Published on July 11th, 2011 | by Ben Gray


Review: Call of Duty – Black Ops: Annihilation

Review: Call of Duty – Black Ops: Annihilation Ben Gray

Summary: Ben takes a look at Call of Duty - Black Ops: Annihilation DLC, is it any good? read the review to find out!


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Treyarch are really going at it with post-launch support for Black Ops (either that or Activision are telling them to make more), with the third DLC for the game, Annihilation. As always, 80% of people who buy this content are probably only buying it for the new Zombies “experience”, but did you know it comes with four other maps too?! Here is the part where I ask three questions that I suspect might be coming from your mouths right about now (unless you went off and read someone else’s review, you monster). Are the five maps on offer worth the price tag? Is there anything that sets these maps apart from those currently in the game? How does this content compare to the past two map packs? All will be answered, young padawan. First on the list (ironically the last I played) is Drive-In, which in the lead-up to Annihilation’s release was being touted as “the next Nuketown”… well, yes and no. The map is considerably small in comparison to most of Black Ops’ arsenal of arenas, but it’s not as fast paced as Nuketown at all really, mainly due to the fact that the map is divided into three main routes which stop you from getting mowed down by bullets as you try to cross the map but reduce the pace of the game as a consequence. You can’t have your cake and eat it in this case. Despite this, the map is still enjoyable if you’re looking for a quick blast of fun, but don’t want something as small as Nuketown. There were two aspects of this map that I quite liked; the first being the vantage points. You can get onto the second floor of several buildings to get a nice view over the centre of the map; and usually in this case others have a hard time trying to get to and kill said camper. Luckily, these vantage points are now a lot more open and exposed than usual, meaning there’s either plenty of ways to get to it, or a frag will usually drive the enemy out. The second aspect of this map I liked is that there are some areas where the grass is significantly thicker and taller (bear with me, I do not have an obsession with gardening), so you are practically invisible when prone around it, meaning you can get the jump on many players who dash down these routes without checking those corners. The next map in the mix is Silo, set in some sort of military compound full of missiles waiting to go off, which many of them do throughout matches played on the map, which makes for a nice aesthetic. The terrain is basically an uphill sprint, with one team starting at the top and the other at the bottom, which makes the start of matches pretty one-sided at first, but it quickly evens out. Snipers are going to love this map because of the long lines of sight and elevation of one end of the map over the other side. There are some nifty little ways that those who want to avoid these players can get around without having to wonder out into the open, such as tunnels that connect one silo to another. Overall, a pretty good map, in my opinion. Hangar 18 next, set in the controversial Area 51, with a surprising lack of aliens to be seen. Many players on this map will spend the majority of time walking on the high ground, or attempt to get to it; seems to be the Call of Duty instinct for the average player. Once again, it’s a two-storey map, and whilst most will rush to get to the second storey, the smart will use the lower level to get across the map and get the jump on those players. Once again, the set pieces of CoD maps come into play, and like the other maps, it impresses visually. The SR-71 surprisingly doesn’t move a muscle throughout matches, despite its engines roaring and ready to go; it would’ve been a nice addition to see part of the maps terrain take off and change the game midway. Then there’s Hazard, which is rather large. Basically, it’s a golf course, but damn, is it a tough one. What is by far my highlight of the Annihilation content, this map is once again, a sniper’s delight. In most games, traversing the open fairway (which is the quickest way to get round the map) usually ends with a bullet between the eyes. There’s some beautiful aesthetics on this map, especially the vivid green of the fairway that makes a change from the dull browns and greys of most maps. There’s plenty of ways to get around, and whilst I certainly found one of the far alleyways punishingly narrow, Hazard wins for pure enjoyment. Finally, Shangri-La, the new zombies map that has had people talking, just like it did in Escalation with Call of the Dead. This arena is a much more enclosed affair; like a labyrinth of tunnels underneath a lush jungle. The map features a few traps which can be used to slow down zombies, such as spikes that rise from the ground behind you when you’ve ran past; but this can be incredibly irritating in multiplayer, as your teammates will have to stand and wait for the spikes to lower before being able to get through, which normally means them getting swamped by zombies. The minecart used to get your team away from the hordes at the last second is better used as transport rather than a chance to get a shot at zombies from afar; the cart moves too fast for you to land any hits, and if you do, it won’t be that many. There are some pretty cool elements though; this time round you won’t be chased by a zombified film director the entire time, but occasionally fire zombies will emerge. They’ll take a lot of bullets to kill, and getting too close will turn you into toast, and toast doesn’t do too well with an AK-47. Once again, the ridiculous easter eggs are back, and whilst the map is smaller than its predecessor, it certainly doesn’t make the rewards any easier to get; with the Pack a Punch requiring a team effort to get to for a matter of seconds. Zombie fans will enjoy this addition, but there are advantages and disadvantages dependent on how many people you play it with. I was disappointed by the lack of interactivity in maps this time around, but maybe that’s for the better. Overall, Annihilation is another worthwhile addition for most Call of Duty players, offering a wide variety of maps that impress in gameplay and aesthetics. There are some hiccups in Shangri-La and Drive-In, but other than that (like I’ve said before) if you enjoy Black Ops, pick it up, if you don’t, stay away.

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