Salvation, the fourth and final Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 map pack, is now available for players on Xbox One and PC. The Salvation DLC features four new multiplayer maps, as well as a final map for Zombies mode called Revelations. The Salvation DLC itself costs $14.99, but players who own the season pass can download the content right away. PlayStation 4 players have already gotten to enjoy this content for a while now, as the Salvation DLC released for PS4 exactly a month ago in accordance with Activision’s exclusivity deal.
Only two of the four maps in the DLC are newly created maps specifically for Black Ops 3. The first map is called Citadel, and as the name suggests, it features an ancient abandoned castle, equipped with a moat and drawbridge for added thematic fun. The other original map is called Micro, but we choose to refer to this one as “Honey, I Shrunk the Soldiers.” Micro takes a goofier approach to the typical Call of Duty map layout, as it features a miniature battleground atop a picnic table. Players must take cover behind oversized soda bottles and food items while hunting down their equally tiny opponents.
Out of the four new multiplayer maps included in Salvation, two of them are remakes of popular maps from previous Call of Duty games. One of these reworked maps is called Outlaw, which is a western-themed version of Standoff from Black Ops 2. The other revised map, Rupture, is a futuristic version of the World at War map named Outskirts.
While some players may still glean some sense of nostalgia from rehashed maps, this has become a somewhat annoying trend over the past few Call of Duty games. Regurgitating old maps into “new” DLC content only perpetuates the idea that each Call of Duty game is the same as the last, with no new innovations to keep players coming back.
Reselling old maps as new gives an impression of laziness, as if the developers feel it’s not worth the effort it would take to design all the DLC maps from scratch for the sake of creating fresh content with that particular game in mind. This is asking relatively little, especially considering the resources a company like Activision has at its disposal. While season passes and timed exclusives may work to pad their bottom line, it’s actions like these that further tarnish the already rusty reputations that both Call of Duty and Activision have acquired over the years.
New multiplayer maps may appeal to some, but the real selling point of the Salvation DLC is the highly-anticipated Zombies mode map, Revelations. Revelations concludes the journey of the original Origins quartet: Richtofen, Dempsey, Takeo, and Nikolai. The four beloved zombie killers must face off against mysterious creatures and evil forces while keeping hobbling zombies at bay, all in an attempt to unveil the true identity of the elusive Doctor Monty. Revelations pays homage to the COD: Zombies legacy by incorporating portions of previous well-known Zombies locations into one giant map, equipped with teleporters for ease of navigation.
Although we just went on a brief diatribe about how annoying rehashed maps can be in Call of Duty, the use of familiar map locations in Revelations is admittedly a nice touch. Revelations conveys just the right amount of nostalgia for long-time fans who have been slaying zombies since the days of World at War, while also including newer thematic elements that fit with the aesthetic and progression that Zombies has developed over the years. Revelations is chock full of complex Easter Eggs, secrets, and surprises for players looking to discover every juicy detail before wrapping up Origins for good.
Whether it’s fully exclusive games or just DLC with time constraints, the concept of timed exclusives is nothing new. It is a tactic that video game companies like to use to feign the idea that a console or a particular piece of content is somehow better than the competition, enough to warrant exclusivity. The cycle of timed exclusives will prevail as long as people vote with their wallets for this practice to continue. However, in the end this is a relatively minor issue for those who have enough patience to wait.
The Salvation DLC for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 is available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Season pass holders can download the DLC now, otherwise it costs $14.99 to purchase separately.