Call of Duty: Black Ops 3's Zombie Chronicles DLC was officially revealed earlier this month, providing a whole load of content that wouldn't be included in the season pass. For those who aren't aware, this expansion includes eight zombies maps from previous games, two new Gobblegums, a Pack-A-Punch weapon camo, and 20 vials of Liquid Divinium. If the words 'Gobblegun' and 'Liquid Divinium' have got you confused already, then this might actually be a sign that Zombie Chronicles is for you.
This is because, as Zombies has evolved over the years, it has had more and more features added and has become more convoluted, being less of an aside to the main game and more of a fully-formed experience in its own right. This has drawn many people in, but also driven many away who wanted a simple and straightforward Zombies experience, like the one Nacht Der Untoten offered. While there are admittedly new features like Gobblegums included in the Zombie Chronicles maps, this expansion seems to be best suited for those who preferred the straightforward approach.
Nacht Der Untoten is a good case study for this very reason. Looking back on gameplay from World at War, the visual improvements are very clear, and there haven't been too many liberties taken with it in Black Ops 3. One of the main changes fans will notice is that Gobblegums are now present, but this isn't too hard to get to grips with for those who aren't familiar with them. You simply choose a Gobblegum 'loadout' of sorts before the game, and then you can get these from a machine in-game, providing powers and boosts for you to use. Also, some elements from the Black Ops version of the map return too, including the Mule Kick, and there's a brand new Perk-a-Cola machine added too.
One thing that might annoy, however, is that while some weapons from World at War remain in the mystery box, the weapons are mostly replaced with the futuristic weapons from Black Ops 3. This means it isn't just a case of playing a remastered experience, it actually changes things quite a lot. If you were a die-hard fan of the World War Two feel, this might be a blow, but if you don't mind what weapons you're using to eliminate Zombies with, then this shouldn't be an issue, as there's a variety of weapons to both pick up from the walls and get from the random weapon box, one of which is a shiny new Ray Gun.
These changes have been made to all of the maps, and add some extra Black Ops 3 features (including the UI and levelling) to existing levels. Kino Der Toten, for instance, features a mix of both old and new weapons, but retains the Pack-a-Punch location in the screening room. Ascension also has that classic grainy filter on it, and has the usual mix of new and old weapons too, so there's clearly a fine balance between what to include that's new. What's great, though, is that it doesn't really seem that, aside from some weapons, anything has been removed, so there's still all the content you'd expect from these maps, except now looking more polished.
The other new features in Zombie Chronicles, the two Gobblegums, are a mixture of funny and useful (but mostly funny). The first one, Eye Candy, overrides the colours on the screen, highlighting zombies in another colour. This sounds useful in theory, but when you stop and consider the ratio of non-zombies to zombies, it actually becomes a bit pointless. The other Gobblegum is Tone Death, which plays a funny sound every time you kill a zombie, something you might not notice if you're being swarmed on level 30.
One thing that did catch our eye, however, was that there were a few minor frame-rate drops in our time with these maps. These only occurred occasionally, but they were noticeable, although it has to be said that there were no other technical issues to speak of.
Another thing that disappointed us a little is the lack of maps like Der Riese, Call of the Dead, and Green Run, but we're especially disappointed at Five being missing. This map, featuring figures like Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, and Fidel Castro, is a classic in the Zombies world, and to see it fall by the wayside at the expense of other maps is a shame. We can't fault the amount of content in the Zombie Chronicles DLC, don't get us wrong, but we wish Five had been there instead of another.
Overall, though, despite the fact that each map has been polished and made to look up to date, £24.99 may be far too steep for some to pay just for eight remastered maps. The added features might not be to everyone's tastes either, but the liberties taken with these maps have been minimal, and for the most part, they remain almost exactly how they were in their respective original games. We had a lot of fun playing on them once again, and we can imagine this will appeal to both new fans of Zombies, and those who loved it back when it was a bit simpler.