Black Ops’ second map pack is quite possibly the best one we’ve seen so far. It provides a fresh dose of new maps as well as a brand spanking new zombie map to enjoy but the major difference is how much time and creativity was invested into making these maps more than just more of the same. The four new competitive maps, dubbed Convoy, Hotel, Zoo and Stockpile are unique in their look and the strategies they force you to create in order to master them and the Call of the Dead map is, for lack of a better word, one of the best additions to the Call of Duty games thus far.
The Escalation Map Pack is the 2nd map pack for Call Of Duty: Black Ops, and I will start off by premising that it’s way better than First Strike. The variety is surely there, and that is really what I like in maps. If you’ll be so kind as to head past the break, we will go deep into discussion about the maps, and what makes them so great, and not so great. The Baby Factor: If George Romero was hired to direct Call of Duty: Black Ops’ second map pack, then when he came into work he immediately began to ravage the Black Ops until it pleaded for him to go slow and intimate instead of fast and rough, the Escalation pack would be their beautiful, flesh-hungry offspring.
TJ: I’d like to start off by saying how happy I am they threw in some “normal world” maps. Or at least that’s what I’m calling them. And by that I mean Hotel and Convoy. Though slightly damaged convoy still feels totally different than a lot of COD maps. Especially Hotel. The maps I crave are maps like Nuketown. The maps that take me away from that feeling of war and throw me into a totally different and unexpected situation. I know I know, it’s a WAR game but I’m sick of army base maps, half blown up maps, missile launching silo maps, I want more variety.
Adam: Even though I despise Nuketown with a burning passion, I’d have to agree. The Hotel map is possibly my favorite of the bunch, because while I’m playing it I can’t help but feel like I’m playing video games in some fancy resort. Overall, the maps the Escalation pack offers are very different from what we already have in Black Ops, and that’s refreshing, especially for those of us who spend an inordinate amount of time playing the game. In related news, I’m about to prestige for the first time ever in a Call of Duty game! So congrats to me.
TJ: You despise Nuketown? My flame, my muse…NO MORE! You’re about to prestige? Luckyyy. I do agree that these maps are definitely different, and it’s nice to mostly pull away from the norm.
Adam In my defense, I only despise Nuketown for the same reason I despise a few other maps – because I am just so bad at them.
TJ: Zoo, I think Zoo is awesome. Another map that sort of gives me that totally different feeling. I do like how it is abandoned, but I really thought they missed out on what could have been some fun awesome different game play if they put you in a still running Zoo. Imagine if the monorail was still running, and you could hop in it and shoot from it, take it around, or if standing in the wrong spot be killed by it. Or if you could let animals out of their cages and in a rage they kill the enemies. It would be a sprint to see who could let what animals out.
Adam: Zoo is my least favorite but the two reasons that make it such are exclusive to me: the first reason why I hate it so is because no matter how hard I try I cannot do well on this map. I am almost always in the bottom two or three players whereas I’m usually in the bottom five or six. The second reason is when I was young I went to a zoo and while I was examining a couple of giraffes from a distance one of them dropped dead. Seriously. I’ve just never been the same since.
TJ: That could really fuck up someones childhood. I recently got to feed giraffes. I also have a pixelated giraffe on a shirt. Seeing one die would ruin me. Moving on, Stockpile is the 1 map that would keep me from giving this pack an almost 5 out of 5. It has that blah feeling to it like a lot of the Black Ops maps give me. You can open some garage doors, big whoop. Let me do MORE, a lot more with the level. Being able to open some doors with a switch is boring. It’s been done. Spice it up! You made over a billion dollars in sales, I think you have the resources.
Adam: Stockpile is the only map that looks too much like maps we’ve already spent an unhealthy amount of time exploring. There’s just nothing new that it offers, plus, it doesn’t help that I also do incredibly bad at this map almost all the time. Too many high camping spots methinks.
TJ: You’re not giving me any hope that you are good at any of these maps. But I am bad at COD in general so let’s move along to the best map Call of the Dead. The only new zombie map. Featuring the likes of Danny Trejo, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund and Michael Rooker. I really wish they would focus more on the zombies aspect of COD. I’m really hoping this is popular enough to spawn Call Of Duty’s own full on zombie only game. In this new zombies map the king of horror himself George Romero (whom I’m noticing could be Stan Lee’s brother) is totally zombified and follows you around and tries to electrocute the fuck out you. If you shoot him, he just becomes more and more enraged and starts chasing you faster and faster. So you must fight temptation and don’t shoot him. The map is super fun and it’s even cooler playing as horror celebs.
Adam: I love Call of the Dead because it marries two of my favorite things: George Romero and electric superpowers. I mean, come on, how awesome would it be to pull a Thor and come down on a bolt of lighting before casually striding out of the ocean like a complete badass? Nothing is cooler than that, and it doesn’t hurt that the Call of the Dead map is officially the largest zombie map Treyarch’s introduced to us thus far. The only problem there is I keep getting lost so my friends tend to yell at me a little more often than usual. Also, I only seem to be able to play as Robert Englund. I’m not complaining, Freddy Krueger is one of my heroes (that might explain why I’m so effed up) but I wouldn’t mind the opportunity to play as Machete.
The Final Word:
TJ: Is this map pack worth 15 bucks? I would say most of it. But hell, I’d pay 15 for Call Of The Dead alone. The thing is, most people who are going to shell out the cash for this and any other Call of Duty DLC are going to play the fuck out of it. It’s a sure bet.
Adam: I’ll admit I’ve never been a diehard Call of Duty fan. I’ve played them all to varying degrees but the Escalation pack has officially thrown Black Ops head and shoulders above the rest of games I’m interested in playing right now. That’s a pretty impressive feat. I suggest checking it out, I don’t think you’ll leave disappointed.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of Call of Duty: Black Ops – Escalation.