This time, there are flesh-eating monkeys.
Black Ops fans recently enjoyed Escalation, the second map pack released for the game and now players are granted with a third. Annihilation comes with three new maps, one remake, and of course, a new map for the most notable zombies mode, but with a third DLC released so soon, did Treyarch rush and create something less stellar than the previous maps or did they deliver another enjoyable map pack? No matter how you feel about Treyarch, I can comfortably say the latter.
For fans who played Call of Duty: World at War’s online multiplayer, you’re in for a treat. Cliffside, a favored map from the previous title, is back and has been transformed into Hazard, a lush green golf course that wouldn’t look like a typical environment for battle, but it’s a welcoming change from other repetitive war-torn maps. Just like before, this map is preferred by snipers. The wide-open fairway is an obvious death trap if used to travel from one side of the map to the other. Players can find cover in the bunker or across the way in a storage garage, which was once a temple in Cliffside. The perimeter and bottleneck areas will be used by those who enjoy getting up-close and personal. Hazard is a great map to play overall, for both CoD: WaW fans and new players.
If you’re anxious to play on a map suited for all types of combat, look no further for Drive-In to meet your needs. There are three main areas: the salvage yard with debris and broken down cars, the parking lot between the projection booth and outdoor screen, and an area with an arcade and snack bars. Snipers will take advantage on the second floor in the projection building and have a duel with opposing snipers across the way, while other players will go through buildings and other small areas, like the playground and concrete patio to seek out enemies. This map is fun to play due to its mixed layout.
Hanger is more of a simplistic map but with a mysterious location. Ever wanted to know what happens in Area 51? An SR-71 Blackbird, dead bodies, and a bullet-proof apple is what you will find. This medium-sized map is aptly titled, with the hanger as the primary location and the map’s center point where most action occurs. The surrounding buildings prove useful as good places to sit back and pick off enemies going to and coming from the hanger. Players can go on the SR-71 to earn a vantage point right outside the buildling. There isn’t any cover, though, so it’s also a risky place to be. Others will be below the aircraft engage in close-quarter combat. Besides the unknown government secrets, Hanger is your standard map, but still offers entertaining value nonetheless due to the constant movement in and out of the hanger and varied combat.
Another standard map is Silo, one of the more open maps. There is plenty of ground to cover as well as plenty of areas to get sniped from, so be on the move and don’t linger too long in the open. You roam around a construction site, which is home to an underground nuclear missile facility. Smaller buildings surround the silos and a couple of larger buildings in the middle. There are a couple of pathways to use in order to maneuver around the map, including a short underground tunnel. There are also several structures used as a sniper’s home, so a lot of gameplay will consist of ducking and sprinting to and from cover.
Each time there is a new map pack, Treyarch never fails to deliver something completely unexpected. While the zombie map in Escalation gave players some anxiety with an infected George Romero chasing after them, Annihilation’s Shangri-La is no different, as far as anxiety goes. It starts out normal enough: you defend barricades, rebuild, and earn points. What you don’t expect are flesh-eating monkeys, and a couple of zombies with special abilities that appear out of nowhere to slow you down.
Then, when you think you’re nearly done completing each wave, your screen turns blurry and you can barely move. When you turn around to see what caused the drowsy effect, you see a zombie running around with its mouth open, attacking your teammates to which they say, “Ahh! There is a zombie yelling at me!” That's the shrieker zombie about to chomp on you.
Unlike the more open spaces in Call of the Dead in Escalation, Shangri-La consists of tighter hallways and claustrophobic rooms. There are also many traps, like ground spikes and moving walls. Instead of zip-lines and teleportation devices, geysers and mine cart rides are used as transportation to get around the map. It’s definitely recommended to stay on the move once more pathways and doors are unlocked, since it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the smaller areas of the map.
Annihilation is packed with a great assortment of maps, from the lush to the weathered environments, from the small to the large. It’s always appreciated when a beloved original map makes an appearance in a present title and even then, unfamiliar players will still enjoy it. However, one thing that is non-existent in the maps is the interactive features. You won’t find any elevators, operational doors, or collapsing pathways, and while they are not necessary, interactive maps add a different touch to the monotony of regular maps. Thankfully, that interactive aspect has been injected into Shangri-La, and the new map for zombies mode is superbly distinct from previous ones and won’t disappoint fans. Just like the second map pack, Annihilation succeeds overall in delivering DLC that keeps players happy.