Whatever your issues with Call of Duty: Black Ops, you can't mark down Activision Blizzard for lack of post-launch content support. Witness Rezurrection, the fourth and final map pack for the phenomenally successful Black Ops chapter of the leading military FPS franchise. It's a zombie-mode only map pack, featuring five play areas. They've named it with a Z instead of an S because … well, I don't know why, but they've done it. They've also created the most interesting zombie environment to date: Moon.
However, a fair number of avid zombie-mode players gamers may find everything else old news, or mere perks and window dressing. They're nice perks, though. Included for your 1,200 Microsoft points are a Moon-themed wallpaper, plus a download code for all the soundtrack music from the zombies mode. Of course, the Moon wallpaper is what it is — just a change of scenery for where you likely spend the least amount of time using your Xbox 360 — but I appreciate inclusion of the soundtrack as downloadable tracks. Like many others, I have a tidy little collection of original and compilation game soundtracks, going back to when the only viable way to release the music was on compact disc. Digital delivery has made game soundtrack release far less costly for publishers, and I'm glad to see big game houses making use of the distribution channel; I'll admit, as a collector, I sometimes miss the tangibility of a retail CD. The Call of Duty zombie music doesn't alone measure up to the price of the entire package, but I'd grant credit for one-third of the MS Points spent. The same will cost you $7.99 or more via popular outlets like Amazon or Apple's iTunes Store.
The most familiar maps are "remastered" versions of the classic maps from the seminal zombie mode of the World at War title, all gussied up for the more contemporary Black Ops. Included are Nacht der Untoten, the house map that started it all for zombies in Call of Duty. Also here are Shi No Numa, the Pacific island map featuring Japanese infantry zombies; Der Riese, the Nazi experimental facility environment that brought us a new, more dangerous class of zombie, and a new, more awesome class of weapons upgrade vending machine; and finally, Verrückt, a narrative-centric map crawling with crazy German zombies. In Rezurrection, "remastered" means additional weapons and some nicely dolled-up graphics you probably won't have time to notice because you'll be too busy staying alive. These are the same retooled "classic" zombie maps that came with the Hardened and Prestige editions of Black Ops.
Moon is the new thing, and it's quite nice, similar to Verrückt in that it sports a loose narrative. Never fear, though: It's lots of chaotic zombie stomping sprinkled with a bit of story. While the map starts at an earth research facility, you're quickly teleported to an experimental moon base. There are both indoor and outdoor spaces to explore, but you'll need to find and activate an air supply to survive much of even the indoor square footage. Without turning this into a strategy guide, I should mention that, once you teleport to the moon base, you're best to go for a very obvious place in finding the spacesuit, rather than assuming they've hidden it in some obscure crawlspace. Don't run off without it; you'll get dead, but quick.
There are also two new zombies on Moon. One is a speedy demon that can attack and vanish in an instant. The other is a craftier member of the undead elite. His special ability is smashing you in the head, doing damage and teleporting you to a random spot on the map. He's wearing a spacesuit, labeled over his head with the subterfuge of a fake gamertag, so you might take him for one of your teammates. This is cool and weird. It's cool when you're playing with teammates, added even extra wariness to an already pins-and-needles experience. Yet it's really weird playing solo, when out of nowhere this interloper who looks just like an Xbox Live player wanders into your offline game. In either case, beware: The reapers are the astronauts.
Perhaps the most interesting mechanic of the new map is an approximation of the moon's gravity. You have a lighter, loftier step and a slow, bouncy jump; blasted zombies go flying quite a ways. Reduced gravity force changes zombie gameplay to some degree, but you'll quickly adjust.
The unique Moon experience also includes some new weapons and upgrades. The teleporter isn't a one-way deal, either: You can jump back and forth between Earth and the moon to access weapons and power-up machines. Like Shangri-La in the Annihilation release, Moon nearly qualifies as a small game unto itself.
Moon is a tough map, but the hardest thing about it may be deciding to buy it. There are two categories of Call of Duty players who shouldn't buy this map pack: those who loathe zombie mode and those who love it so much they bought the Hardened or Prestige edition of Black Ops. Hardened and Prestige owners, already fixed up with the remastered World at War zombie maps from day one, get the new content — Moon, wallpaper and soundtrack — for free. Standard-edition players who most often compete in multiplayer modes, yet occasionally enjoy a night of zombie-slaying mayhem, might be happy sitting pat; there are no new competitive multiplayer maps in Rezurrection. Moon is a true intrigue, and the package is nicely complete, but when you get right down to it, from a pure gaming stance, it costs 1,200 MS points for one map.
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