Call of Duty is a franchise that is well known for producing a large amount of downloadable content, so it’s no surprise that the second Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 DLC, Eclipse, has dropped so recently after Awakening. Eclipse drops two new close combat maps and two mid to large maps, giving a good diverse range of map types. We also get a brand new adventure of the zombie kind, following on Nikolai and the gang’s journey. Continuing with my DLC review structure, one by one I will talk about the pros and the cons of the maps and just discuss the general features i enjoyed about each map.
Rift was one of the maps that I played the most frequently, and I can see why it was popular because I really enjoyed it. It’s a dark and dingy structure floating above a sea of molten lava, and I feel like they perfectly implemented multiple wall running spots to help players sneak behind teams at the risk of falling into an ocean of lava. I enjoy the choice between an all out mid range gunfight in the middle or close combat fighting down the sides of the map. It allows both assault rifles and snipers to shine while also allowing SMGs and shotguns to have their place. This type of mapping promotes diversity in teams and allows a sort of tactical setup in parties that you don’t normally get in all out blood bath maps such as Nuk3town. I feel like this map needs to be played in Team Death Match to really shine, modes like domination force people to the middle and narrows the choice factor between side alley or no man’s land in the center. I’m not really one for close combat maps on CoD, so I found it strange that I was voting for this map whenever I saw it. To me, this is a small map done correctly.
Spire is a beautifully bright map that captured my attention and heart the second the game took off. Spire is an airport map that is reminiscent of modern warfare’s very own “Terminal”, except with a twist: its in midair. Don’t you hate that pesky part of a flight where you have to land in some random country for a stop off to get fuel? Well its the future in Black ops 3 so we don’t have that problem. The map itself isn’t that big, but it’s so well spaced that it gives the feeling of having all the room in the world. It’s a bright map, with a nice white and blue theme going on that is just so appealing to the eyes. In terms of gameplay, it has one of the coolest side parts where you can jump pack onto a ledge to gain a good vantage point for controlling your half of the map, stopping people from flanking you. In the center is a wide fire fight zone in which assault rifles are good and snipers are great, but don’t worry, there are ways to avoid this area if that’s not your slice of pie. In objective modes, beware of people taking advantage of the small spawn points, as I found myself trapped a few times by one person sitting outside the spawn area and slaughtering my team. This being said, it was only on the odd occasion that this happened and it wasn’t the worst spawn killing CoD has ever dealt with. Spire is a beautiful map with a small nostalgia feeling to it that makes it up there with one of the best Black Ops 3 maps released so far.
Not being a hipster CoD fan and coming into the series at Modern Warfare like the pleb I am, I didn’t realize this was a remake of World at War’s Banzai map. Due to this, I am going to review the map as though it is a brand new map. Verge drops you into what seems like a post apocalyptic battleground that reminds me heavily of Borderlands. The map has a giant stream of water which you battle over, either through long distant sniper orientated combat or in small confined tunnels perfect for shotguns. Eclipse has really blown me away with its art, it’s such a breath of fresh air to play a shooter and actually enjoy the scenery. Verge has two different sides, each with its own personality, making it perfect for modes like Capture the Flag, as you feel like your base is actually “yours”. Art aside, Verge is probably the closest we have to a decent implementation of the swimming function. This giant stream of water makes swimming a risky but rewardable method of getting to the other base. This map is amazing for new players and old, and I can totally see why it was remastered for this DLC.
Okay, okay, I know I have been going on about how good the maps in this DLC look, but Knockout takes the cake. It probably helps that I am a huge fan of the Japanese theme with the cherry blossoms and dojo, but it is just stunning all round. From the far off background scenery, to the small leaves drifting through the air, this map is just a masterpiece. In terms of gameplay it has many corridors and short choke points that favor the SMG, but an assault rifle could prosper on one half of the map where you battle for control of a bridge over spikes. This bridge involves jetpacking over spikes to get onto, or wall running underneath it to surprise campers. Knockout has many sneaky wall running spots, so a true hardcore parkourist will have a ball on this map. One of my favorite additions is the funk room, a disco room that is so out of place it’s in place… if that makes sense at all. Surprisingly, I found myself battling for control over it as it’s a strong vantage point over the central battle area. Knockout is beautiful in both looks and gameplay, and if I had played it more I would have called it my favorite map.
This one… This one is difficult. Zetsubou No Shima (Im going to say ZNS for short) is a bit of a love hate relationship for me. I am in no way a pro at zombies, it would be a huge stretch to say I am good, but I still enjoy it from an amateurs perspective, and so with that in mind here I go.
Complex. It is so fucking complex. From the mapping, to the wonder weapons and easter eggs, if you are an old school Kino der toten fan then this map is going to blow your mind. Even the method for staying on for more than one round is hard. It rewards high skill players but kicks dirt in the faces of new players. Even though it rewards high skill players, I have seen many a review from people a lot better than me just saying “what the fuck”. That being said, I do like it anyway, which is fucked up i know. Its like my love for chocolate, if I keep eating it without working out I’ll get fat, but by working at it I can enjoy chocolate and remain in shape. This metaphor works because ZNS forced me to work to become a better zombies player and enjoy it. Eventually I found myself progressing through each and every round without the help of a walk through. The satisfaction I got from figuring out what the skulls did, or how to fully power the map is a feeling you just can’t get from a simple map. This being said, you will eventually have to turn to help as there is only so far you can go alone.
Now to the real flaws/highlights. Some people slandered the use of spiders and said that they were going too far to try and be different, but I thought it fits the map and added a change from mindless dogs. It was actually the first time I struggled with a special round creature. Some people did point out a flaw that I felt too, and that is there are too many spawn points for zombies. I know you’re supposed to be overwhelmed by them, but it just got to the point where it was near impossible to train. Another problem came with the bunker being important yet too focused on close quarters. I can’t tell you how many times I died just trying to get that damn packapunch. One last thing to keep in mind, though I didn’t get to the special weapons, the general opinion is they are rather lackluster but at the same time important to the story, so… Have fun with that.