Earlier this week saw the release of the long awaited DLC 5 for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3. The map pack rumours began circulating shortly after the fourth DLC “Salvation” was released, only to be confirmed a few months later to be a map pack made entirely for the zombies side of the Call of Duty community. The pack contains 8 maps from previous Call of Duty games alongside updated textures, voice lines and gameplay features. Fans of the mode were also given incentives to pre-order the pack including 5 “Pack-a-Punch” camo’s from the zombies maps “Der Eisendrache” for players to use online, 20 vials of Liquid Divinium and a PS4 dynamic theme by renowned Metal Gear Solid artist Yoji Shinkawa.
Now before we get into how the maps themselves transfer over from the previous generation of consoles, let’s just talk about bonuses. Each player who pre-ordered the ap pack got 20 free vials of liquid divinium that they could use in the in-game “Dr Monty’s Factory” to earn Gobblegums that enhance the players gaming experience. This alone would of cost around £12. We also got given two new “Whimsical” gobblegums that we could use at our own free will. These gobblegums did nothing to enhance the experience, but simply made the game a bit more fun. Finally, we got a PS4 dynamic theme designed by Mr Shinkawa, well known for his artwork on the Metal Gear Solid game covers and in-game art. Upon the reveal of the map pack, Jason Blundell (Co-Studio Head at Treyarch) said that this map pack was a “labour of love to all the fans that had decrypted, deciphered and stuck with the zombie’s storyline for this long”. It is very clear to see that the studio did their due diligence and really gave something amazing back to the fans.
However, the pack does not come without its problems, which will be discussed first so the rambling about how good this DLC is can continue. Firstly, this map pack marks the third time that players have seen the same three maps from Call of Duty: World at War’s zombie mode bought over to a new console for, what is realistically, better lighting and shader effects. Verruckt, Shi No Numa and Nacht Der Untoten (and also The Giant) were all bought onto Call of Duty: Black Ops as part of the Ressurection DLC, the studios first “All Zombies DLC”. These older maps have elements in them that some fans of the series loved and they each had certain things about them that made each individual map special, unique and exciting. For example, one change that sent the community into uproar was the addition of a gobblegum machine and a “Wunderfizz” machine on Nacht Der Untoten. To someone who doesn’t play zombies, that sentence makes no sense what-so-ever. However, this change meant that players could by perks like the series favourite “Juggernog” and “Quick Revive” to give themselves a better fighting change on this close quarters map, much unlike the original. A second change that saw the community outraged was the exclusion of the much loved perk “PhD Flopper”, a perk that would cause an explosion whilst diving. In Zombie Chronicles, PhD Flopper is replaced with Widow’s Wine, a perk introduced in the map “Shadows of Evil”. However, this change was necessary for game play as the player cannot dive in Black Ops 3. Finally, fans were also upset that certain futuristic guns would be making a comeback and particular adored guns like the original MP40 or the PPSH would only be included on these earlier maps. It seemed to be only the World at War maps that the community had a problem with.
Now, the good stuff. Each map has been bought over to the next generation of consoles and has been upgraded beyond a shadow of a doubt to include new players who might not have seen these maps before. All the way from Black Ops original map “Kino Der Toten” all the way up to “Origins”, each maps has been meticulously up scaled and made to look more astonishing. Each map plays as well as they used to do on the older games, but with the addition of gobblegum machines and a “Wunderfizz” machine on most maps, gameplay has actually evolved. These elements have also bought varying new difficulties to have on the maps, alongside some laughs that you can have with friends. For the older maps that were released after World at War, mainly the Black Ops maps, the graphics have been astonishingly improved and all the sounds from the maps redone, including voice lines. Maps like Ascension (a Russian Cosmodrone) and Moon have been bought back for fans to enjoy on the PS4 system. Various graphical changes have been made to each such as Moons interior décor being changed to fit more of the story of the previously mentioned “Der Eisendrache” as they both happen alongside each other storywise.
As for the single later map that was released, Origins, which was released just at the end of the PS3/360 lifespan, the developers knew the systems they were working with and could not push the maps any harder. However, this did not stop them from making minor improvements to the graphics and taking this opportunity for balancing things like the four staffs that they player can obtain and the boss of the map the Panzersoldat. I also believe they did this as they knew that the addition of the gobblegum machines would make this more complex map slightly easier. The “Wunderfizz” machine was already in this map when it began and was actually where this particular machine originated, the irony is sweet.
Overall I would recommend this pack to any players that played the original maps but lack the hardware or the company to play them with on those consoles. Those looking for a nostalgia trip would be suggested to steer away from this pack just because of the price tag and the fact that we have already seen 3 of the 8 maps bought back before. Long fans of the mode, and the hidden lore followers, should definitely get this pack, they will love it as much as I do. However, as each of the new remastered maps allows for XP gain, Liquid Divinium gain and the old, unchanged Easter eggs to be completed, the map pack is one that I know I and many other players have sunk many hours into over the past 3 days. The “Zombie Chronicles” map pack is a testament to how a studio should reward fans and how they can show their appreciation of them. It is currently available on PS4 for £25/$30 and requires the base game “Black Ops III” to play.
- Old Classic Maps Return
- Graphic Improvements
- Perks and Gobblegums on Every Map
- Story Easter Eggs Remain
- Smaller Easter Eggs Have Been Added
- £25 Price Tag May Be Steep
- 3/8 Maps Have Already Been Redone Twice
- Some Features Don't Work Well In Older Maps
- Missing Gun Wallbuys For Some Guns in The Box