Black Ops 2 Vengeance DLC: worth buying?

Wednesday, 3 July 2013 08:00 GMT By Dave Cook

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is the third DLC pack for Treyarch’s near-future shooter. VG247′s Dave Cook takes the new maps and Zombie campaign for a spin and asks if the pack’s worth buying.

Missed my appraisals of the previous Black Ops 2 DLC packs? Go here:

We’re now three DLC packs in to Treyarch’s year ‘on duty’, and while the Black Ops 2 content stream has had its ups-and-downs there’s been a notable improvement over Modern Warfare 3′s season of bland maps.

Vengeance has continued the studio’s run of well-planned maps that cater to all play styles, and if anything this pack further underlines Treyarch’s fun approach to design. What it lacks are the environmental hazards that make maps like Hydro and Express fun to play, opting to plonk you in yet more static locales with little to do but run around shooting each other as per normal.

With Call of Duty: Ghost now promising dynamic multiplayer events such as a collapsing skyscraper in debut map ‘Free Fall’, I’m sure the series will ramp up environmental threats further in next-gen, but it would have been nice to see Treyarch bring more hazards into play to really shake up the formula. If anything it makes me miss that bastard train from Express even more.

Either way, the maps on offer here aren’t lazy by any means. I’m always impressed at how Treyarch makes almost entirely new assets for each of its DLC maps, casting a brighter spotlight on Modern Warfare 3′s lazy cut-and-paste jobs with each new pack. But enough waffle, let’s fire on shall we?


This is a remake of Summit from the original Black Ops. You may remember it as the snow map with the ski lifts and radio control room that literally everyone in the world fought over. Literally. Well now it’s a mountain-top Drone lab in Myanmar, which is also where the on-disc map ‘Drone’ is set, so I’m guessing this map is set high above the other facility.

If anything this map serves to underline just how far Black Ops 2′s visuals have come since the original game, with plenty of stormy rain effects battering the environment that curb long-term vision. Thermal scopes are to be advised if you’re going for long range kills, and as seen in the previous game, explosives are your friend if you’re storming the central room.

Speaking of which, the central room at flag B is now a server hub with computer workstations. Interestingly, the back exit and set of steps that used to lead down to the ski-lifts on Summit are now gone, which means there’s one less entry point to the central area.

It’s still a well-designed map, encompassing both high-tech drone lab areas and ancient ruins into one intense battleground. In Domination mode, the middle room remains a hotbed of death and destruction. Enter at your peril, and be sure to use the sneaky concealed walkways by the cliff edge to your advantage. It’s another great remake from Treyarch.


At first I thought Detour was an homage to Convoy, the ruined highway map in the first Black Ops, but it’s much more complex. It’s set on a ravaged suspension bridge in New York, and it’s a terribly difficult map to wrap your head around. There are two levels running up the middle – the road surface with scattered cars, and the maintenance walkways below – as well as lethal potholes leading to the ocean beneath.

The corridors running under the map and along the sides make for great sniper and long range battles, but there are many entry points to the sides, making ambushes a constant threat. You can be spotted from many angles most of the time, and so far I’ve seen many people popping smoke to cover their tracks. It’s a great strategy in both Team Deathmatch and Domination, as it genuinely causes disorientation.

Annoyingly, I was spawn killed several times in one game alone, typically from the entrance to maintenance tunnels by both team’s starting point. The map needs fixed as soon as possible, but I can already see its potential in Domination, thanks to the flat, wide middle section with toll booths on either sides. I can see some decent exchanges happening there. It’s an average map, and a proper head-scratcher until you memorise the layout.

Now this is a deceptive map. On the face of it, this tropical island is just a beach with some rocks and plane debris scattered around. While lovely to look at it just feels really uninspired – that is – until you try it in Domination, then it all starts to make sense. It’s basically a circle with an elevated middle, and this is where flag B lies.

What you’ll notice is that there’s very little in the way of low cover, and no thin corridors save for a plane fuselage in the middle. Each stretch is wide open, which makes each sprint between cover potentially fatal and this is what makes the tension in strategic game modes so tangible.

Plus, when you spawn back in during Domination, you’re never too near any flag, meaning you’re constantly running to wrench control back from your enemies, making for many exhilarating matches. This is definitely a case of map design that was built in the ‘less is more’ frame of mind, and it really works.

What’s more, Cove is compatible with any style of play. Even though the paths are wide and long, they’re also bumpy, which means snipers can’t just hang back and score cheap kills at long range. They actually have to move with the pack to get a good shot at you. It may seem shit at first but stick with it and you should start to see the appeal.

Well, for starters Rush takes place in a paintball centre, which already makes it brilliant, but this is easily the best map Vengeance has to offer. Not only is it made up of entirely new assets, it has memorable areas that each demand a different play-style. You really need to switch up your approach to distance and movement in different zones, making this something of an open-invite skirmish.

There’s an indoor arena with soft play scenery that is so tightly packed together it means you’re potentially never too far from an enemy. Shotguns and SMGs rule here. Outside there is an open air arena full of wooden structures and a paint-splattered bus that recalls the bus section in Aftermath, but again with lots of tight cover.

Also outside you’ll find a raised fort that gives a great height advantage, but is full of entry points to put would-be campers at the mercy of others. Then you have the paintball store and car park, which are both close-quarters and mid-range respectively. Within seconds your range of vision can go from stunted to wide depending on where you run, and you’re never truly hidden from view.

This is one of those joyous maps where you always have to keep on running to increase your chances of survival. Stop for a second and you could find yourself drilled full of holes, just like in Nuketown, but without the constant grenade spam. Speaking of which, Flak Jacket is your friend in this absolutely superb map.

Buried (Zombies)
Finally, Buried is the latest Black Ops 2 ‘Zombies’ campaign, and it sends a group of survivors tumbling underground to a ruined Wild West village, hidden for centuries under miles of rock and sand. The idea of tooling around an Old West environment may seem like a barrel of laughs, but previous map Mob of the Dead was always going to be a hard act to follow, and Buried simply can’t compete.

What made ‘Mob’ so interesting was its ghost mechanic, that let players enter the spiritual realm and fly around as an apparition to activate switches and more. In Buried, you’re back to the usual chores of boarding up walls, buying weapons and running around clueless as to what it is you actually have to do for the first ten play-throughs.

The village is also so dark that it makes visibility a real problem, and it also deprives the environment of colour, making it feel gloomy and lacking in character. Sure it’s got a quirky setting, but there was something so inviting about Mob of the Dead’s overrun Alcatraz that really lent it weight, but here I just felt bored.

Zombies die-hards will no doubt love it, but I kept wanting to return to Mob of the Dead instead, thanks to both the ghost mechanic and ace cast. Here you have a B-movie list of characters – wise old guy, feisty tough girl, the nerd and another guy along for the ride. I just felt that Treyarch had boxed itself into a corner with ‘Mob’ and Buried does little to help it escape.

Worth getting?

So, is Vengeance worth getting? Well, just like Revolution and Uprising there is a noticeable lack of re-used assets, so once again Treyarch deserves full credit in the effort department. However, I really feel that Buried is a let-down after Mob of the Dead, and the lack of environmental hazards in multiplayer is a repeatedly missed opportunity to do something memorable.

Those gripes aside, it’ll take many more sessions to convince me that Detour is more than just an impressive-looking locale, as I felt it was a bit by the numbers. Those spawn kills also need weeded out. Uplink may be a remake of Summit, but it’s still superb, while both Cove and Rush are great additions to the series.

Vengeance is the weakest of the Black Ops 2 DLC packs so far, but fans will still get a big kick out of it. It can be yours on Xbox Live now for 1,200 points, or free to season pass holders. PC and PS3 release dates are coming soon.


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  1. Francis O

    Nope, not worth it.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Lengendaryboss

    Have you played it? No? STFU.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Hcw87

    Ofcourse it’s not worth it. The Battlefield 3 map packs gave you as many maps, more vehicles, more weapons, assignments, dog tags and game modes, for the SAME price.

    CoD map packs will NEVER be worth 1200MS points. 800 is the sweet spot.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dave Cook

    @3 I think most readers know that I adore CoD, and I’m also a big Battlefield fan too, because it’s possible to like both at the same time.

    But even I agree that 1,200 is too much for CoD DLC, and yes DICE adds much more weight to its DLC each time.

    However, I like Black Ops 2 so more maps is fine by me, whatever keeps me coming back for more. The Season Pass is actually worth it based on these ludicrous prices, as initially expensive as it seems.

    I hope Activision encourages Infinity Ward to add more content to its Ghosts DLC next year. It simply has to happen or BF4′s DLC will likely walk all over them.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Hcw87

    The thing is that CoD map packs/season pass will never be on sale, like BF3 was. You could even grab the season pass for 50% off some time ago, with the game also being heavily discounted.

    It’s corporate greed at its worst, and i will never support it by buying anything other than the base game if i ever buy a cod game.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. ps3fanboy

    the question should not be ‘is it worth to buy?’ it should be ‘buy or not buy?’ because when there is no option to turn on or off the dlc in the game. you will be facing a drastic loss of players to play with, if you only buy one of the dlc packs. you may end up going from 500.000 to 10.000 players to play with. it is totally idiotic not to have an option in the game to turn on or off the dlc. after all in mw3 you can do this…. when it comes to blkops2 its buy them all or none.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Francis O


    Why don’t you come make me?

    You’re too scared to even talk to me face to face. So please, I won’t STFU….chump, grow a pair and talk to me face to face keyboard warrior.

    I’ve played COD before, and the game sucks, therefore the DLC sucks as well.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Lengendaryboss

    I am sick and tired of seeing your annoying “shooter” generalization pop up on every single shooter article. Its not about being scared, its about not giving a damn: its about not caring for online video debates that does not equal scared, but stick to your opinion. Your opinion of me BTW doesn’t mean anything to me.

    Last sentence opinion not true: Why does the game suck? Why do you make the assumption the DLC sucks? Why do shooters suck/are lame? That is why I see your petty “lame” “sucks” as generalizations and opinions without no substance.

    If you actually answered those questions I would accept and respect your opinion.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. ps3fanboy

    Legendarychump come on now grow a pair you big keyboard warrior :D

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Francis O


    Just Bring it chump

    If my opinion means nothing to you then stop comment stocking me chump. You reply to ever F*cking comment I make on here. Stop lying to yourself, you get pissed when I make comments that you don’t like cause you like all of these garbage ass, rebaked, First person shooters, that do the same thing as everybody else.

    And that’s bullsh*t, you’re scared. You reply to every comment I make then tell me to STFU? Bring then chump, your waffer thin arguments would get destroyed anywhere outside of the VG247 message boards….but you’re a chump with no ambition so you’ll stay here and wine like a little b*tch.

    Call of Duty Sucks, the DLC sucks, and most first person shooters suck.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. manamana

    He’s off his chump.

    /dolphin dives the next window

    #11 2 years ago
  12. ps3fanboy

    @10 Francis O, here i was thinking i was the only one that was stalked by the Legendarychump…. and now i see the chump are stalking others too. CHUMP YOU ARE CHEATING ON ME, I DEMAND YOU STOP STALKING OTHERS NOAW! :D

    #12 2 years ago
  13. SplatteredHouse

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Lengendaryboss

    @PS3fanboy + Francis
    Are you sure you two aren’t the same person? Very mysterious.

    Your opinion of ME means nothing to ME. I don’t get pissed read first sentence at 8 below that is what do you know? another generalization. Second paragraph again read 8 paragraph 1. The rest lets see i don’t care virtual strangers or popularity what in gods name would i want to chase after ambition in front of virtual strangers, the fact that you do just echoes sadness. Well you whine about shooters so wouldn’t that make you what you call me.

    Last sentence look back at my questions. In fact look carefully at 8 before coming back for are rebuttal.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. OrbitMonkey

    I prestiged 10(?) times, got a few diamond camo’s, all before the 1st dlc & just stopped playing.

    I’d need fresh challenges to go back.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Lengendaryboss

    @12 You know there are rare times when you are genuinely funny LOL :D This is one time.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. ps3fanboy

    14@ Legendarychump, i can a shure you i am not the o’ mighty Francis… so you can stop this paranoia of yours. by the look of it you get sick,tired and annoyed of anything here at vg247, you shure you feeling well chump?.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Lengendaryboss

    I wouldn’t say its paranoia more of a suspicion. I’m feeling well thanks for asking nope it is just Francis’ generalizations that cause the annoyance, tiredness and sickness.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Francis O


    If you don’t care what I say then stop comment stocking me. Shooters suck, and you’re are scared little bitch if you tell me to STFU, then refuse to talk on my show face to face. Why tell me to STFU if you don’t actually want to do it in front of a big audience?

    Because you’re a Keyboard Warrior. Talk a lot of sh*t and can’t back up one ounce of it…. lol what a chump.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. DrDamn

    @Francis O
    “Call of Duty Sucks, the DLC sucks, and most first person shooters suck.”

    Hold on. I thought all shooters suck?

    #20 2 years ago
  21. Lengendaryboss

    You’re misreading what I am saying: I don’t care about your opinion of ME, whatever you say about ME I don’t give a damn. The rest look at my previous comments. Last sentence don’t preach what you cannot do. Still waiting on an answer to my questions above, irony at its best :D

    I am not even sure its all shooters or just certain FPS, his wording is confusing.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Francis O


    - Goldeneye on the N64 was cool
    - Perfect Dark was cool
    - COD 4 -2007 was revolutionary at the time.
    - Timesplitters
    - Halo 1 on the Xbox

    All of these were innovative or unique when they launched. However, shooters have failed to evolve and pray on stupid gamers actually thinking they are getting something new.

    The Darkness 2 was also a fantastic shooter. It did some really cool stuff with the Darkness powers and upgrades. I wish more FPS were like that.


    I suggest you stop telling me to STFU then if you aren’t actually going to do it.

    Why tell me to? To sound tough? Make yourself feel better?

    You sound like a little b*tch. How about you STFU chump.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. ps3fanboy

    @Legendarychump, look at your sentences grammar and punctuation. your worse than a crackwhore hanging outside 7-11 at sundays.. grow a pair will you chump.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Lengendaryboss

    Only said it once, you can’t stop something thats only been stated once and hasn’t been repeated by the original poster. The third question i did make me feel better. Last sentence look at @14 Paragraph 1 last sentence. Don’t make personal digs and in actuality be what you preach its irony and hypocrisy at its finest moment.

    Edit: In fact you used the STFU phrase more than i have.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Djoenz

    Oh man what the hell is wrong with you people xD!
    Bunch of nerds the lot of ya.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. DrDamn

    @Francis O
    Yesterday you said all shooters(*) suck. You also wander into every single shooter thread with sarcastic comments on games you know little about and haven’t even played.

    (*) Where shooters are very loosely defined as any game with an aiming reticle and you shoot stuff.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Lengendaryboss

    Where do you get these scenarios? Its distributing and slightly funny. Hmmm my suspicion grows.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Lengendaryboss

    Nerds? hmmm i know one person on VG247 that uses that phrase.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. Djoenz

    Oh boy not those multi-account theory nonsense again I hope :tehe:Actually I came online to find out if there is a PSN maintencance going on.. I totally forgot to log in beforehand ..

    Im in the mood to play some BO2 and shoot some people in the head or butt or ballz..hell yeah..

    You mean Da Man? Oh hell no! dont associate me with that lowlife. I mean no actual harm I love all peoplez on the webz!!

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Lengendaryboss

    Not an implication but a similarity. There are a lot people with similarities to others.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. ps3fanboy

    @29 Djoenz, yes looks like the Legendarychump is working overtime with the multi-account conspiracy theories. like a mexcian border escapist at mcdonalds with a 2 dollar per hour payments..

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Djoenz

    I hear ya bro. You oughta cut Francisco some slack though lmao. I came online and saw you 2 at it again and I was like oh noooo not againnnnn.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Djoenz

    Yo Fanboy whats up with PSN/SEN? I cant play my dosis of Black Ops Deuce!

    #33 2 years ago
  34. ps3fanboy

    @Djoenz, i have no problem with blkops here at my place must be your networks/isp…

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Lengendaryboss

    Seriously you need to tell me where you get these scenarios from, were you involved as the escapee? :D

    I try hard to ignore it but its annoying he comes onto every shooter thread preaching his hatred for shooters with his annoying sarcasm, generic generalizations and anything else. He doesn’t state why he hates each shooter he just palms off generalizations from other shooters and thats his basis. I hate COD but did i come to this thread to let that become public knowledge? No.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. Francis O


    I tell you to STFU because I’m not afraid to say it to your face. I’m not a keyboard warrior. I’ll debate any “virtual stranger” If they want to talk to me.

    You the on other hand, hide behind VG247….like a chump. Grow a pair and step outside the message boards chump.

    So like I said, unless you intend on actually making me STFU, don’t say it to me cause your words are nothing but VG247 Keyboard Warrior threats.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. Ireland Michael

    It’s like a bloody schoolyard in here.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. ps3fanboy

    @Ireland Michael, Francis O is from india and you dont kid around with that guy, if you don’t have a pair to grow… just saying.

    #38 2 years ago
  39. Lengendaryboss

    Last Paragraph you said what i said at 21, i had to make it abundantly clear though. You can’t say it to my face so that point is moot and completely hypothetical, so hypothetical truth. Debating a virtual stranger was not what i was talking about i was using that phrase in reference to your sad addiction to wanting a debate in front of virtual strangers and crowds when that has absolutely no meaning to me or my life.

    Again its not scared its like me not wanting to eat takeaway on a daily basis, does that equal scared? No its equals making good rational sense. You can’t keep asserting i’m scared to debate as it were fact its just your ill-conceived opinion.

    When i provide a reason which i have done many times why i won’t debate you: that is the fact Full Stop. Why? Because until i say otherwise all your doing is pulling ill conceived, untruthful petty lies which is pulled right out of thin air. To end: when i say something in anyway related to myself it is a fact no matter how much you ramble on like an absolutely sad case.

    #39 2 years ago
  40. BrahManDude

    i got burnt out on BLOPS 2 after a month just like every other COD since COD4

    #40 2 years ago
  41. Francis O


    - Grow a pair, or STFU

    #41 2 years ago
  42. Ireland Michael

    @41 Quit acting like a self obsessed schoolyard bully. You don’t get to dictate the behaviour of everyone on the site. Your humongous ego is embarrassing to watch.

    #42 2 years ago
  43. Lengendaryboss


    You will like this one :D


    #43 2 years ago
  44. YoungZer0

    @36: Embarrassing much? Seriously what is it with you? Are you going to be a problem too?

    #44 2 years ago
  45. Francis O

    @Ireland Michael


    Legendarychump starts everything with me. He comment stocks me, and stars arguments for no reason. all I said was the DLC wasn’t worth it and he tells me to STFU?

    So I told him to make me.

    #45 2 years ago
  46. Ireland Michael

    @45 You’re both as bad as each other right now. You could just be the bigger person and walk away from it.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. Francis O

    I Invited Legendarychump to come on my show to say sorry in person and he declined.

    So if he wants to continue to comment stock me….I’m not going to back down. Especially when I just said the DLC isn’t worth it. Why is he picking fights with me?

    #47 2 years ago
  48. Lengendaryboss

    Look at 8, 14, 35 and 26. Give the show thing a rest: You keep stating different reasons for the debate. Now this is where i am stopping this pointless tirade and going on to playing The Last Of Us.

    Peace shooter hater :D

    #48 2 years ago
  49. The Pluth

    @47, not much of a show if you have to get a “keyboard warrior” to say sorry to your face if your audience doesn’t know what the hell is going on. It would confuse them.

    I have decided I will be skipping this DLC at this time because I find myself playing more Halo 4 then Black Ops lately. I may even play some BF3 on PS3 when I get bored. Or even play some more Borderlands 2 on PC. I’m finding the last few DLC packs for MW3 and BLOPS 2 to be too much of the same thing after a while. It feels like I’ve already played some of these maps before although they are new. I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t touch BLOPS 2 again until Ghosts come out. At that point I’ll have to decide if I want it for Xbox 360 or Xbox One.

    #49 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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