As the first map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Treyarch had some pretty high expectations to reach.
The first map pack could be the deciding factor when it comes down to players purchasing the season pass or even coming back to the game after they had abandoned it for the past few months. Awakening is by far the most creative and innovative map pack that any Call of Duty title has received thus far.
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The pack comes with 4 multiplayer maps, Splash, Gauntlet, Skyjacked, and Rise. The pack also comes with the latest zombie mode addition, Der Eisendrache.
Each and every map has its own set of advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of player you are. Gauntlet is divided into 3 lanes, each with its own climate and combat style. The jungle is perfect for sniping and hiding away in the plants as you take enemies out from the shadows. The snow area is small and leaves you out in the open as you sprint across it, and the urban setting is a tight corridor areas with narrow street ways and multiple windows to climb in and out of.
Splash is probably the best map in the pack and takes place in a waterpark filled with slides, swimming pools and lots of colour. It is a fairly large map with tons of camping spots and opportunities to take enemies out with grenades from the distance. It has been crafted extremely well, and really shows off the beauty of the game running on PS4.
Skyjacked pays homage to the classic map Hijacked which was in Black Ops II. This time, instead of it being on the ocean on a luxury boat, it is in the air on a luxurious hovercraft. The map is basically the same as Hijacked, although there are a few ladders missing which are now replaced with walls to just run up to get to the higher levels on the plane. The map also has a few new walls and gaps to make use of the jump and wall-run feature in the game.
Rise is probably our least favourite map as it lacks the presence and excitement that you find in the other maps. It is not a bad map, but it just took longer to come to grips with its corridors and setting which was less exciting than the other maps. It is set in a soon-to-be business park that is clearly on its way to being built. You will run through the offices, scale its outside walls, and even take a dip in the water, which will obviously be a fountain of some sort soon.
Then we have the zombie map, Der Eisendrache, which is the complete opposite of the map that was included in the main game. This time you will venture into an abandoned castle where strange German experiments took place. The setting is reminiscent of a location in Dark Souls, but with guns. There is a slight Medieval theme, and there is even a dragon that eats zombies as they die underneath it. The map is very easy top get around, with the introduction of jump pads which launch you across the map, perfect for when you are in a tough spot. There is always a catch to each new feature, like the jump pads which can only be used once you have powered them up. The Pack-a-Punch which can only be activated if you active each teleported, shifting each piece of the machine from 3, then to 2, then to 1. Basically there is quite a lot to do on the map, with tons of secrets hidden away.
As a package, Awakening is great, and it shows that Treyarch have good intentions as the year begins for current content for Black Ops III. If you do not own it, you should pick it up, it is out now on PS4, and will be hitting Xbox One and PC later in March.