The lights are on
As Black Ops' third post-release DLC pack, Annihilation follows the formula set by its predecessors. Four new maps are added to the standard multiplayer fray, and a new zombie experience rounds out the download. We played around with these new battlegrounds today, and they should please fans of the mega-successful shooter.
Hangar 18, Hazard, Silo, and Drive-In are the new maps for standard multiplayer. Set in an Area 51-inspired environment, Hangar 18 features some interesting details like an SR-71, decontamination rooms, a room with an odd floating ball of electricity, and a bodybag that contains a corpse of questionable origin. It's a visually interesting map, and its variety of obstacles and rooms are more conducive to run-and-gun gameplay than they are for sniping.
Drive-In takes place in a nearly destroyed drive-in theater with a 50s aesthetic. It's one of the smaller maps in the Annihilation pack, and it's suited to virtually any play style. You can run and gun amongst the debris piles near the theater screen, or you can perch up in the projection booth and fire on opponents below.
Perhaps the least interesting of the new maps is Silo, a fairly generic battleground that contains missile silos and a small command center. It kind of reminded me of the Bunker area from Goldeneye with less interiors. With the unique locations offered by the other Annihilation maps, this is the least noteworthy for sure.
My favorite of the new maps was Hazard, set on a Cuban seaside golf course. It's the most open of the four, and you'll find yourself shooting over sand traps and golf carts in an effort to take out your enemies. It's uncharacteristically colorful for the Call of Duty series, and interior areas like the bar and practice range help to mix up the rounds.
Treyarch's trademark with their Call of Duty entries has been their zombie modes, and Shangri-La is their newest offering. You'll know what you're getting into if you've played previous zombie maps, but this is still one of the best I've seen. Fun additions like water spouts and mine carts help to spice the map up, and you'll have to keep a lookout for zombie monkeys that want to steal your powerups. There's a lot of space in Shangri-La, making it fairly easy to get separated from your crew if you're not careful. Zombie mode has never really been my thing, but I found myself having more fun with this map than I had with previous efforts.
Black Ops fans most likely know what they're getting into with the Annihilation pack. For $15, it offers three very good maps, one average map, and a solid zombie map. It's well worth it if you're still playing the game over half a year after its release, and it might just get you back into it if you haven't picked it up in a while.
This is not expressly about the expansion pack....
I'm just wondering why the COD franchise has pushed itself so far away from the story arc part of the game. I understand that multiplayer sells units, but the first two COD's were great story-wise, and COD:Black Ops had potential for that too. I would have much preferred a Vietnam era COD that followed in the footsteps of the first two COD's: based on actual battles and events instead of the more Modern Warfare made up crap. I enjoyed COD4 because it satisfied the want of modern weapons, but frankly, I'm over the Tom Clancy-wannabe story lines.