You know where you stand with Call of Duty maps. They're usually circular or oval, with neat flanking routes to the left and right, and often a structure or open space in the centre where those brave enough to cross it tend to get caught in the crossfire. Every map is based on design rules set in stone and laid out in a document by Treyarch, and Revolution is their first shot at breaking them.
Corner-strafing is a vital piece of COD strategy, but in the skatepark map Grind, curved surfaces make it a map with few hard angles and lots of exposure. Defensible window lookouts are a COD staple, but at Mirage's hotel sand banks have turned the windows into two-way doors. Snow map Downhill and the Hydro dam both use moving map elements - ski lifts offering mobile cover, and a corridor prone to sudden flooding.
Treyarch has also seized the chance to experiment with Zombies - always Call of Duty's bravest mode. Die Rise is a very tall, thin map, a vertical maze inside a collapsing skyscraper where team mates are easily separated and zombies can easily overwhelm lone players in the cramped corridors.
Finally, Treyarch has meddled with the modes and the very nature of Call of Duty DLC. Turned is Black Ops' zombie-themed take on Tag, while the Peacekeeper SMG is the first downloadable weapon in COD history. It's an SMG with the range and stopping power of an assault rifle and is exactly as terrifying as it sounds, though seasoned players will still prefer their more specialised gear.
So Revolution is as much an experiment as it is a map bundle. It's Treyarch conceding that they don't know everything and a chance for them to work out how a few small twists will affect the game once a few million players are playtesting it. It's exactly what DLC should be about - but it isn't nearly radical enough. When Battlefield 3 received a set of heavy armour maps and another set of close-quarters infantry maps, that was a revolution. Black Ops 2's Revolution is a step in the right direction, but a small one.
Revolution is out now, for 1200 MP. You can download it from the game's menu if you're a Season Pass holder, or from here if you aren't.
By Mike Gapper
Good maps, but too familiar