The second DLC for Call ofDuty: Black Ops III, Eclipse, came out on Xbox One and PC last week, and I wanted to quickly go over my thoughts on the four new multiplayer maps added in. I’ve played each map a couple times, both in Hardcore and Core modes, and in a couple different game types as well.
Let’s start with what is I think the weakest of the new maps: Knockout. It’s got a really unique visual look, with the traditional Asian architecture, but I think that’s the high point with the map. There are a lot of tight, short hallways, which play into the new weapon meta I’ve been seeing lately of the powerful one-hit weapons like the Marshal and KRM. I did really enjoy it on Domination, mainly because the three points are put in perfect spots – they’re open enough to be attacked from a few directions, making posting up camps to defend trickier. There are a couple longer sightlines, mainly around the center area where weapons like the Sheiva and snipers can work well, and the outer paths also provide some alternate routes to avoid the corner shotgun/SMG party. I think it’s a map that, with some spawn tweaking and playing in an Objective mode can be fun, but isn’t as flexible as some others.
Moving up one spot, we get Spire. Spire is the one I’ve played the least I would say, but I think it’s got a couple really high points. It’s got good mid-range sightlines for longer range engagements, while still having plenty of close range spots for intense action. I know that I complained a lot about that with Knockout, but I think Spire does a better job of balancing the ranges. It’s got great outside lanes for flanking around, there are lots of crossing paths as well for crossfires. I also really like how much cover is on this map – it feels a bit like this map is better played boots-on-ground, not thrust jumping around. You have pillars that you can use for cover, there are plenty of waist-high walls as well. Some of the pathways are a little confusing, especially the ones that lead outside from A and C Dom – it just feels like they should lead to the overlook window to me. It’s another really good Domination map, but one that I think works well on slayer modes as well.
The last two maps definitely impressed me, especially compared with the first set of DLC. First, Rift is a really good stretch map. Yes, it’s got lots of interior rooms where those one-hit power weapons can do well, but it’s also balanced with the pretty long exterior lanes. Each exterior lane also has a long wall-run that can put you right behind the enemy almost immediately off the spawn if they aren’t paying attention. As a run-and-gun flanking kind of player, I love when maps have those kinda sneaky, quick routes on them.I played this one on Safeguard, and while I don’t really love Safeguard in general, I think it worked pretty well. The defense actually can set up and stand a chance should the robot get near the objective. Compared with the first two maps, I think this is one that pretty much every gun in the game works on. Knockout might be too rushed for the slower LMGs and snipers, while Spire just plays too fast for some of the slower killing weapons. This one has spots where any weapon works, and can work really well. I did just damn fine with the Shieva on it working on headshots.
That said, my favorite map though is Verge. Verge is the remake map in this DLC set, this time of a World at War map, which is nice since that’s the only Call of Duty I never played. This is also where everything I said about Knockout feels a little dirty, because those same tight corners and lanes I complained about there are what make Verge my favorite. It’s got two lanes that are right on top of each other it feels like – with the middle lane defined by a really narrow bridge, littered with cover. There are plenty of small, tight corners where those who feel compelled can camp with one-hit kill weapons. But the map honestly just plays too fast to get away with that. The lanes, while they are narrow, are also stretched out – they feel a lot longer than you might initially think; and as such, snipers and LMGs and the Shieva all can do some serious work here. A good shot can really control a whole lane without too much effort – there’s enough cover to move from point to point while avoiding counter sniping. But there are enough side routes around too where flanking is easy enough, and the caves in particular are great for running melee weapons in.
Overall, I really like this set of maps better than the first DLC pack, Awakening. Awakening’s maps I think are overall visually more stimulating, but they all felt like they had one little thing that kept them from standing out, minus Skyjacked. Guardian has some real bad camping issues, facilitated by the map layout; Rise could be great if it was ever came up in the map rotation, and Splash just feels like it’s got too much going on. I actually think even Knockout is better than that first set of maps. Sure, this could just be positive thoughts because this new set literally just came out, but we’ll see. We’re starting to get to the point with Black Ops III where needs to keep up this trend of adding great things to the game to keep the player count high through the summer. This is usually the time where people hit the games they missed from last year, but this year we’ve already got three huge launches this month alone, two of which definitely are competitive FPS games. We’ll see what’s next as we get closer to Infinite Warfare this fall.