Back to it’s origins is the theme for the final DLC pack in the season pass for Black Ops 2. With two out of four multiplayer maps being re-imaginings and the new zombie map starring familiar faces, is this faithful fan service, or are they on the cusp of stagnation?
Frost takes place in a snowed over European city, with a dreadfully narrow bridge, of which no-one dares cross due to ample sniper coverage. Flanking routes adorn the sides, giving players who have a sense of survivability an avenue to travel. A central, frozen canal river resides perpendicular to the general passages of combat, providing a quick; sneaky way to cross the breadth of the map, often undetected. Several rooms overlook high-traffic areas, perfect for sitting quietly in a corner; frustrating the run ‘n’ gunners. Several long lines of sight grace this map making a long range assault rifle or LMG a useful choice for the majority of encounters.
Pod, an atypical example of how visions of utopia often, in media at least, turn into a literal warzone. An overgrown palette of clambering vines and dilapidated structures provide the setting for a good mixture of close and mid-range combat. A natural looking environment makes a change from the fashionable ‘clean’ look of some previous maps and creates an almost believable theatre. Small pods are dotted about in predictably tactical positions, overlooking entrances and each other, often giving you something to shoot at. The outer skirts hold some particularly nasty lines of sight for those who love to exploit the head glitch spots too.
Dig is the first of two remakes in Apocalypse, taking it’s inspiration from the classic World at War map: Courtyard, it’s frenetic outdoor corridors house some ferocious SMG and shotgun battles, whilst the wily may find solace via clambering to a vantage point. Blindly charging into the centre will reward you with a killcam faster than you can scream an obscenity as there are many canny places to hide and spy around the outskirts. If you do plan on taking the aggressive stance, you’d better brush up on corner peeking as the square map is somehow filled with them. With many clamber points; being able to take unpredictable routes throughout the map, objective based games can be surprisingly more tactical, the downside being the inevitably large amount of deaths from behind!
Takeoff is the final multiplayer map on offer, reminiscent of the original Black Ops map Stadium from the First Strike DLC. Favouring verticality and large open areas ripe for air superiority, it’s a snipers paradise. Or in other words, frustrating! Easily defendable vantage points are rife, making certain game-types a nightmare to traverse between objectives. My best survival technique involved a silenced SMG, and sticking to the outskirts at all times, manly! Domination is hectic to say the least, but then, Domination is always hectic! With a couple of power points under your teams control, the enemy shouldn’t stand a chance.
Origins, by far the packs largest draw, sees the original gang banding together again in a new zombie adventure. With a 1000 ft. roaming robot, wonder weapons aplenty and an all new Easter egg to discover, most players will find solace here. Multiple individual generators powering small sections of the map as opposed to the classic ‘power on’ switch, allows a little more exploration and planning that can go into the starting phase. Set in the era of WW1, trenches and no-mans land are the suitable battlegrounds of Origins. Again, a lot of new material, and lore, has been implemented into zombies. New elemental staffs can be created, a giant tank can be ridden around on and new armoured zombies will destroy you if you’re not geared up properly. A whole slew of secrets awaits those with four players, patience and a penchant for exploration, perhaps there’s even an end besides dropping dead at the hands of the horde?
Despite the always on par zombie offering and the entertaining, if not a little tired multiplayer maps, with Ghosts just around the corner, you’d probably be better off putting the cash towards that instead. Although a solid offering, it’s timing of release was simply too late in the games life-cycle to warrant a purchase from many but the hardcore. Without any special features or new playlists on offer, the resounding bang it deserves to go out on, ends up as more of a fizzle to mark the end of one of the best shooters of this generation.
Reviewed on PS3, also available on Xbox 360 and PC.