Uprising's 4 new multiplayer maps: Magma, Encore, Vertigo, and Studio; have a little bit of something for everyone. Technically speaking, they're only 3 and half new maps. I wasn't aware of this pre-purchase, but Treyarch decided to bring back Firing Range, one of Black Ops' more chaotic multiplayer maps. But instead of asking us to pay twice for the same exact thing they went back to the drawing board, giving us the same great map design with a whole new look. In my opinion, I feel a lot more comfortable purchasing an old favorite when it's been aesthetically reworked. Paying twice for the same thing just doesn't sit well with me. It's like lap dances; why would I want another dance with you honey when I've already watched the show? Remember that game studios. When you rehash your old maps asking for more money.. you're a stripper (for you young folk, a stripper is someone that sands wood).

 

MAGMA

       Set in a Japanese Pompei, Magma is further example of Treyarch's predilection for making the environment your enemy. A small village with a strangely swanky type of club, Magma's entire map is surrounded and overrun with lava. Watch where you walk folks, that there lava isn't just for show. My first run-through was cut short prematurely by an ill-advised venture across some really cool looking lava. You'd think with all those volcano movies I've seen I would have known better, but sometimes it takes going up in flames to truly learn your lesson. Magma is a unique map, with no real set structure. Paths wind through one and two story buildings, along the streets, through a tunnel, and even through a train car thats been nearly submerged in the fun stuff. With all the different winding pathways, this map is a whole lot of fun on S&D, and with the added magma factor, fairly hazardous as well. The center of the map is cut in half by a lava river running beneath a small low bridge, that if you're brave enough, you can creep under to the other side. It's a lot more open than it feels, with a multitude of overlooking sightlines, so keep your eyes open. Most of the fighting happens in this central area, but by no means all. The long sight lines on either side of the map, and the various paths and alleys to and from them, make sniper warfare and close-quarters shootouts a near constant. The unique asymmetrical design and various paths, make Magma standout as one of my favorite maps in the DLC.

 

ENCORE

       Encore is set in an amphitheater as you wait for the band to come back on for just a couple more songs. That wait may be long though considering the place is running rampant with soldiers spamming grenades and calling in airstrikes. It's a fairly rectangular, mediumish size map that reminds me a lot of  a place I used to see shows back in the day in Jersey (aside for the soldiers of course) The amphitheater in the center is surrounded on all sides by different paths that run around the entire place. On one side you'll find yourself outside the amphitheater running along a fairly open area that seems to be both backstage and entrance at the same time. On the other side of the map, you're traveling through bathrooms and concession stands as you move throughout the seating area. Center stage is just that; a general admission floor area with a ridiculously minuscule stage, and gear and equipment that look more post show than encore; which I suppose makes us all roadies. And as any good roadie knows, a RPG is the best way to clean up quickly after a long hard night of musical warfare. Of the bunch, Encore is my least favorite. With such unique new designs like Magma and Vertigo, Encore feels a little vanilla. However, as a fan of ice cream, a little vanilla from time to time is still dessert. If nothing else, it's a new playing field to mix up the bunch. 

 

VERTIGO

       Set on top of a mega skyscraper in India, Vertigo brings some interesting traversal options to the table. The map itself is circular in nature with a centralized indoor area accessible from a wide variety of directions, including a hazardous jump from the outside walkway across certain death to the window below. Do yourself a favor and keep your eyes peeled for other alternative routes (don't assume that wandering too close to the edge is a bad thing), because there are a few here that not many people seem to take into consideration, making flanking your enemy that much easier. Various rooftop obstacles, generator rooms, and other small indoor and outdoor ares that lead into that center area, give this map a lot of various routes in what would otherwise seem just a large circular roof with an indoor area in the center. B flag may appear to be easily defensible, but with so many entry points and a wide open window that let's in one hell of a grenade draft, you really have to pay attention if you hope to lock down the area. Vertigo is best suited for pretty much every game type, but my favorite was CTF. Next to Magma, Vertigo definitely rises to the top.

 

STUDIO 

       Anyone that's been with the series since the first Black Ops might be feeling a bit of deja vu on Studio. Wandering around on my own I was mesmerized by all the possibilities, but something kept going off in the back of my head. My first Domination game, it all came back. Uprising's Studio is Black Ops' Firing Range, simply repurposed and aesthetically redesigned. When I checked online, there it was the whole time informing us of it's comeback; as per usual though, I never even bothered to check. For those unfamiliar with the first Black Ops and Firing Range, Studio is basically a smallish Hollywood backlot, jam packed with a variety of props and sets. The map itself is fairly tight, with two cutout buildings on either side of the center of the map and a trailer in the back that all provide both sniper possibilities and great indoor close-quarter throw downs. The absolute best part of it's design is that you're never very far from the center of the map, making objective games a chaotic battle for that center flag/bomb. But you're not always exposed to that center area; different paths take you around the back of the trailer, behind the buildings on either side, or down to a makeshift dock on the back side of the map where they're apparently filming a Pirate's of the Caribbean meets Jaws movie. The sniper perch in the center of the map is oftentimes a hotly contested seat, but climbing up that long ladder is a major risk. When you add Studio together with Magma and Vertigo, Uprising's new maps are absolutely worth the price of admission. It's not that Encore isn't worth it, because it certainly is, but the 3 standouts really knock it out of the park. But when your outside in the parking lot looking for that ball, keep your head up, because Uprising's new zombie experience has knocked it out of the park, past the parking lot, out of the Bronx, and deep into Central Park.

 

MOB OF THE DEAD

       I really can't say enough about Uprising's new zombie experience, Mob of the Dead (but I'll certainly try). Set in Alcatraz in the prohibition-era, Mob of the Dead follows the story of 4 inmates whose escape attempt quickly went downhill when Treyarch decided to drop in their pesky zombies. Each character is not only unique, but they're also played by some of Hollywood's best and most recognizable criminals (if you don't know what Goodfellas, Reservoir Dogs, The Usual Suspects, A Bronx Tale, or The Sopranos are… get on it right now). To say that MOTD is a unique new zombie experience is an absolutely obscene understatement. The new Afterlife feature - the ability to transform to spirit form when you've been killed, or decide to kill yourself (which you will) - is an absolute revolution to the format. With unique exploration options and the ability to electrocute environmental and unnatural alike, not only has dying never been more satisfying, it's also never been more necessary. Opening cells, turning on traps, exploring the unexplorable; if you don't come to terms with shuffling off your mortal coil, you are going to miss an awful lot in this hellish prison. And what a prison it is.

       Alcatraz, as a map, is incredible. Treyarch has done such a fantastic job recreating America's most iconic prison, that you won't have to bother putting up with all those yammering seals under the wharf when you visit San Fran, because you've already been there. The tight platforms, cramped cellblocks, and eerie, decimated nature of the entire facility make MOTD a masterpiece of the macabre. All your standard zombie moving parts are present, but in a much welcomed move, Treyarch has brought back one of my favorite strategic options in it's zombie experience; traps. I can't count how many times I've died because I just stood there watching zombie after zombie walk into my acid trap and melt into a pool of undead goo. Since I mainly play solo, all of MOTD's new additions go a long way towards giving me a fighting chance to deny my enemies their dinner. 

 

       If you're a fan of zombies and unique new multiplayer maps, you probably already own Uprising. But if for some unforeseen reason you have not picked up Uprising yet  - coma, thumb replacement surgery, incarceration, narcolepsy, IRS audit, marriage - fork over that 1200 MPs; you won't find a more worthwhile way to spend your Black Ops II time. Die Rise was a huge step (or step back, as it were) in a great direction for Treyarch's zombies, but Mob of the Dead is an absolute revolution that will suck up every last minute of your zombie play time. I will say it one last time.

Ladies and gentlemen.. Buy it now.. The end.

 

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