Let me start this review by picking at an old wound. Since the first downloadable map pack for Modern Warfare 2, people have complained endlessly about why Activision would choose to charge such a high price for what they argue is so little content. Until the Rezurrection pack, I have defended their choice to charge so high. So long as people are willing to pay 1200 points, they will charge that price.
Though I can’t say that with the Rezurrection pack. While the other map packs offered hours of extended gameplay for the multiplayer mode, Rezurrection offers only one piece of truly original content. Sure, the four Zombie maps from World At War have been given a fresh coat of paint and a few new weapons to collect here and there, but for all intents and purposes, you are buying content that you already own.
Now don’t get me wrong. As somebody who missed out on the add-ons for World At War, being given the chance to purchase all of the Zombies with none of the multiplayer maps I probably would never play is a great thing. But the fact that you are paying quite a high price for two year old maps is, frankly, a joke. So I want to preface this by saying that if you already own the four World At War maps and don’t plan to play split screen online – a good fair few of you, no doubt – I strongly advice against making a purchase.
And that is where the negativity ends because, if for whatever reason, all the content in this pack is new to you or if you plan on playing the old maps online with a friend locally, you could do a lot worse than picking up Rezurrection. I realize that this is a harsh change in tone but I honestly think all the Zombie maps, almost without exception, are of a high quality. Treyarch put their heart and soul into each and every one of them and, even after hours and hours of testing, I still feel I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what each map is able to offer. At 800 points, this would have been a bargain.
In case you are unfamiliar with the Zombie mode, it generally goes like this: You and three friends spawn with pistols and a set amount of points (with which to purchase new weapons and open doorways). Points increase as you kill swarms of zombies, as does the difficulty. Some levels give you objectives such as turning on the power, while others just have you fighting swarm after swarm of undead scum.
The Moon level begins and, if you’re not a Zombies veteran, ends very quickly. With a huge amount of zombies closing in on your location and only a pistol to defend yourself, you and your teammates must rush to a transporter and defend your position until it powers on. It’s actually something of an adrenalin rush, as far as this sort of game goes. Like previous Zombies maps, there is plenty to explore. Expect lots of funny dialogue from the main characters, a few well-hidden Easter eggs and plenty of difficult spots to get out of.
The transporter powers on and you find yourself on a base on the moon. Your character begins choking and you must find a helmet in order to breathe. It’s hilarious, if not a little mean, to watch people new to the game die repeatedly because they don’t realise what they are supposed to do. The level then continues as any other Zombies level would, with one major difference – the gravity has been turned down.
When you shoot a zombie with a shotgun, he flies across the room. When you run too fast up a flight of stairs, you find yourself unable to stop when you reach the top and you are likely to overshoot your target. This sounds like such a simple variation on the original premise, but it changes the rules completely. It perhaps makes it a little slower paced and a little easier, but all that much more fun.
As your levels increase, you come across a new zombie type, phasing zombies. These creatures appear and disappear before your eyes, rapidly moving and testing your concentration. Get surrounded by a few phasers and you may literally not know what hit you.
Astronaut zombies are the second new zombie type, an odd combination of a space man and George Romero from Call of the Dead. These monsters walk slowly towards you, grabbing you if they can. Then they head butt you and you appear randomly elsewhere around the map. I’m not sure how it works either, but it sure as hell gives you an incentive to kill the thing.
The oddest point about these new zombies is the fact that it will show the name of one of the host’s friends above the astronaut’s head. This is to throw you, but it only works once, for about a second, and then you know exactly what to expect. Even after playing through several times, I’m still not certain exactly why this happens.
On top of the Moon map, you get yourself a nice looking Moon theme for your 360 and a download code for the soundtrack, which may or may not be of interest to you. There are no stand-out songs on there and I wouldn’t ever sit and listen to the album as a whole, but it’s a nice bonus and I’m sure there are things to cherry pick from it.
The rest of the Rezurrection pack consists of four World At War maps, made previously available to people who bought the Hardened or Prestige edition of Black Ops – those people should now have free access to the Moon level, theme and soundtrack.
Nacht der Untoten is the map that started it all. Taking place in a small house which you must defend with your life, its size often means there is little distance between you and your enemy. Unlike later Zombies maps, you do not have a particular objective beyond staying alive. But with nowhere to run, staying alive is difficult enough.
Verrückt takes place in an asylum, complete with zombies who look like they’ve had their heads cut open. It was the second released Zombies map and the first with any sort of plot. Probably the driest of all the levels, this was a show of things to come and the later maps improved the premise.
Shi No Numa is set in a swamp, surrounded by thick foliage. It’s a little more intense than the Verrückt map, but much less specific. You are left to explore the locations as you choose to do so, not forced to complete objectives in a specific order.
Der Riese is the most realised of the World at War maps. The layout is excellent and the objective is interesting – if not so difficult that I’ve never managed to do it. There are so many strategic points in this map that, if you get in a decent game, teamwork can be a thing of beauty.
Graphically, each map has been improved and it really does show. It’s not just a polish here and there, but every nook and cranny seems to look better. As well as this, expect Cold War era weapons to appear in the mystery boxes splattered around. Not huge improvements, but enough that the die-hard fans who can’t say no to a new map pack will notice.
When the original Zombies map surprised (and rewarded) people who finished World at War, I didn’t know anybody who thought for a second that it would grow to be what it is – a premise so popular that Treyarch are confident in releasing an entire pack based around it. It’s just a shame that by handling Rezurrection like they have, it is destined to become just another argument for people who dislike the series. This is the real test of Call of Duty’s pulling power. How much are we willing to pay for one new map?
If the amount of players playing Zombies online today is anything to go by, 1200 MSP may not have been too much.
Rezurrection offers the Zombie maps available from World At War for people who missed them the first time round and the Moon level, thanks to the lowered gravity, is more fun than you’d expect, offering a great chance to blast Zombies into space.