The second Advanced Warfare DLC pack, Ascendance, offers yet another action-packed dose of high octane multiplayer hijinks and features four varied maps, a freakishly powerful LMG/shotgun hybrid weapon and a new instalment of story-based fan favourite Exo Zombies.
A nice addition to the multiplayer maps is the new Exo Grapple playlist, adding a new twist to proceedings that, quite literally, takes the frenetic feel of Advanced Warfare to the next level… As the name suggests, the new Exo Grapple ability allows you to shoot out a grapple hook that latches onto surfaces and propels you through the air at great speed. It adds an entirely new dynamic to the gameplay and just highlights even further how static and slow previous Call of Duty games felt! Although tricky initially, master grappling and you’ll be flying through the air and peppering incoming enemies with gunfire before they can even react to you. Or you could just use the hook as short-range weapon to kill them instead!
"The sojourn to sun-drenched Sydney for Perplex is an absolute blast, with players able to use their Exo abilities to navigate the many levels of this small- to medium-sized apartment complex."
The four maps in this pack – in my personal order of preference – are Perplex, Climate, Site 244 and Chop Shop – and all offer a decent amount of variety and verticality.
The sojourn to sun-drenched Sydney for Perplex is an absolute blast, with players able to use their Exo abilities to navigate the many levels of this small- to medium-sized apartment complex. You’ll need lightening quick reactions to dominate this map though and no doubt a weapon with a quick rate of fire that packs a punch. And you can’t afford to stay still for a second. In fact, racing to the highest levels in the map and making use of the construction drone-moving platforms seems to pay dividends.
It’s a good-looking playspace too, brightly-coloured and nicely designed with the myriad of modular apartments, sun loungers and decking surrounded by the calm waters. Hardpoint on this map is a blast, as is Uplink and good old Team Deathmatch. Oh, and the Grapple playlist is perfect for Perplex as you can zip up to the top of the complex really quickly!
"Perhaps the best bit about the map, however, is cracking open a care package and finding the intriguingly-named Super Serum to transform you into a lean green killing machine."
The similarly sunny Climate places you in a giant biome, an enclosed climate-controlled bubble full of shrubbery, landscaping and gunfire. Again, it’s not a massive map and its circular layout means you’ll have to have your wits about you to avoid being flanked. Islands are joined by various bridges that span the inviting waters below. It’s all very picturesque. Word of warning though… part way through a match, the water filtration system packs up and those inviting rivers become highly toxic and deadly. It’s certainly an interesting dynamic that completely alters the way you play.
Next up is Site 244, which is one of the larger maps in Ascendance and takes place in the shadow of the famous faces of Mount Rushmore. There lies the debris of a huge UFO crash site and a load of craggy rockfaces and smouldering wreckage to negotiate. There are multiple levels to explore, obstacles to hide behind and wide open spaces that are perfect for sniping.
Perhaps the best bit about the map, however, is cracking open a care package and finding the intriguingly-named Super Serum to transform you into a lean green killing machine. Activating the weird-looking alien goo not only boosts your health levels to epic proportions but it highlights all enemy forces on the map – perfect for picking them off and racking up those killstreaks! A brilliant powerup… as long as you’re the one who gets it. Otherwise it kinda sucks!
"In a market heavily saturated with zombie games, levels, maps, challenges and add-ons, the Call of Duty stalwart once again proves enjoyable and is really good fun."
And finally there’s Chop Shop, which takes you to a dark and seedy world of a black market exoskeleton factory. A maze-like map, I didn’t take to this one as much as the others and found myself getting killed all too easily. It’s a very fast-paced arena and almost claustrophobic in places. A scorestreak rewards you with the Advanced Repulsion Turret, which can prove pretty effective at slowing down and killing enemies if you can find a decent location to position it. Compared with the other maps in this pack, Chop Shop is quite dreary looking – grey and drab and not that interesting. Still, it’s the gameplay that matters and – although not my preference – it’s quite unlike the others on offer and a good addition to the pack.
On top of all that there’s the new episode in the Exo Zombies story too. In a market heavily saturated with zombie games, levels, maps, challenges and add-ons, the Call of Duty stalwart once again proves enjoyable and is really good fun. In fact, it feels more than a little reminiscent of good old Left4Dead, which can only be a good thing.
The latest instalment, Infection, sees the John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, Rose McGowan and Jon Bernthal doppelgangers fending off the undead in the gloomy surroundings of the Atlas research centre and nearby Burgertown fast food outlet! As you strive to survive, you’ll be able to rack up credits with every kill, upgrade your weapons at handily-placed 3D printers dotted about the level and come face to face with some gruesome new zombie types. Get too close and you may become infected yourself, meaning a frantic dash to the decontamination zone. Get there too late and you’ll get a sudden urge to start eating your team mates! Enjoyable fare and well worth the money.
This game was reviewed on Xbox One.
Great-looking multiplayer maps, a grapple hook, bonus weapon, and more great exo zombies!
Grappling takes a bit of getting used to. Getting a little samey, perhaps?