Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Apocalypse Review
Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Apocalypse Box Art
System: Xbox 360*
Dev: Treyarch
Pub: Activision
Release: August 27, 2013
Players: 1-16
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Drugs
Origins Saves an Otherwise Predictable DLC Release
by Joshua Bruce

When I sat down with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Apocalypse, I wasn’t expecting a whole lot. It’s not that I have a problem with DLC packs, because I don’t. I just couldn’t see how this particular release was going to be anything different than what I’ve seen countless times over. And as far as the multiplayer maps go, it was a good thing I went in with low expectations, because while there are no technical issues with the maps, they are, as I thought, the same old Call of Duty expansion add-ons. However, this final installment of Black Ops 2 content has one saving grace--the new Zombies mode, “Origins.” But I’ll get into that more a little bit later.

As I said before, the multiplayer maps in Apocalypse are pretty much what you have come to expect from any DLC release: a variety of maps from different locations that are split pretty evenly between tight spaces and open atmospheres, and also between single-level and multi-level verticality. In this respect, Apocalypse should have a little something for all Call of Duty fans, rehashed or not. Though, at this point, I’m not entirely sure if there is anywhere left to go with CoD multiplayer maps as far as unique layouts, so this isn’t completely unexpected. Evidence of this could be drawn from the fact that half of the multiplayer maps in this release are “inspired” by levels from previous Call of Duty games.

“Takeoff,” for example, is directly modeled after the map “Stadium” from the first Call of Duty: Black Ops. Although it’s basically a remake, this map seems to be the most diverse of the newly released content. Simply described, “Takeoff” is a courtyard surrounded by buildings on all sides with a multi-level layout that’s prevalent throughout. Each building also has smaller, more “intimate” areas inside for fans of close-quarters combat. Never mind the fact that a damn space shuttle takes off at the end of the round, making this map the most enjoyable (if not original) of the quartet.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Apocalypse Screenshot

The other past-CoD-inspired map, “Dig,” doesn’t set its sights quite as high as “Takeoff.” It’s drab; it’s boring, and it’s wholly uninspired, unless you count the “inspiration” from the Call of Duty: World at War map, “Courtyard.” This dusty archaeological dig site in Afghanistan hosts frantic gunplay, but the excitement isn’t a direct result of the map design. “Dig” is basically a square, with two small courtyards in the middle. Outside of that, there are crumbling walls and minor changes in elevation, but the deciding factor in this map is its size, which keeps the match moving at a considerable pace. Quick gunfights and twitch reflexes will be prevalent here for the foreseeable future.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 - Apocalypse Screenshot

For the first of our completely new maps we have “Frost.” It’s another snow level (who would’ve guessed with a name like “Frost?”) and is cut in two by a frozen canal. This seems to be where most of the action takes place, although you can skirt the edges of the map to flank your enemies. The map is billed as multi-tiered, but aside from a few elevated rooms and the ability to walk on the frozen water of the canal, it is mostly single-level. Close-quarters combat is king here, with only one truly open-firefight corridor and the ability to fight inside the buildings of the town.

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