Call of Duty: Black Ops – Annihilation Review: Is It Worth Buying?

Cover art for Call of Duty: Black Ops - Annihilation, featuring a soldier with his face obscured pointing two pistols downward.

Call of Duty: Black Ops – Annihilation Review: Is It Worth Buying?

Call of Duty: Black Ops‘ last map pack was extraordinary because it was so much more than a bundle of new maps. The four competitive maps were great, but the highlight of the pack was its incredible Call of the Dead zombie level that featured horror icons like Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger) and a cameo by legendary Night of the Living Dead director George Romero. Needless to say, Treyarch’s 2011 DLC map pack, Call of Duty: Black Ops – Annihilation, has a stratospherically high bar to live up to. Does it? Well, not completely.

That’s not to say this pack isn’t fun, because it is. It’s just that it’s lacking any factors that make it especially unique or a must-have. Black Ops superfans don’t need to be told that they need this pack, since many of them will have already bought it, but the rest of you may want to read on to see if this is something you actually need.

Promotional art for the Call of Duty: Black Ops - Annihilation map Hangar, featuring a soldier firing a gun.
The marketing promos failed to live up to the hype.

Gives Discount Area 51 Vibes

The first of the four competitive maps is Hangar 18, set in the infamous hangar in New Mexico’s secretive Area 51 air base, the site of numerous conspiracy theories regarding aliens. In fact, the map was originally supposed to be called Area 51, but even with all the connotations that name brings, the actual map is mostly grounded in the real world; don’t count on seeing any cool alien weapons or spacecraft. The map’s focal point is the iconic Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, which players can climb on and mess around with but that is the most interaction possible from a player. Aside from the plane, there are a few interesting areas on this map, including a room filled with alien bodies covered with sheets. Overall, it’s pretty fun to explore but looks and plays much like the other maps. Other than a few neat things to look at when players aren’t being shot at by other players, there’s no real effect on gameplay.

Silo is the second map and, despite its large size, there’s little going for it. Pretty often a missile will launch during battle, but it doesn’t affect gameplay like it does in the Launch map that was released with the base game. There are plenty of routes to flank enemies, so it’s crucial to check your six pretty often or have someone with you for cover, but overall this map is a little too similar to other maps. 

Promotional art from the Call of Duty: Black Ops - Annihilation map pack, featuring a soldier holding a gun with golf flags blowing in the breeze behind him.
Treyarch really spent all of the marketing money on fancy posters instead of gameplay.

A Diamond in the Rough

The third map, dubbed Hazard, is the highlight of the pack. It takes place on a broken-down cliffside golf course that was obviously a gorgeous country club in its time. Even though it’s a fairly small map, talented snipers will be able to find a few favorite spots to take out unsuspecting enemies. This is the only map that manages to offer something different to look at, while also allowing you to mix up your strategies a bit. Parts of it are wide open, there is a bit of verticality to it with different levels to play on, and there are more than a couple of good places to hide. 

The final competitive map is the modestly-sized Drive-In level. This map forces you to get up close and personal more often than not. That’s not to say it doesn’t give you options, because there are both tight corridors for close-quarters combat and handy perches for snipers. One particular area offers a view of most of the map and is sure to become a favorite spot for long-ranged enthusiasts. More observant players might notice an Easter egg in the level’s arcade: the games are named after the game’s maps and even one that’s called “Call of Duty: World at War.”

Screenshot from Call of Duty: Black Ops - Annihilation, showing a soldier pointing his gun at an enemy from a first person perspective.
Breach team this is the moneybags for Call of Duty.

Is It Worth It?

Overall, while players who have grown tired of running around on older levels may get some enjoyment out of Call of Duty: Black Ops – Annihilation’s new maps, those who have yet to have their fill of the core gameplay may want to wait until this one is on sale.

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