Posted Mon Feb 1, 2016 at 08:40 PM PST by Brian Hoss
Will sell like hotcakes.
'Call of Duty: Black Ops III' is a packed game (review here), but the community understandably enjoys getting more with the content packs. I've put some time in with the four new maps, and have some early impressions.
Splash: Set in an abandoned water theme park, this vibrant and playful map delivers an imaginative environment complete with waterslides, a wrecked pirate ship, and a lazy river ride that winds through a fantastical forgotten city. Splash is designed to drive an open flow of combat, including plenty of opportunities for underwater gameplay.
Many might have guessed that a water park would be a fun setting, but not only did I not feel that way right off, but my first time in the map I was in chat saying how lousy the map looks.
A few rounds through the new maps later, 'Splash' is my second favorite from 'Awakening.' The things that bothered me right off, like the crummy amusement park store fronts and those concrete looking, fixed, floating ride pieces (7-8 person floats that look like cement), and the bizarre cement block of Australia in the middle of the map still bother me (not to mention the many spots where it's too easy to leave the map and get stuck).
Of course, these are small qualms compared with the fun flow. It's not just the multiple swimming sections (faux pirate loot above and below the water), but it's also the floating slide lanes (ankle deep water) that are fun to slide through. And those ugly spots shouldn't bother most players, especially since much of the map looks good. (It certainly captures the water park theme to a T.)
There are several second floor spots to jump up to or out ofm and these make for great shooting lanes. It's a nice mix of open and tight areas that flows reasonably fast.
Rise: Set in the snowy outskirts of Zurich, Rise is a Coalescence Corporation construction project for a massive subterranean research campus. The design of the map caters to a mix of classic Call of Duty cover combat alongside strategic core movement opportunities, with each section of the map offering distinctly different styles of gameplay.
'Rise' is indeed a classically styled map, though it does contain a sizable amount of water.
In fact, with the large outside industrial area circling much of the map, I wouldn't be surprised to find that 'Rise' was once a 'Black Ops II' map.
There are lots of random junk places to get elevated outside, and then there are water areas that were likely also flat industrial areas before. (The map is asymmetric for sure.)
Even so, this is one of the maps I expect to repeatedly make the rounds in competitive play.
Skyjacked: Set on a security VTOL in the clouds over urban Zurich, Skyjacked is a reimagined version of the popular Call of Duty®: Black Ops II multiplayer map Hijacked, and retains the same fast and frenetic gameplay from one of the most popular maps in Call of Duty® history, but with a twist. Skyjacked gives players the opportunity to explore the map in a variety of new ways thanks to the all-new core movement system in Black Ops III.
One of the best 'Black Ops II' maps, 'Hijacked,' returns, and I couldn't be happier.
This is easily one of my favorite 'Blops II' maps, and when you add in the familiarity, this is right off a favorite.
Some changes have been made, like the wall run section off the side that will likely rankle many fans, but the blown open hole is a nice add.
The sounds of the jet turbines have an interesting impact on play, but in essence this is still a fast-paced map that funnels all routes together in the middle. It's almost like there are certain areas that only exist as viz-blockers killstreak shelters.
Gauntlet: Grounded in a military training facility, Gauntlet plays up the core philosophy of Treyarch's classic three lane map structure with distinct variety in visuals and gameplay. Each of the three primary lanes has a unique environment as players battle through a sprawling jungle, sub-zero artic zone and rainy urban cityscape.
I'm not the most conservative when it comes to map design, and I might have liked the idea of 'Gauntlet' had it been mine, but I basically hate this map right now. It's not just the miss-match of themes, but the center ice area is dreadful.
The tropical area feels cut off, and the red brick-building punchouts play ok, but the look doesn't come together for me.
The map looks and feels like deleted pieces of finished and unfinished maps put together at the last minute.
So there you go, four new maps, one of which I haven't warmed to at all, one excellent returning map, and two other good maps (of which I really like 'Splash'). I haven't yet played 'Der Eisendrach,' which because I'm such a 'CoD zombies fan' (including 'AW' zombies), I just expect good things.
'Awakening' hits PS4 tomorrow on February 2nd, with the Xbox One and PC to follow next month. Season pass owners get 'Awakening' as part of the season pass. (Get it here.)
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