If it’s not revengeance I’m not interested
Call of Duty has had a long relationship with map packs, with each game bringing the inevitable packs where we know exactly what we’re getting for our (quite considerable) money. Each Black Ops map pack comes with a set of four maps, a zombies map, and then sometimes something extra like a weapon or a game mode. Vengeance is no different; being the third such pack for Black Ops 2, it features Cove, Rush, Uplink and Detour as the multiplayer maps, and Buried as the new zombies mode with a brand new version of the Ray Gun, the inventively name Ray Gun mark II. It’s available on Xbox 360 for 1200 points ( around £10) and will be on PC and PS3 for around £11.50 on August 1st.
While Call of Duty is often sneered at, they sure as hell know their multiplayer. Each of these maps brings something new to the table without feeling gimmicky, and each has obviously been playtested to breaking point in every game mode to make sure things work out. There’s a huge amount of polish in the maps, the only downside being that pay barrier cuts the number of people you’re going to be able to play with. Of course this being COD, you’re never going to have to wait that long for a game, even on the more obscure playlists, but if you play with your friends you’ll need to rely on them buying it too or you won’t get much play out of them. It might seem obvious but it can be a big deal when you’re paying £10 or more for four or five maps.
Cove is a tropical island and possibly the least ‘Call of Duty’ map of the bunch. There’s a lot of natural foliage and inclines meaning finding cover is a little more difficult than you might expect. Air strikes of course rule the day here so be packing those anti-air launchers as anything airborne can be catastrophic for your team, with almost nowhere to hide. Other than an aircraft fuselage. It’s a fast paced map and is better for the twitch shooters than the strategic thinkers, but the bright and colourful colour palette is enough to make it a welcome addition to the rotation.
Rush is based around a paintball venue, which is an odd choice. I always assumed paintball to be a way of playing soldiers without hurting each other too badly. Call of Duty does the same job, but in a different way. Surely turning Call of Duty into paintball is doubling up on the detachment from what they’re trying to imitate? I went paintballing last week for the first time and was shocked at how much I ended up using things I’ve learned from playing COD over the years. Admittedly the arenas had been set up to resemble Call of Duty maps, but I was still darting from cover to cover and wishing I had a UAV to let me know where everyone was. The only real effect the paintball setting has in this map is that there’s some odd shaped cover. There’s a mixture of inside and outdoor areas, three main routes through the map and the potential to lock down either end in objective modes if you’ve got a team that communicates well. Out of the bunch this is probably my favourite of the maps, there’s so much going on and so many different ways to approach each position, but it’s not so small as to be a massacre. It’s also less scary than real paintball.
Uplink is based on Summit from the last Black Ops, set in a research station high up on a mountain. This time instead of snow we get heavy rain, although the effect is less pronounced than I would have liked. Essentially you forget about it unless you’re looking for it. This was a chance for Treyarch to really go to town with the audio but sadly the rainstorm is less than thunderous most of the game. This is a classic map and a lot of fun, but it hasn’t really changed with any of the new features of Black Ops II. The guardian allows you to block off the central room from one direction which is nice, and I can’t remember all the different ways of sneaking around the edge being there, but essentially it’s the same great map you’ve played before, just with a new lick of… rain.
Detour is the weakest map of the bunch ,set upon a bridge strewn with traffic after some kind of disaster. It’s fairly small and extremely narrow, with some verticality as you can access the lower levels of the structure of the bridge. There’s a lot of places to get shot from, and those who love camping can find some nifty little hiding spots. For me that translates to ‘I get shot from a hundred different angles no matter where I go’. Again air strikes can be deadly on this map, as if you’re not right near the entrance to the underground it’s pretty hard to get out of the open. Team sides tend to change pretty quickly in it too so any objective modes are going to be short lived.
The new zombies mode, Buried, follows the modern trend of zombie modes having some kind of key theme or idea, turning into more of a theme park and easter-egg puzzle than a wave based shooter. You start off defending quite a small room with a hole in it, and once you start running out of ammo/ decent weapons, the only way is down. Once you head down the rabbit hole (or zombie hole… eurgh) you find yourself in an old Wild West style town. The story of Richtofen and the zombies is continued through convoluted easter eggs and it’s a fun map to play, but at this point the people who are into zombies already know more than I could ever tell you about the map, and the people who aren’t interested won’t be won over by this new addition. The new gun isn’t anything to write home about either, it’s the Ray Gun, but there’s no splash damage (hooray for not killing yourself) and it fires three times in each shot.
Overall the Vengeance map pack is a worthy part of the Call of Duty collection. You might think of it as being expensive, but for the amount of hours most people can put into a game like Black Ops 2 without getting bored I’d say the base game is just cheaper than you’d expect. If you bought the season pass and the base game you’d be looking at around £80 and if you’re getting over a hundred hours of enjoyment out it, that’s an absolute bargain. With this pack there’s three really solid maps and one average one, and then a zombies mode map that you may or may not be interested in. If you’re still playing Black Ops 2, it’s definitely worth your money to expand the game.