This week sees the release of what will no doubt be the very last DLC expansion for Treyarch‘s 2010 hit, Call of Duty: Black Ops. The Rezurrection map pack is unusual for a couple of reasons. For starters, it’s all Zombie maps– five of them, to be precise. Four of the five have already been released, they’re the four Zombie mode maps from Call of Duty: World at War and its DLC expansions, previously available in Black Ops for those who got the Hardened or Prestige edition of the game: Shi No Numa–“Swamp”, Nacht Der Untoten–“Factory”, Verruckt–“Asylum” and Der Riese–“Factory.”
The fifth map, “Moon,” is completely new and pretty much the most insane zombie-killing playground that Treyarch has yet unleashed. The mode remains fundamentally unchanged, in that you’re still tasked with killing large numbers of zombies while trying to survive for as many rounds as you can. There are still windows to build, wall weapons to buy, a Mystery Box, Perk-a-Cola machines, Pack-a-Punch upgrades… all of the elements that have evolved over time to make Zombies mode awesome.
All that said, Moon is the most dramatically different map yet for Zombies. For starters, you begin each match in a pre-round one zone on Earth, at Area 51. The Pack-a-Punch upgrade machine sits right in front of you, but the first order of business in this area — called No Man’s Land — is to survive until an alarm starts buzzing and a gate blocking a nearby teleporter opens. This starter area is enough of a minigame to warrant a new leaderboard list, with No Man’s Land survivors being ranked according to score, kills and time survived.
As soon as you teleport and land on the moon, your character starts choking. There’s no air here! Fortunately, you appear directly in front of a storage locker containing free P.E.S. suits (i.e. space suits), which you’ll need to grab and equip (up on the D-pad) in order to survive. You also quickly notice that the moon’s low-gravity environment has a pronounced effect on your jumping abilities. You can’t go high enough to leap clear over a zombie’s head, but there’s a noticeable difference.
The map also includes a wide range of interactive elements and what is–without a doubt–the most elaborate Zombies easter egg yet constructed. It’s also the most transparent one, though that’s not to say it’s a cakewalk. You’ll just have an easier time following the clues and finding each piece of the puzzle as you go.
It’s hard to call “Moon” the best map, but it is by far the largest and most elaborate of the 10 released so far. It’s very challenging to stay alive here, even with no real “boss” zombies to worry about. There’s a slow-moving astronaut zombie that can headbutt-teleport you to another part of the map, but with only one appearing at a time, it’s really more of an inconvenience than a constant threat.
There’s also a map-specific hacking device which sits in the same equipment slot as your P.E.S., meaning you can only carry one or the other. The hacking device is needed to complete the easter egg, but it can also be used in a variety of other ways, anything from opening doors at a discounted price to gifting points to another player.
The World at War maps are physically identical to their appearance in the previous Treyarch Call of Duty game, though the weapons you can get from the Mystery Box are all from a more modern era. They’re exactly the same as the Hardened/Prestige edition versions of the maps, only everyone can play them now.
Zombies is a mode that is best enjoyed in a co-op play environment–this proves doubly true for “Moon,” especially since a team of four is required to complete the easter egg–so don’t bother spending the money if you’re not going to have friends to play with and don’t want to walk into online games with randoms.
The “Moon” map is free if you got the World at War maps (or still have an unredeemed code) from the Hardened and Prestige editions. Black Ops has had quite a successful run in the past year, and Rezurrection proves to be the delicious cherry on top of its overall stellar package.
(This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360 on a copy provided by Activision)