Your guide to the Revolution! (The Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Revolution DLC, that is)

Gil Scott-Heron was wrong, the revolution most definitely will be televised. It already is for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 players on Xbox 360, with Treyarch’s Revolution DLC adding four new multiplayer maps, a Zombie map, a Zombie mode, and (in a series first) a new gun to the game. It may well be the single most overstuffed content pack released for any Call of Duty game yet.

As with any added multiplayer content, there’s going to be a period of adjustment as you get your bearings. The best players have superhuman reflexes, but they also know every corner of every map. Which corners to cover, which open spaces to avoid, how to go about digging into the epic Zombies easter eggs. We’re here to help you with all of that. Read on for a guide to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2‘s Revolution DLC.

The Maps

Your four new multiplayer maps are: “Downhill,” “Grind,” “Hydro,” and “Mirage.” You can access a Revolution-specific playlist if you’re a fan of Core game rules, though the new maps have also been integrated into the rest of the game’s playlists. Hardcore fans can vote for the new maps, and being that the DLC is freshly released and all players are placed in lobbies with others that have the new content, you can expect the new maps to win the vote every time.

Speaking generally, the four new maps bring a lot of fresh flavors to the game. The layouts are as well-designed as fans have come to expect, but the environments are what help set the newcomers apart. There’s nothing here that feels overly similar in comparison to any of the maps that Black Ops 2 launched with, and each new location also brings along some unique quirks get yourself acquainted with.

Downhill is the first snow map released for Black Ops 2, pitting players against one another with a ski resort in the French Alps serving as a backdrop. The roughly oval-shaped map centers around a ski lodge, complete with a two-way track for working gondolas that constantly loop around in both directions. The gondolas move slowly, but they make for a dangerous obstacle when firefights break out in this central location. Coming into contact with one means instant death, much like the speeding train on the Express map. Going prone won’t save you either; if you’re in the path of a gondola, you will be crushed.

The ideal spawn to control is the one on the left side of the map (as viewed from the pause screen), where the private villa with the snowman in front of it is. Downhill is full of great sniping opportunities, but the better vantage points are found in and around the villa. The right side of the map features a stage, plows, a ski shop, and a massive pile-up of Fun-Bags. There are lots of corners to cover and intersecting paths, making this an ideal killzone for those who run with SMG and shotgun classes, and a area to lay traps. To avoid the main lane of fire for villa snipers, skip the lodge and the central map, and follow the paths lining the top portion of the map instead. 

Grind shifts the action over to a sunny skate park in Venice, California, and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a Call of Duty game before. The glossy brown wood of the ramps and half-pipes make it difficult to rely on your surroundings for blending in. Of the new map, this is the toughest one on snipers. The left side of the map is home to a giant-sized half-pipe with a nice roost on one end that offers Grind’s most expansive view, though there’s a similar roost to be found on the right side of the map as well.

Grind seems to heavily favor the team that controls the top portion of the map. Both sniper roosts are most easily accessible from here, and the widely spaced outdoor bowls offer clear views of multiple points of entry. There’s a temptation in Call of Duty multiplayer to avoid central map locations, but that’s actually your best bet here for moving between the top and bottom sections, especially if one team effectively takes control of the left- and right-most lanes. The best bet is to trot out your strongest mid and close-range classes for this compact, obstacle-heavy map.

Hydro is another small-ish map, set at the top of a hydroelectric power plant in Pakistan. It’s very similar in shape to Grind, with the key team spawn locations positioned at the top and bottom. Unlike Grind though, the central strip of road is a blood-soaked killzone. Elevated walkways at either end of the map are perfect sniper roosts that bring great opportunities for some exciting long-range duels. The central road is the shortest path from one end to the other, but running classes take a gamble every time they use it.

Moving from end-to-end is much easier on the left and right paths. The left side takes you through the power stations interior, with a pair of rectangular rooms at both ends separated by a central spillway that runs beneath the map. Teams frequently face off here, with plenty of cover in both connecting rooms creating plenty of opportunities for intense firefights to break out. Just remember to listen for a PA announcement and warning siren: they’re your signal that the spillways will soon fill with rushing water, killing anyone unlucky enough to still be there.

The righthand side of the map is another outdoor location, with two one-story windowed offices facing each other across the spillway runoff. There’s also an elevated platform situated above the spillway that offers a good vantage point for taking on players set up at either office, though getting to it involves dashing through that central killzone. Not recommended without team members to back you up. Crossing the map on the right side is a gamble in general due to the dangerous spillway and the open space separating the two offices, but it’s a good location for medium-range firefights, with protected views both across and into the spillway accessible from both sides.

Mirage rounds out the pack. Set around a luxury resort in the Gobi Desert that’s been completely decimated by a massive sandstorm. This is a huge map, easily one of the series’ largest, with the same roughly oval shape as Downhill. There’s a little something for everyone on Mirage. Snipers get to have some fun in the top portion of the map, with roosts on both ends – one enclosed, one not – overlooking a large, sand-filled pool. There’s a fair amount of cover on the ground at both ends, but the central pool area is largely exposed.

The bottom chunk of the map is a driveway cluttered with wrecked vehicles, including a hollowed out bus. Running classes armed with SMGs and shotties can zip through here to cross the map quickly. A capable sniper can provide cover, though only from completely exposed ground locations. This is also a safer location for crossing the map than the pool because there’s no exit point from the map’s central main building. Once you’re running the driveway, you’ve only got two options: forward or back.

The interior of the main building is largely made up of a circular, open space with a giant statue in the middle of it. A couple of side rooms offer access to the outside, spitting players out into either of the two main team spawns or the pool area. Snipers don’t have much hard cover to rely on inside the main building, but the abundance of shadows can make one difficult to spot when positioned correctly.

Peacekeeper SMG

The Peacekeeper SMG looks like something out of Mass Effect. It’s also an odd duck within the SMG category as it doesn’t exactly excel in the one category that you would expect it to: it’s rubbish at close range. It’s got a lot more punch than most of the other options in the category, but the added stopping power is balanced by a very slow rate of fire. The slowest in this category, in fact.

There’s no real “trick” to using the Peacekeeper, but it’s good to be aware of its capabilities and limitations. If you’re used to running around like a maniac and offing enemies at point-blank range with a rapid fire bullet hose like the Skorpion, this is not the gun for you. The Peacekeeper excels in ranged engagements thanks to its high accuracy and damage. Just make sure you clip on a sight of some sort as soon as you can; the iron sights are terrible.

Hit page 2 for a look at the new Zombies offerings

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: