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Call of Duty: Black Ops III - Descent
Score: 80%
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Treyarch
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2 (Local); 2 - 18 (Online)
Genre: Action/First Person Shooter/Online

Comfortably Status Quo:

As sure as the next three months has passed us by, a new downloadable content pack for the latest Call of Duty game has landed at our doorstep. While each release slightly varies in terms of quality, they invariably do not vary in quantity. Four maps and a new episode of Zombies. When it comes right down to it, you already know whether or not you're going to invest in this release; reviews for these kinds of packages are almost to the point of formality. I can say with no hesitation that the maps feature the standard (and welcome) mix of smart design and bizarre premises. While I'm not the target audience for anything Zombies related, it will certainly please longtime fans. So yes, it adheres firmly to the status quo, but it's a tried-and-true status quo.


First, let's talk multiplayer maps. After all, this is where Call of Duty thrives; the often-cited statistics regarding its history are capable of inspiring crippling fears as to where we're going as a species, but spend five minutes with the competitive play, and you'd easily understand why. Call of Duty: Black Ops III -- Descent offers three fresh faces, as well as a bizarre twist on a classic.

Rumble is set in a stadium. Sounds kind of stale to you? Well, I didn't get a chance to explain that this stadium hosts battles between giant robots. The stadium is attractive and colorful, in the sense that it's amazing that it's as clean as it is. I'm not saying it's clean by any stretch, but considering what it plays host to, it's immaculate. It reminds me of the classic Gears of War 3 map Thrashball, but experienced with Black Ops III's verticality. It's great fun.

Berserk takes competitors to a long lost Viking village. Harsh conditions abound, from the frigid snowscape to its hazardous cliffside location. A pair of gargantuan sentinels stand watch over this ghost town, and they cut an imposing figure across the horizon, in the same way that Game of Thrones' Titan of Braavos does. Standards flap in the freezing wind, horns blow in the distance, and the muted color palette helps to deliver a moody, oppressive ambience.

Cryogen feels inspired by the Purgatory sequence from Mass Effect 2; this penitentiary, constructed in the middle of the Dead Sea, features a handful of exterior and interior locations to hold your engagements. The cells may be full, but the inmates are no threat, as not only are you the one with the guns, but they are encased in cryogenic stasis. Most of these map packs feature a distinctly futuristic offering, and this one fits the bill.

Empire rounds out the package with a strange but appealing take on Raid, a fan favorite from Call of Duty: Black Ops II. You see, it's just like Raid, if it was decorated like a villa from the Roman Empire. Strange? Yes. Random? Yes. Awesome? Yes.


Call of Duty: Black Ops III -- Descent features the Zombies episode du jour, Gorod Krovi. As the name may hint to language aficionados, this episode takes place in Russia. Not only that, it takes place at the site of the bloodiest battle in human history, Stalingrad. Over a million people died in that historic place, and while you're certainly not going to do that statistic any favors over the course of this episode, you just might be able to put an asterisk on some of them...

Gorod Krovi is perhaps the wildest that Zombies has gotten since my personal favorite, Shadows of Evil, the insanely creative Lovecraftian horror take that came included with the core game. If you haven't spoiled it for yourself already, the game's art will: there are dragons involved with this episode. Combine that with the robots, and you're guaranteed to have a hell of a time fighting off Group 935's most persistent assault yet.


The way I see it, if you're reading this review, you're interested in Call of Duty DLC, and very likely know what you're getting into. If you've got some confirmation bias that needs justifying, I'll give it to you; this is quality content. However, as always, it's a bit on the costly side for what it offers. It's a nitpick I've had since this system's inception, and it will likely stick with me until I'm dead -- Lord knows Call of Duty will still be around then.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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