Black Ops 2's latest map pack isn't quite as ostentatious with its settings as Uprising, which is a huge shame. There'll be no more mechanical dinosaurs to camp by, no lava to hilariously strafe into, and you won't be able to stare at The Shard in the distance and imagine Alan Sugar huffing around. Vengeance is a much more sober affair. Apart from the paintball stage. And the underground Wild West town filled with ghosts, zombies and alien rayguns. But still.
It's business as usual really; three new maps, one based on a favourite from the original Black Ops (it's Uplink this time) and a new zombie stage. They're mooted to be challenging to the most hardy of Call of Duty veterans, so what chance does an imbecile with a killstreak akin to that of a man playing the game with a Mega Drive controller plugged into his 360 have? Let's find out.
Rush is the paintball stage, a small, dense little battle arena with lots of corridors to sprint through and get killed in, even though you swear you shot at the other guy first. It's fairly good fun with a shotgun, though, and it can get quite fraught. I'd have liked it if every shot left a paintball effect in this stage, however, a bit like that cheat in Goldeneye on the N64. Blunder.
Cove is set among the ruins of a crashed jet, full of debris that unscrupulous players will gladly camp in. It's vaguely reminiscent of Modern Warfare 2's Afghan, which also has crashed jets, funnily enough. It's a bit more scant on the space front and has a lot more pleasant greenery to gawp at, before some pixelated man that's prestiged thirty-seven times blows your head off from halfway across the map.
Detour plays out like a scene from a disaster film, taking place on a suspension bridge ravaged by some calamity. Cars are strewn all over the place for cover and you can traipse along exposed wire and piping to get the drop on your quarry. This is a fun one, with lots of platforming opportunities and vehicles to hide behind.
The nicest looking new map here, though, is Uplink, which is a redux of Summit from the original Black Ops. It's set in a futuristic base filled with lots of expensive equipment above a lush jungle. Again, very James Bond. It's a pretty one too, and staring down at a fecund looking jungle is a nice distraction from all the silvers and gunmetal greys. Black Ops veterans are naturally at a bit of an advantage here.
The new maps are fine, although it would have been somewhat pleasant if, as mentioned, they were a bit sillier and unique, like in Uprising. After flowing lava and film sets, destroyed bridges and high-tech buildings seem a bit bland. With that said, they are well designed.
The new zombies map, Buried, fails to scintillate, though. It's not as entertaining as the Uprising equivalent, with the ghostly Brooklyn wiseguys in the prison. There are a few new features, like a giant lummox you can send after the zombies by plying him with gifts and some 50s B Movie raygun weapons to mess around with, but it starts to feel like a chore.
In fact, let's be honest, the zombies are never really fun to fight in Call of Duty. Compared to more dedicated undead blasters like Left 4 Dead and Killing Floor, the zombie modes in COD just don't have anywhere near the punch. The guns feel weedy and the headshots aren't as gratuitous and impact-laden as they should be. Call of Duty works fine when you're shooting people that hate America, but it's just not tailored for blasting at bullet sponge monstrosities.
Apart from that the new maps are fine, although the whole package is overpriced, coming in yet again at an extortionate 1200 points. People with season passes get it free, so obviously if you plumped for that, fire away, but otherwise it's a lot of money. You could get a few fun Xbox Live arcade games for what this costs, or nip out for a nice pub lunch.
Played all the new maps on various modes for a few hours.