Monday, July 4, 2011

Black Ops Annihiltion Map Pack: Balanced but Lazy

I'm not going to hate all over the Annihilation Map Pack.  But I am going to hate all over the price.  Starting from the beginning, a break down of the maps.

Shangri La: This installation brings an all new zombie map.  With each zombie addition, the difficulty increases.  This is definitely a good thing.  Long gone are the days of finding a corner of the map and bottle-necking zombies for 60 rounds.  Now people are forced to move around and exercise some level of strategy.  Some of the great new additions include Zombie Monkeys that steal power-ups, Shrieker Zombies that blind players, Napalm Zombies that leave behind patches of damaging fire, and the first ever female zombie.

Hangar 18:  This map offers a lot of depth.  There are plenty of opportunities to snipe or have a more direct attack.  The combination of size, open areas, and multiple levels make working as a team vital in objective game play.  Teams that don't work together, will rarely do well on this map.  The details are simple but clean with numerous discrete tunnels and walkways.

Silo:  This map reminds me a lot of Array.  The layout isn't the same, but there is the similar element of twisting staircases and climbing to incredible heights.  This map is great for sniping and unfortunately camping which can make playing it on hardcore incredibly difficult.

Drive-In:  This is the point where the review starts to get negative.  The layout of Drive-In is basically a stretched out version of Nuke Town (thank you Mini Bezz for showing me the light on that one).  The placement of structures and open areas is very similar.  Its a very linear map with two spawn points secluded at either end.  The spawn points are protected by the only two major parts of the map where a higher elevation can be reached.  Lastly, much like Nuke Town, there are two open and direct paths on each side to traverse the map.  Its not identical to the older map, but its close.

Hazard:  It took about two minutes of playing this map for the first time before I realized that I knew exactly where I was going and strategies I was using.  This map is an "intentional remake" of the map Cliffside from Call of Duty: World at War.  Developers took the exact same layout (and I mean exact) and put a whole new skin on it.  The transformation into a golf course can't hide this classic map that I have personally been dominating on for years.

image flipped and major landmarks highlighted

My bitterness comes from the fact that two of the four maps were the product of laziness.  Passing off Hazard as a new take on something old shows a lack of creativity by the design team and unapologetic greed by producers.  I am not against old maps, but I am against being charged $15 for them.  If they are so insistent upon releasing old maps from earlier in the series, it should be its own map pack.  They could call it the Classic Map Pack; making the price $5 or $8 dollars for 4 old maps or keeping the current price but having more content.

No matter what your qualms are with the cost, the maps are still fun.  They lack environmental detail but are very well balanced.  They promote team cooperation during objective games, but aren't completely overwhelming during Team Deathmatch of Free-For-All.  And no matter what you do, watch your six on Hazard because my World at War training is coming back to get ya.

1 comment:

Linz said...

Yeah...They sound great and all, but I still have 0 interest in CoD. Especially listening to you play night after night. The thought of all that FPS action stresses me out. I hope I haven't completely left those days behind though.. Halo still calls to me.