When Activision and Treyarch announced the Rezurrection map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops, zombie fans rejoiced until they realized that four of the five maps in the pack were the original zombie maps from Call of Duty: World at War. Opinions were mixed, especially with the pack carrying the same 1200 msp ($15) price tag as the previous three map packs that all brought fresh content.
Activision has done their very best to mitigate these concerns by including a 20-track zombie soundtrack and a free theme featuring the one new level in the pack, Moon. In addition, anyone that purchased the Hardened or Prestige editions of Black Ops need only re-download the included classic zombie pack to get access to Moon and the bonus content. Even with all of this, the Rezurrection map pack might be a hard pill to swallow. It all depends on how much you enjoyed the classic maps.
Let’s get those out of the way first. Each of the four returning maps (Nacht der Untoten, VerrÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¼ckt, Shi No Numa and Der Riese) plays exactly like their World at War versions. They are competent zombie arenas, but obviously don’t feature the advancements that the newer Black Ops zombie maps feature (with the exception of Cold War era weapons). The first two maps retroactively include the characters and story that features Tank Dempsey, Nikolai Belinski, Takeo Masaki and the evil Edward Richtofen.
Speaking of improvements, though, Moon is the pinnacle of Call of Duty zombies and, should this be the final Black Ops map pack, the game is going out with a bang. The level starts in Area 51, but after a surge of zombies and hell hounds, the heroes take a teleporter trip to a Moon base. You’ll need to quickly get a breathing mask on or suffer the consequences of an oxygen-free lifestyle.
From there, you’ll have an enormous base to explore, new perks to find, and neat new gadgets including the Q.E.D. that features a large number of random effects and the Wave gun that can be split into a dual wield mode or combined to make zombies explode. There is also an extremely complex easter egg (with accompanying achievements) that only the most diehard players will uncover without a guide.
Moon’s zero-G environment makes for, at times, hilarious action. Trust me when I tell you that you’ll never grow tired of using a shotgun on a zombie to turn him into a bowling ball. It’s not all fun and games, though, as you’ll occasionally run into astronaut zombies that bear red Gamertags, and real ones at that. These lumbering damage sponges will advance on you until they grab hold and teleport you away from your comrades and right into danger. You also want to be sure that you aren’t too close when you do defeat them.
Moon is a fantastically complex map, which makes it that much harder to swallow the $15 pack as a whole. If you don’t have a particular affection for the classic maps (which appear under their own heading in the multiplayer screen, segmenting the player base), you might find yourself paying the cover charge for one map.
I expect that those that do take the plunge will be broken into two groups: one that is thrilled to have Moon in addition to easy access to classic maps and bonus goodies and the other that grudgingly antes up because they don’t want to miss out on moonbase mayhem.
Review copy provided by publisher.