“Four all-new Multiplayer maps, a new Zombies map, a new Zombies game mode, and — for the first time in a Call of Duty game — a brand new Multiplayer weapon.” For some, that’s no 'Revolution,' it’s a gimmick. At first glance, apart from some pretty visuals, Revolution seems to be the same old story. But at its core, it’s an experiment for Treyarch to venture into uncharted territory, and that’s what Call of Duty: Black Ops 2’s Revolution DLC is entirely about. That said — is it a successful endeavor?
Divergent from the standard Call of Duty map formula — circular or boxed maps with alleyways to funnel players toward a deadly, exposed middle battlefield — Revolution’s four maps quickly exert themselves as something innovative for the series. For instance, Grind, set in a sun-blotched skate park, yields deadly corners and multiple entry points. The maps also offer vertical gameplay that’s accessible and valuable to all, regardless of your load-out. It doesn’t hurt that several of the maps offer some fresh eye-candy to longtime fans. Mirage, set in the Gobi Desert, is almost entirely sunk in sand, while Hydro, set in a hydroelectric power plant, features a below-ground, deadly water discharge. The other two multiplayer additions — the map 'Downhill' and the Peacekeeper SMG — are welcome accompaniments that loyal fans will certainly enjoy.
Transitioning to Zombies, it’s apparent that Treyarch wanted to try something different from past outings. Instead of over-the-top, massive experiences as the focus, Revolution’s Zombies map — Die Rise — trades in a horizontal gaming landscape for vertical one. As you may expect, Die Rise is set in a towering skyscraper and features numerous levels to explore while you're running away from flesh-eating monsters. While the concept works, there are several hindrances that hurt what could have been one of the finest Zombies maps to date. For example, the edges of the maps look almost identical to points where you can jump down a level, which may lead to a free-falling death if you aren’t careful. It’s also incredibly easy to have a teammate fall below a level, only to be stuck without the means to meet up with your squad. However, if you’re more into the strategy aspect of Zombies mode, Die Rise may be what you’re looking for, as constant communication is key for survival.
The most unsuccessful addition to the map pack is Zombies’ new mode: Turned. When the match begins, there will be one human player; you and your zombie counterparts will have to pursue and kill that player with vicious swipes. By killing the player, you instantly turn human and become the 'hunted.' The player with the longest time as a human win. Sure, it’s entertaining, but it honestly carries no long-term value. Frankly, it’s nothing you’ll be itching to play for weeks, or even months to come. The Diner map is absolutely crammed, and zombies move at such a frantic pace that it’s difficult to fend off foes as a human for any extended time. Turned is the equivalent of the 'party games' in Black Ops and Black Ops 2 (Sticks and Stones, One in the Chamber) — the concept sounds cool, but you’ll only “turn” to it every once in a blue moon.
That being said, Revolution is a fresh leap for Treyarch and Call of Duty map packs. It's bound to satisfy fans of the series. There are some excellent hits in map design, bust some crucial misses, such as Turned. You’ll find some worth in Revolution, and if it is any indication of what’s to come for Black Ops 2 DLC, then there's a lot to be excited for.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]