I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for a Call of Duty Map Pack than when Treyarch and Activision announced “Escalation.” I thoroughly enjoyed First Strike but I still felt like they could have done better, and with Escalation, they went above and beyond my expectations! As always there’s a question mark on the price of the DLC, but please trust me when I tell you that it’s worth living $15 poorer for this one. Convoy, Hotel, Zoo, and Stockpile and of course the new George A. Romero inspired “Call of the Dead” Rounds out this fun fest, with a few interesting twists and turns along the way.
SECURE THE CONVOY
The first map featured in Escalation is “Convoy,” a location on a damaged highway bridge within a suburban area in the US. Convoy is fairly large, but its design allows you to blend long range battles with condensed firefights. Personally, I feel this is a snipers haven. What is most noticeable about Convoy is that there are many routes to get to any particular part of the map, which made playing Domination here a challenge, particularly in an attempt to capture the B flag.
TAKE THE HOTEL
The next map is Hotel, which is set in a “glorious” Cuban… hotel. Or more specifically, between the 2 large buildings of the hotel and the pool area that connects them. The pool area is generally the place to be if you like close battles, but once again Treyarch kept our snipers in mind with this one. A pretty neat interactive addition, much like the zip lines of “Kowloon,” is the elevators. If you’re a camper I know where to find you. Hotel may not be the most complex map for gameplay, but it gets an A for its aesthetic design and originality.
SEIZE THE ZOO
The third offering is Zoo. One of the main attractions advertised was the monorail. I felt like this was a failing aspect of the map as some may find it difficult to get to, other will find this was a successful camping spot for them. Zoo includes many tunnels and long paths to travel through, making this map seem tiresome to traverse. However this also forces you to find short cuts and play with your load outs to really get to know everything the Russian zoo has to offer. Much like Convoy, Zoo seems ideal for Domination and similar games, but other more defensive game types will suffer.
RAID THE STOCKPILE
Finally, we have “Stockpile.” Stockpile is located in a Cold War village surrounded by arms/explosives “stockpiled” in the center. This center point comes equipped with a set of heavy doors than can be opened and closed via a switch, much like the doors in “Radiation.” There really isn’t much to say about Stockpile. It’s a typical map suited for any game type, team size, and playing style.
SURVIVE CALL OF THE DEAD
For anyone who is a zombie fan, much like myself, I have no doubts that you will be blown away by “Call of the Dead.” This installation was designed but the “Godfather of all Zombies” himself, George A. Romero. I have watched every zombie flick Romero has written and directed, and I am a huge fan of his work. Call of the Dead features celebrities as the protagonists instead of Dempsey, Richtofen and the others. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Robert Englund, Danny Trejo and Michael Rooker take on a batch of newly design zombies and a zombified Romero in a frozen shipwreck setting, which Romero says was the site of a secret Nazi project to bring the dead back to life. The opening shows the 4 celebs in the midst of filming a new zombie film, when a real zombie appears and takes Romero away, leaving the 4 to fend for themselves. The Action begins with Romero emerging from the lake armed with an electrified spotlight that he swings like a hammer. There is no hiding from George as he follows you to the ends of the map and back. This is a massive map loaded with launch pads, zip lines, hallways, staircases and perks-a-plenty, including but not limited to the new “Deadshot Daiquiri,” which allows you to aim down sight for easier headshots. Call of the Dead also introduces the new V-R11 that allows you to reanimate a zombie into a human target that lures the zombies away from you to the nearest body of water. Call of the Dead also features Avenged Sevenfold’s “Not Ready to Die,” which the band was asked to write specifically for the level.
Recently Treyarch announced a release date for their third, and I’m assuming final map pack for Black Ops, Annihilation. As we PS3 players won’t have it for at least another month (Thanks a lot, Microsoft…) we have time to play through the new Escalation maps and get a good feel for them. Personally I have nothing bad to say about these maps, I think Treyarch did a phenomenal job. All the maps have something to offer for everyone. Some may find their favorites in Long Rang battles on Convoy; others will like the hectic shootouts of Stockpile. And some may just stick to Call of the Dead for nerve wracking, never ending hordes of the undead. Whatever your taste may be, at $15, Escalation is a must have in the COD DLC series. Bubble Gum for me…