There are certain words and phrases that constantly turn up in game titles, and particularly subtitles. Whether it’s Revelations, Revenge, or Destiny the words have lost their meaning through overuse, but we still think calling anything a Revolution is unwise unless it genuinely is. This new map pack certainly isn’t, and yet most fans won’t see that as a negative.
The name Revolution seems particularly odd given that this deviates only very slightly from the standard contents of a Call Of Duty map pack. You get the expected four multiplayer maps, but you also get a new weapon and a new Zombies map and game mode. It’s still not quite enough to make the asking price seem like a bargain, but it’s slightly more generous than normal.
What’s also business as usual is that this has come out on Xbox 360 first, although since Call Of Duty Elite is now available for free at least it hasn’t got that second level of irritating exclusivity. Activision hasn’t said when Revolution will be released for the other formats, but the usual schedule would put it at the end of February.
The four multiplayer maps are named Hydro, Mirage, Grind, and Downhill, while the new weapon is called the Peacekeeper SMG. This has the fire rate of a submachine gun with the range and power of an assault rifle, which really doesn’t seem quite fair. Whether it will unbalance matches only time will tell, but it certainly seems to take away from the Noob Tube as the beginner’s weapon of choice.
Hydro is set around a dam which regularly floods down the middle with water – killing anyone standing in the way. The map itself is almost symmetrical and so is a quick one to learn, maintaining its fast pace throughout. It’s also designed to be fairly anti-sniper, so setting up shop waiting for everyone to run away from the water doesn’t really work.
Mirage is set in a sand dune-filled hotel in Dubai, although whether this is a purposeful reference to Spec Ops: The Line we’re not sure. It’s the smallest of the four maps and is the complete opposite of Hydro, with a completely asymmetrical layout that has a crashed bus and narrow corridor on one side and a large open plan pool on the other.
Grind is set in a skate park, which doesn’t seem a very likely location for an anti-terrorist battle – unless they’re supposed to be trying to wreak bloody revenge on Activision for Tony Hawk: Shred. As odd as the idea sounds this is probably the best of the four maps, with the sloped edges and unusual architecture forcing you to rethink how you approach every corner and when you can consider yourself safe.
Downhill is set in the French Alps and is another gimmick map, as it features moving cable cars that can run over and kill an unwary soldier. They’re slow enough that they can also be used as mobile cover but they still don’t really add enough novelty to what is, visually at least, the least distinctive of the maps. It is one of the biggest though and plays a good game of Capture The Flag.
Die Rise is the fifth map, but it’s for use with Zombies only. It’s probably the hardest Zombies map ever, filled with bottomless drops that kill you instantly and narrow, one way corridors. Surviving on your own is almost impossible and yet the map does its level best to separate you from your comrades. You’ll need a dedicated and experienced team to get anywhere on it, but as a downloadable extra the difficultly level seems appropriate.
As an acknowledgement of the map’s difficulties Revolution also introduces a new Zombies mode called Turned. Although much is made of the fact that you get to play as zombies for the first time it’s a bit of a half-hearted effort. It’s basically just a game of ‘It’ (or Tag or whatever you used to call it), with one person playing as a heavily-armed human and the other four playing as the undead.
If you kill the human you get to play as them next time, with the winner being the one that played as a human the longest. Since zombies are unarmed this isn’t nearly as much fun as might have been hoped, especially as the only map you can play on is so small.
As a whole Revolution is an uncontroversial but generally worthwhile download. It’s not in the slightest bit essential, but if you do want more maps for Black Ops II then these are all pretty good ones.
Although there are a few minor twists it all feels merely like the extras in a director’s cut, new features that neither enhance nor detract from the original – but merely add to its volume. That’s the way it’s always been for Call Of Duty map packs and despite its name Revolution is the last thing to buck any trends.
In Short: There’s nothing even slightly revolutionary here, but five decent new maps – including one for Zombies – is perfectly welcome anyway.
Pros: All of the maps are at least above average and Grind is exceptional. Die Rise is very difficult but perfect for Zombies veterans.
Cons: Turned is a disappointment and offers only an hour or two of novelty. The Peacemaker SMG could unbalance the gameplay.
Formats: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PlayStation 3, Wii U, and PC
Price: 1,200 Microsoft Points/£10.28
Release Date: 29th January 2013 (non-360 TBC)
Age Rating: 18