Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Game Review (Call of Duty Black Ops Annihilation Map Pack)

After quite a break between "First Strike" and "Escalation," the one between "Escalation" and "Annihilation" was much shorter. In what felt like no-time, a third Black Ops map pack was released. How does it compare to the first two?

Drive-In: 4/5 This map has a feel, to me, quite similar to that of "Trailer Park" from Modern Warfare 2, and somewhat like "Firing Range" from Black Ops as well. Treyarch says they added this map due to the popularity of "Nuketown," but I don't really see any resemblance. "Nuketown" is a super-tiny map, and "Drive-In" seems to be at least twice that map's size. Anyway, "Drive-In" is the smallest map from the pack, and it's really a good bit of fun. As the name states, it takes place at a drive-in movie theater, with a whole bunch of different areas to go into including food stands, and an arcade. Above average map, but nothing that'll make you jizz yourself.

Hangar 18: 4.5/5 I can just tell you right now, this is the best map of the pack. It's not so much that Hangar 18 is super unique, but it's laid out very nicely, and there are just some nice areas in and around the map. Another nice thing about "Hangar 18" is that it'll cater to pretty much anyone's play-style - there are a few areas to snipe, there are some medium range areas for those who use assault rifles like myself, and there's also the hangar itself, which is close-quarters for those who use SMGs and shotguns. "Hangar 18" is, to me, is a good example that mapmakers don't need to try too hard to create a winner.

Hazard: 4/5 Treyarch states that this map was inspired by "Cliffside" from World at War, although the maps are really unlike each other, aside from the fact that they have a cliff. "Hazard" takes place on a golf course in Cuba. This is most definitely a map for snipers - it's a large, mostly open map, with several areas that are just screaming for snipers to sit near them. "Hazard" is a pretty solid map, but its absolute biggest downfall is the fact that the majority of the center of the map is pointless if you want to actually survive. To get around the map effectively, you'll have to run almost in a giant circle, unless you want to risk getting killed running through the golf course.

Shangri La: 4/5 I'm not a huge Zombies buff, as I've stated before, and I tend to only really play Zombies on each map a couple times until I get the achievements, but Shangri La is actually a pretty cool map. The spike traps, quick sand, and things like that are quite the nuisance, but Shangri La's a fairly good Zombies map - I don't think fans of the gametype will be all-too disappointed with this.

Silo: 3.5/5 In the video preview, "Silo" looked and was said to be the biggest map in the game. Uh, no. While it's a pretty large map, "Silo" is probably about the size of the on-disc maps "Array" or "Crisis." Immediately in the screenshot showing the map before the game started, I thought this looked like Black Ops's version of Modern Warfare 2's "Quarry" ... a fairly large map with different levels to walk up, as well as its share of buildings. "Silo" isn't a MISERABLE map, but it's definitely the weakest of the four. It's also not helped by it's pretty bland, grey appearance, and the fact that you'll find yourself almost exclusively in and around area D3 on the mini-map. Essentially, that's where you'll find both teams - in Team Deathmatch - trying to camp.


Annihilation is a pretty decent map pack. "Shangri La" is much different than any other Zombies map in terms of looks, and is also quite challenging as there isn't really one great spot to camp - "Hangar 18" is far and away the best map here, but both "Drive-In" and "Hazard" are also worth playing. While "Silo" is a blah map at best, it's hard to expect every map in a pack to be very good or better. For $15, you're getting 4 maps that offer great variety: golf course, a drive-in movie theater, an aircraft hangar, and a Russian silo place dealie - varying in sizes as well. The multiplayer maps in Annihilation aren't the greatest of the current three choices available for Black Ops, but I'd still recommend downloading them.


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