Black Ops 3‘s first DLC has come locked and loaded with new maps, familiar faces and all new horrors with their four multiplayer maps and one new zombies map, to keep your experience fresh and ever changing. I am going to go over each individual map at a time, commenting on their pros, cons and my views on them.
Starting off with Skyjacked, the remastered version of Black Ops 2‘s classic map Hijacked. Hijacked was a fan favourite for the simple fact that it was a small run and gun map with all the action happening in one main middle section of the map. In the past there have been many maps that have played similar roles, like Nuketown, one of the most famous maps, which also got an update transforming into Nuk3town. Skyjacked is almost identical to Hijacked, besides the obvious fact that it is now an aircraft rather than a boat. They’ve also blown a hole in one side of the ship, creating the perfect place for a risky wall run or a sneaky entrance to drop into the insides of the aircraft for a flank. The benefit of putting a remastered map like this in DLC is that you know the fans will like it, which is exactly what has happened. It has been welcomed with open hands, partly because there are 3 other maps that are brand new in the DLC so there’s still something new. I see no cons to this map, it slots in perfectly with the new mechanics and game types,and is already one of the most voted for maps.
Splash was the first DLC map I got to try, and I was blown away by the bright colours of all the different water slides you can tunnel through to get to good vantage points, or the crisp beach you can attempt to cross to get a good flank going. Splash is another one of those fan favourite small run and gun maps, with few camping spots that are constantly being fought over. This game is ideal for Team Death Match, where you will find yourself skirmishing in the open water park area fighting to control key vantage spots, while also setting up control over the beach to stop your team from being wiped out from behind. Splash reminds me of an old school Call of Duty game, as there are no wall running spots. It will be purely old school ground skirmishes here, other than the odd aquatic player who wants to risk swimming into the middle of the fray. The drawback of this map is something that all small CoD maps share, in that if your team is losing, you will most likely spend a lot of your time being spawn killed and having a hard time avoiding enemy score streaks. To avoid this, I suppose you just have to get good. Splash is a great map which fuses small map run and gun mentality with the need to control important areas, creating a map that gets my vote instantly.
Gauntlet is my favourite multiplayer map to come from the Awakening DLC. It fuses three totally different extra small battle zones into one amazing medium sized map that embodies Call of Duty so well. This map is what I look to Call of Duty for, as opposed to other FPS games. The beautiful zones perfectly compliment each other, from the narrow urban alleyway standoff zone littered with graffiti, to the frozen tundra with a risky bridge and wall running paths where one bad step could send you falling to your death. Then there’s the camouflage jungle, which makes you question if that’s a bush or a person. I find this map perfect for Demolition, The two sites being in opposite war zones makes each attack at a bomb site different. One being in the jungle gives the perfect cover for a ninja camouflage defense, while the other being in the alley way makes for a skill based Texas standoff. If you want to quickly switch sides, you have to parkour over the ice and hope that nobody is camping the middle, or that you don’t slip. Personally as this is my favourite map I see no cons, but I have heard people say they don’t like the sections because they are too small. I believe that it actually creates the perfect fusion between a small and medium map with a lot of fast paced action.
Rise is a moderately sized map that takes place in an empty half finished construction work site, and that’s what this map feels like, half finished. Rise just didn’t work for me (no pun intended). It has all of the elements a great map needs, a good theme, a good battle zone, tight close combat zones, and for Black ops 3, parkour and swimming areas. Even with all of this I find myself and many others avoid voting for this map. In saying this, its not like Rise is an absolute flop, it just seems mediocre compared to some of the other amazing maps we got from this DLC. Rise does a few things right though, as it has the potential to be one of the best objective maps. It has the perfect spawn points with enough obstacles to help defend and ward off spawn killing in capture the flag. In Domination, it provides two solid A and C capture points and easy to defend base areas, while contrasting with a hard to capture B point that rewards any team that is able to secure it. So in theory this map should be perfect for fans of objective game types, but it just seems to get ignored. It even got to the point where it was so rare to get a match there that I had to go into a private game with some friends just to properly try out the map. I think Rise fails due to the fact that it revolves too heavily on one area where the B point is located, creating so much wasted space on the outside. After a few games it begins to just seems like the same fight every game. Rise is definitely my least favourite map in this DLC, but by saying that, it isn’t the worst map in Black ops 3. It has a clear niche for objective based games with a tight close combat battle ground in the center, so if that’s your kind of map Rise is definitely for you.
Personally I didn’t enjoy Call of Duty: Black ops 3′s first Zombie map, Shadow of Evil. The Characters grew boring and just didn’t have the same depth as Richtofen and the gang, so I was excited to have them back and they did not disappoint! Der Eisendrache is a map that’s as hard to play as it is to pronounce, that being said, it’s hard in a good way. It challenges you with constant new things to do, whether it’s feeding a dragons head zombie corpses, or taking a spirit wolf for a walk while it consumes souls, it never has a dull moment. The challenges cause a break in the routine training that zombies fans have grown accustomed to, and give life to a mode that some believed was growing stale. At times I found it a little overwhelming, and I definitely had to look up what to do one or two times, so if you are brave enough to tackle zombies solo it may be a bit of a challenge. After a few games of running around following my team mates like a headless chook, I started to get my footing and enjoyed the challenges. Even I led the team on occasions, so it isn’t impossible to learn (sorry to the people who had their games ruing while I was a noob). Der Eisendrache even has its own little extra character that appears every so often, who reminded me of Bioshock’s Bouncer which was cool to see. He wasn’t too powerful, but strong enough that it added some variety from the endless zombies. Players even get to use a cool flaming bow which is hella strong and a must for progression of the story, and just survival in general. Anyone who doesn’t utilize it is at a big disadvantage. All in all I was happy with Der Eisendrache and it saved Zombies for me since I wasn’t a fan of the direction Shadow of Evil was going in.