My experience of playing every Call of Duty game has always been dominated by playing multiplayer. Whilst I am far from the skill level of Optic Pamaj or Optic Scump (or in fact any of the Team Optic members) I have been enjoying various grinds on Call of Duty Black Ops 3 Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed. That enjoyment level peaked again last week with the release of the Black Ops 3 Awakening DLC on the Playstation 4 which includes four new maps and one new Zombie map: Gauntlet, Skyjacked, Splash and Rise. If you’re in to Zombie mode then you’ll know that Der Eisendrache is the new map there. But is the Awakening DLC worth buying yet? I have not played the new Zombies map yet so I cannot comment. One thing is certain with any Call of Duty DLC and that is that it reignites my passion to play. Anything new will always do that to a game.
Now this map intrigued me. Gauntlet is probably the largest map in the Awakening DLC and offers the most unique versatility of the entire pack. There are three areas: jungle, industrial and snow and there is a subtle bending of how these areas are threaded together. It might sound a little far fetched but it works very well. What does this mean as a player? Firstly, I found myself approaching Gauntlet with different playing styles. I usually run and gun all over the map but I changed it up with some sniping action for Gauntlet. The jungle area seems very dense which created excellent opportunities to camp with a sniper. When I say dense I mean dense beyond anything we’ve every seen on the rural Call of Duty maps. This is something the Predator could lurk in without ever being seen by Arnold Schwarzenegger! Joking aside Gauntlet provides a welcome break from the monotony of other maps and is a stark contrast from the bland realms of Skyjacked. Having spent a few days playing through the Awakening DLC I feel that I know Gauntlet’s geography the least. What does this mean? It means that Gauntlet is by far the most interesting Map bundled in the Awakening DLC.
Overall, Gauntlet’s corridors, rooms and hiding spots seemed well spaced out and not too claustrophobic so spread your wings and get out there.
Okay so straight of the bat we know that this map has been tailored from Hijacked in Black Ops 2. The setting of Skyjacked is slightly more interesting than the boat of Hijacked. We are now high up in the underbelly of the clouds running around a Sky Barge. At first I felt disappointed that the developers had hijacked yet another map from their previous game and tarted it up to seem new and bold, especially as I never really enjoyed the first version (Hijacked). Naturally, Treyarch altered the sizes of certain walls and the heights of certain ledges to cater for wall runs and boost jumps but the fundamentals of Skyjacked are the same. The hot spot of the map is fairly central with high and low level sniping spots that face out in to open space. The closed quarters of Skyjacked often make for very fast paced action on Skyjacked but you already knew that right?!
My overall feelings of Skyjacked are that it is nothing special. It’s a cop out method that we have seen time after time with Treyarch and Activision recycling their maps to give the illusion of new. I often wonder; are they out of ideas?
Splash is set in an abandoned water park. It’s packed full of colour, wonder and is aesthetically pleasing all around. What Splash did so well is something that wasn’t overtly apparent; it connected with the child in me. I’m sure we could all remember that time at a water park as a child right? Running through the slides of Splash is the trigger to remembering that time at the water park. Genius!
Splash is spread over a much smaller map than Gauntlet but is slightly larger than Skyjacked. There’s a nice balance between open space and tight spots with a key area of the map being centred where all of the water slides meet. I’d say I’ve been killed the most around this central area so approach it with caution if you haven’t played the Awakening DLC. My one criticism of Splash is that physics do not apply when on the water slides which is a damn fine shame in my opinion. I would have much preferred to slide down the declines than walk at the same pace as I do on a flat surface. Nonetheless, this is a minor complaint considering Splash does so much and so well. There are some beautiful sniping spots and ground level and at higher ground too. If sniping is not your thing then you can run around the map until your stamina drains. I believe it suits all kinds of players. Splash makes the Awakening DLC really worth it. Without it, I would not have bothered.
Or should it be ‘Fall?’ From that you may denote that Rise is the least enthralling map of the Awakening DLC. It’s set in an overly familiar, ’seen it before’ industrial looking yard. The map size is a mid to large (wish) sized area and no matter which way you turn it seems that there are no distinguishable features. Rise doesn’t offer the payers anything new. There’s an overall lack if innovation.
Is The Awakening DLC worth buying now?
If you have a spare £11.59 in your bank and want a change of pace for a few days then I recommend buying The Awakening DLC. Gauntlet and Splash are worth it alone make the new DLC pack worth it. If you’re content with the base maps then stick with them. You aren’t missing too much
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We're well in to the Playstation 4 and Xbox One and more recently the Nintendo Switch eras of gaming. Graphics had never looked so smooth and gameplay had never flowed so fluently. Let's not forget the triumphant last Generation of gaming with the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii; all of which I have a lot of time for.
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