Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 “Vengeance” DLC (Xbox 360) Review – Time to Get Back into the Game

This past week Activision released “Vengeance”, its third set of downloadable content (DLC) for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 .  By now you should all know the routine.  Those of you who have a seasons pass, you merely have to head over to the download screen and start the rather lengthy process of downloading this pack.  It took me almost an hour to download the close to 2 gigs of content.  That is just way too damn long but I guess we can expect some delays on day one of a Call of Duty DLC drop. For those of you without a seasons pass, Vengeance will cost you the standard Call of Duty DLC rate of 1200 Microsoft Points.  Some of you may balk at the price but guess what folks, it has been that price for quite some time now.

Included in Treyarch’s latest DLC drop is four new multiplayer maps (Cove, Rush, Uplink and Detour) and a new Zombies level, which takes place in an underground Old West mining town.  As an added perk there is also a new gun that will be available on all Zombies maps if you purchase Vengeance and that is the Ray Gun Mark II.  Vengeance is pretty standard Call of Duty DLC in terms of what you get for the price point.  Sure, one of the maps is a re-imagined from the fan-favorite multiplayer map from the first Black Ops game, but the new content feels fresh and in my view it’s a fairly strong batch of DLC.  Over the past couple of days I had a chance to spend some time with new DLC and in the end I left mostly satisfied.

The first map I played was “Rush” which takes place in a paintball area with both an outdoor setting and an indoor arena.  It is easily the most colourful of the new maps and offers up plenty of obstacles scattered throughout.  I can see Rush quickly becoming a fan favorite.  The most memorable aspect of the map is the indoor paint ball area that is filled with inflatables, splashes of paint and green astro-turf.  There are broken down vehicles scattered throughout the map and an elevated walkway area made of plywood.  You will also find yourself battling away in a pro shop setting and in a recreational office area.  It is a fast close-quarter map where those equipped with shotguns seem to rack up the most kills.  Also, those equipped with C4 do a fair amount of damage.  With the right crowd, Rush is blast and can be highly enjoyable; yet I have to admit the shotgun and C4 whores who ran amok were a bit of an annoyance.

My favourite of the new maps was “Detour”.  My buddies who joined me for some “Vengeance” chaos the other night didn’t really care for the map but I enjoyed it.  The map takes place on a decimated highway suspension bridge high above an east coast waterway.  There are smashed up vehicles scattered throughout the long battle grounds and collapsed pavement which invites multiple levels of action.  Those proficient with sniper rifles managed to pull off a little damage but the sightlines are not long enough to the point where snipers dominate the map.  I spent most of my time just below the surface as I found I could flank the enemy with ease.  I had the most success on this map and that may be the reason why I love it.  Regardless, it is a good looking map and incredibly detailed so it gets my vote for best new map of the bunch.

Next up was “Cove” which takes place on a desert island setting in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  The map features a large wreckage of a jet that apparently crash-landed during a smuggling operation gone wrong.  Gamers likely won’t care why the jet crash landed but hey now you know.  You’ll also notice a ship in the water off in the distance, which is the ship from the level “Hijacked”.  Cove is nice break from your typical worn torn city map and is very reminiscent of Far Cry 3’s island picturesque setting. It is filled with wide open spaces, crawling crabs, sandy desert beaches, large rocks and dense shrubbery.  It is a little on the smaller side where the action is tense and the kill counts run high.  There aren’t many obstacles to hide under so dropping some lighting strikes will produce some deadly results.  In the end, Cove is a hoot and certainly one of the more enjoyable Black Ops 2 multiplayer maps available.

Last but not least when it comes to the Vengeance maps is “Uplink” which is a re-skinned or re-imagined adaptation of the original Black Ops multiplayer map “Summit”.  For those that played the original Summit map, you will immediately recognize its control room at the hi-tech mountain facility.  The map takes place at night in the midst of a torrential storm with lightning.  Most of the battles take place in the middle of the map in or very close to that control room.  Just like it was a couple of years ago, it is an enjoyable map and the development team truly did a wonderful job as Uplink looks visually stunning.  This being said, it has been less than 2-years since I played the original map and I do question why such a recent map was chosen to be “re-imagined”.

For those of you who enjoy Zombies mode, this latest map pack includes a new zombie level called “Buried”.  It never ceases to amaze me how large the zombie maps are and Buried is no exception.  It is huge!  Most of the action takes place below the surface in an Old West mining town filled with stores, mine shaft tunnels, and a bank that can be opened by cashing in your points.  You start off above ground but you soon start a rapid descent into the town.  It took me some time to get my bearings straight but it was not long before I started to explore the massive area and started to get my wits about me.  In an interesting twist, the map features a giant zombie locked in a jail cell who can be released.  You can eventually get him to assist you as well by shoveling booze or candy his way.  Of course there never is an end and the zombies keep coming at you in waves and they get harder and harder to take down.  It is captivating and a blast to play with buddies.

Sure, some may not think that these are the best maps ever released, but overall Vengeance is fairly good bang for the buck and has me right back into the thick of things with my online Call of Duty buddies.  The new multiplayer maps do not feature any stinkers and all complement the existing Black Ops 2 multiplayer maps quite well.  That said, none will overtake Nuketown as everyone’s favourite map any time soon. Likewise, the new zombie map is just as robust and as entertaining as the other zombie maps.  If you play Black Ops 2 for its multiplayer component you have likely already downloaded the pack.  If you haven’t by now, and you are looking for a reason to get back into it, Vengeance may just be the reason you need.

The Good


The Bad