Saturday, July 13, 2013

Game Review (Call of Duty: Black Ops II Vengeance)

The third of four map packs to be released for Black Ops II, Vengeance features (like the previous two packs) four multi-player maps, as well as an all-new Zombie experience.

Cove: This map is one that I feel that a lot of casual gamers would enjoy a lot, but hardcore players would be turned off by. Cove takes place on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean. The map is round in shape, with boulders and rocks randomly thrown around the map. The center of attention on Cove is probably the plane, which is crashed near the middle of the map. My problem with Cove is that it doesn't seem to have much of a rhyme or reason -- it's a circular map with a load of randomness. If you want to be successful in this map, stay away from the middle (which can be said for a lot of maps, but this one in particular). There isn't much cover in the center of the map, and players tend to spawn near the water. If you get seen in the middle, you can get shot at from nearly a dozen different angles. I'm not sure what game modes this map would be fun on... all I can really think of is Free-for-All. Due to the map's size, it's hard to picture a 6-on-6 objective game type. It's not an awful map, but it's certainly forgetful all the same. 3.25/5

Detour: When Black Ops II's single player campaign was shown at E3 last year, this is sort of what the street/bridge section looked like, if I remember correctly. When looking at the loading screen for the map, I was pretty interested. Would it be a long, narrow map with few flank points that would take place on a bridge? As it turns out, no, not really. The map "ends" before the bridge starts, so you just battle it out *near* it, which is sort of disappointing. The first thing I noticed with Detour, besides the fact that it looks like a map out of the campaign, is that it plays pretty small. Because of that fact, SMGs and shotguns would be excellent choices. There are spots where an AR may be preferred, but they're few and far between. There are quite a lot of ways to flank on Detour, which could lead to some very interesting matches. While I'm not too fond of the "blah" look of Detour (it just looks kind of uninteresting), the big problem I have with it are the spawns. While on Cove you at least tend to be hidden behind a rock, there've been times where I have spawned in the cross hairs of enemies and vice versa. Detour is better than Cove, but not by much. 3.5/5

Rush: The map that I feel the majority of people were probably most looking forward to is this one, Rush. Rush takes place at a paintball arena -- enough said. If that doesn't interest you, I don't know what would. Not only does the idea of the map sound cool, it plays great as well. Rush has a bunch of corners with some somewhat lengthy hallways on it, so an SMG would be ideal. There's an indoor paintball arena with surprising bullet resistant air tarps, a paintball shop, and a good number of make-shift buildings outside that mostly provide no cover at all from above. This is a medium-sized map by Black Ops II's standards, and it's just a blast to play. I've yet to play it on anything other than TDM, but it would no doubt be fun as hell on just about any game mode Black Ops II has to offer. Without question, Rush is the best map in the pack. 4.75/5

Uplink: While the game launched with Nuketown 2025, the second map pack got a remake of Firing Range from Black Ops I, and this third pack gets a remake of Summit. Whether or not the last map pack will have another remade map is anybody's guess, but the three most popular maps from the original Black Ops are now in its sequel. If you've played Black Ops I (if you haven't, there's something wrong with you), you've seen this map before. Rather than being covered in snow, though, Uplink takes place at a lab in Myanmar as a storm happens outside. While the layout of Uplink is the same as Summit's, I feel like it looks better. On the one side of the map near the lift, the sun peeks through the clouds, giving that side of the map a slight, luminous glow. I enjoy Uplink, but I'm still sort of miffed that Treyarch is charging us for rehashed maps. At the same time, though, I'd rather play Uplink than the shouldn't-have-even-been-made map Cove. 4/5

As usual, I haven't bothered playing the new Zombie map that was included in this pack, so I'm not factoring it in. My Zombie playing XBL buddies seem to play it quite a lot though, so that should count for something. If you're buying the Black Ops II DLC for the online maps, then you should know that this one is my least favorite so far, though that doesn't surprise me. Naturally, Treyarch wanted to impress with the first wave of DLC, which was a nice one. The second map pack was a solid follow up, but not quite as fun. This third bit of DLC is rather mediocre, and I expect the last one to be "good" at worst. While there are two maps in Vengeance that are worth playing, only one of them is new. Who knows, maybe you love Summit -- I mean, Uplink -- and don't care that you already played a couple hundred to a couple thousand matches on it already.

Rush is an excellent map, Uplink is good for what it is (a remake), and the other two are forgetful as all hell.