Since we last received new content for Call of Duty: Ghosts, a little game called Titanfall has landed on the Xbox One (and tomorrow for the 360), doubtless attracting longtime CoD supporters. Now it’s time for Activision and Infinity Ward to try and lure some of them back with Devastation, the second of four planned map packs. Priced at $14.99 (or included in the Season Pass), let’s see what the developers have up their sleeve for this DLC.
Kicking things off is Behemoth, so named since the entire level is a giant earth excavator complete with massive saws. While conceptually interesting, in execution it’s a narrow, multi-tiered map that ranks among my least favorites for any Call of Duty. Deaths came early and often, and they invariably felt cheap since everything is so cramped that it seemed like I was being shot in the back a minimum of a half-dozen times per match. There aren’t any interesting features, either, making this the one map I found myself voting down every time it came up.
Although I initially didn’t think much of Collision, I quickly grew fond of it once I got an appreciation for just how many different ways you can approach what is a very cylindrical map. You can go through the bowels of the ship, clamber over any number of crates or stick to the outside and work around the edges to circumvent your opponents. It’s fast paced and intense, catering to quick twitch action while still feeling strategic. There’s a lot going on here visually as well, with the crashed ship and bridge intertwined to form some interestingly detailed killing grounds.
As much as I like Collision, Ruins is unquestionably the standout location here. Granted, the overrun jungle formula has been used before, repeatedly. That’s because it works, and the amount of detail and clever map design with loads of shortcuts and different elevated paths make this a great place to hit and run offensively. As with the first map pack, Devastation also features a unique cameo, this time in the form of the iconic Predator. Whether fighting as or against this ugly motherfuc*er, it’s a fun change of pace, complete with self destruct and signature laugh upon defeat.
Of course, what would a Ghosts map pack be without a “reimagining” of a previous map? That’s what we get here with Unearthed being based on Modern Warfare 3‘s Dome. There’s a tie-in to Extinction, where completing the field orders unleashes a handful of the beasts, but the whole thing just feels uninspired. The map is small, and while that’s not a guaranteed drawback, it seemed like I was having the same firefights in the same areas (and in the same ways) over and over again. It checks in third among the four newcomers.
Mayday (Extinction Mode)
While Ghosts may not be the pinnacle of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty efforts, Extinction has proven to be a fun and sustainable addition to the package. Episode 2, Mayday, continues to build on what we’ve seen in both the main game and Onslaught, migrating the action to a massive tanker where you’ve got to fend off loads of aliens and a giant, Kraken-inspired sea monster.
In addition to the usual fast-paced, co-operative action typically associated with the mode, you can now collect teeth as well. These teeth are then used to purchase additional upgrades for your character, allowing you to tailor your play style more liberally. There is still an inconsistency in the amount of damage enemies take that can be frustrating when ammo is scarce, but I continue to find this an enjoyable and accessible co-op alternative.
Devastation isn’t a great map pack, but it’s headlined by some strong content at the top with Mayhem extending the action found in Extinction and both Ruins and Collision offering well-paced multiplayer combat. I’m already looking forward to Invasion for a new Extinction level, and hopefully it steps things up even more in the adversarial realm.