Following the release of Revolution, Call of Duty: Black Ops II saw its second round of DLC this week in Uprising. With four new multiplayer maps and a completely new zombie experience, there’s a lot to digest in Treyarch’s latest offering. But how does it stack up?
For the sake of simplicity, we’ll break it down piece by piece and give you a general overview of what you can expect from Black Ops II’s Uprising.
One of the four new maps offered in Uprising, Vertigo takes place on the top level of a skyscraper in India. It’s a medium-sized map with several open areas, some verticality, and a fair amount of destructible environment features that open up areas of the map.
While it’s certainly not a bad map, I was somewhat nonplussed with Vertigo and felt that it is definitely the weakest of the four maps in the Uprising DLC pack. The visual design is sterile and generic, layout isn’t interesting, and it’s not necessarily the most serviceable map to different play styles. And man, does it feel cheap to die by falling off the edge of the building.
The re-imagined version of Firing Range, Studio sees the classic map design re-vamped with an all-new look in the form of a Hollywood film studio.
If you’ve spent any time playing the new Uprising DLC online, you’ll quickly find this to be one of the more popular maps to play on, and for good reason. From the top down, it’s fantastic. The new visual design sees you running through many different film sets and environments, including a castle, a western town, a pirate bay, and a UFO crash site, giving the map an absurdly fun aesthetic that is just as much fun to take in as it is to run around in shooting up your opponents. Furthermore, different layers of height differences and small nooks and crannies in the map allows for campers, snipers, and run-and-gunners to enjoy playing matches in their own respective styles. While I enjoy brand new maps, the new take on Firing Range is a welcome one in Studio, and I enjoyed all of my matches in the map tremendously.
Set in a lava-filled Kitakyushu, Japan, Magma is a great medium-sized map that offers players a wide variety of options to play with, including environmental hazards, hiding spots, and all the cars you could ever want to blow up.
Perhaps it’s the Asian theme, but Magma felt a bit like the map Mirage from Revolution. There are many different areas to hide, a good use of open spaces and tight, cramped ones, and as someone who lived in Japan, I can attest to the integrity of the art design details. It not only looks the part, but feels like a town set in Japan. Which is all the more sad, actually, seeing as half of it is submerged in molten rock.
But you won’t find anyone crying about the fate of this small Japanese village while playing in a match. Instead, you’ll find people trying to navigate its many levels and sprawling design hunting other players and finding the best places to either camp or run through. It’s a fair map that offers much by way of design and aesthetic, making it easily one of the stronger entries in the Uprising DLC.
Taking place at a stadium after a music festival in London, Encore sees players taking to backstage and the surrounding area in frantic combat. Like Vertigo, Encore seemed like a medium-sized map much more friendly to run-and-gunners than anyone else, and the entire level is shaped in a somewhat circular fashion that I wasn’t too crazy about. You’re literally running around in circles on this map, and it felt somewhat caged in for that very reason. While I know Black Ops II’s multiplayer isn’t in an open-world setting, I do enjoy having the illusion of it that a good map gives you. Encore didn’t offer me that, and its mildly interesting art design didn’t do much to save its lackluster setup.
MOB OF THE DEAD
While the Zombies offerings in the previous Revolution DLC were abysmal, Mob of the Dead was actually a brilliant addition to the new Uprising DLC and to Black Ops II’s Zombies mode as a whole. Set in Alcatraz, the mode sees you controlling one of four mobster prisoners (voiced by Hollywood talent like Ray Liotta) as they try to escape the zombie-infested prison.
The mode not only used the basic formula of Zombies as a base, but also built on it to make everything feel a bit more fleshed out. You can find parts to upgrade weapons and build shields, a new afterlife mode allows you to teleport zombies away and revive yourself after you’ve died, and an all-new character design for the zombies themselves mixes things up a bit and helps keep the art design interesting.
Furthermore, the visuals are amazingly well done, and Alcatraz is actually a creepy setting in and of itself. While I did wish for a few more offerings by way of weapons and it does fall vicitim to some of my gripes about Zombies mode in general, I actually found myself enjoying Mob of the Dead in the same way that I did games like DeadRising and Left 4 Dead. If you’re a Zombies fan, this new take on it will most definitely give you a meaty chunk of content to work your way through until the next round of DLC rolls out. Plus, there’s a pretty gnarly Easter Egg to be found in here as well. No spoilers, I promise. But it is worth checking out.
Overall, the new Uprising DLC for Black Ops II is a great pack. There’s a lot to offer here with a 1-2 punch of good multiplayer maps and a great take on Zombies. If you’re on the fence thanks to the lackluster showing of the last Revolution DLC, I recommend Uprising. It’s definitely well worth your 1200 points (or $15 for our PC and PS3 friends) of Microsoft’s Monopoly money.