COD: Black Ops Escalation Map Pack

10 Overall Score

Written by on April 14, 2011 in

Release date: May 3, 2011
Price:  1,200 msp / $14.99

The Escalation map pack for Call of Duty: Black Ops is finally here so grab your noob tube and lock and load to prepare yourself for the action.  “Escalation” is the second map pack to be released for Call of Duty: Black Ops, the first being “First Strike.”  Although I never played the previous map pack, I can definitely say that “Escalation” has it where it counts.  The map pack includes four new multiplayer maps; Zoo, Convoy, Hotel and Stockpile.  Also included in the pack is one new Zombie map called “Call of the Dead” which is probably the best one yet.  Let’s start by giving a rundown of the maps.


Zoo is a great map with a lot of character. It is set in Russia and is in terrible disarray as if it hasn’t seen people in over 20 years.  In the map, you will traverse empty animal habitats such as lions dens and aquariums.  This setting is unique and adds a twist to the combat as there are many secret paths and hiding places to spring an assault on your enemy.  I understand that because the zoo is vacant, there wouldn’t be animals around, but it would have been cool to see.


Convoy is a large map that is set in a suburb circa 1960s with a freeway running through it.  As far as the setting is concerned, the detail is really amazing from the diner to the gas station. The level really makes you feel like you are actually in the time period.  From a gameplay standpoint, Convoy is very sniper friendly as there are many billboards and high places in which to snipe from so if sniping is your strong suit then Convoy is the map for you.


Set in the 1960s in Cuba, this hotel and casino feels oddly eerie, almost as if life suddenly came to a halt when the match started.  Everywhere in the map, you will find half drunk glasses and cigars resting in ash trays which are still smoking.  The detail presented in this level is masterful and really carries over a sense of realism. Hotel is a semi-close quarters map which mostly takes place in a casino although it does have the open aired pool area.  This setting feels very similar to that of Rainbow Six Vegas, but still retains that  unique COD feel.  Included in the level are elevators which seem helpful, but can very easily become death traps so be careful. Hotel is probably one of the best maps in this pack and should be experienced by all.


Last, but not least, there is Stockpile, a very large map which is set in a town-like setting with some warehouses.  The town seems to be European or Russian and is covered in snow. The map features a lot of hiding places in amongst the buildings, but one of the coolest things is that the large doors to the warehouses can be closed or opened, changing the flow of combat.  Out of all the maps, Stockpile seems to lack the uniqueness that the other maps possess, but it’s still a very fun map to play in.

After you’ve tried out the new multiplayer maps, it’s time for you to dive into the new zombie map titled “Call of the Dead,” an obvious spoof of the classic “Dead” movies by director George A. Romero, but there’s a reason for that.

Call of the Dead” Zombie Map

Call of the Dead” is not your run of the mill Call Of Duty zombie map, it’s so much more as it actually has a story of its own.  As you begin, you are treated to a cut scene which features our heroes: Danny Trejo, Robert Englund, Michael Rooker and Sarah Michelle Gellar.  Wait! What’s going on here? Is this just the credits for the voice actors? Actually no, these ARE the characters. Yep, we get to play the game as these actual actors. But wait! It gets weirder!  The story begins as the actors are filming a zombie movie which is being directed by none other than the Zombie Grand Daddy himself, George A. Romero, but things go horribly wrong as real zombies start attacking the movie set and eventually take out poor George.

This is where we pick up in the gameplay as we witness George rise from a pool of icy water looking very pissed off.  Right from the start, we know that George is not himself and we’re gonna have to fight him, but that’s no easy task as George is very strong and we also have to contend with the zombie hoard at the same time.  Clearly, this is the hardest zombie map to date, but it’s also the most entertaining.

There is an awesome easter egg in this zombie map which features the original Call Of Duty zombie heroes who are stuck in a sealed room. Although you can’t see them, they will give you a series of tasks in order to save them.  It’s up to you want to do this extra quest, but if you decide to do it, make sure you know that the zombies won’t stop coming so be prepared.

The achievements tied into the map pack are all related to the zombie mode and are probably the hardest ones yet.  One achievement requires you to kill George, which is actually very hard to do, while the others require you to save the original survivors in co-op and in single player (doing it in co-op will unlock both single player and co-op achievements).  During my play time for this review, I have yet to unlock an achievement so if you are an achievement hunter, beware!

Overall, the Escalation map pack is a very good add on for Call of Duty:  Black Ops.  The four multiplayer maps are awesome and will add many hours of playtime with all your Call Of Duty friends, but the meat and potatoes of the map pack is the zombie mode.  Call of the Dead is amazing and should be experienced by everyone.  It’s clear that Treyarch is evolving the zombie mode to make it a deeper and more engaging experience and it wouldn’t surprise me if we see a stand alone Call Of Duty zombie game in the near future. I would recommend this pack just for the Call of the Dead zombie mode alone, it’s great fun that will keep you entertained for hours, days, and even months.

A download code for the Escalation map pack was provided to The Married Gamers for evaluation and review.



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Author: Miles Messenger View all posts by
I'm a 28 year old guy who enjoys all things gaming. I am married to a wonderful woman who is working on a career as a published author and I'm so proud of her for all that she's accomplished. For my day job, I am a supervisor at a Home Warranty company. It's not the greatest job, but it brings in the bacon.

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