With the launch of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare now less than three months away, it’s time for Activision to give Ghosts owners the final piece of downloadable content. Entitled Nemesis, the fourth map pack hit Xbox 360 and Xbox One earlier in the week and will doubtless be landing on Sony’s consoles in the coming weeks. Checking in at $14.99 (or included in the Season Pass), let’s see if the team at Infinity Ward saved the best for last.
From a purely visual perspective, Dynasty might be my favorite map of the 16 DLC offerings that have been released. The juxtaposition of the map’s calm, serene beauty and intensity of the firefights is very unique, and it helps to compensate for what isn’t a great layout. Action is largely tiered from one side of the map to the other across three elevations with a few of the lower ones cutting underneath. There are a handful of rooms to duck in and out of, and it definitely skews close quarters.
With mine carts perpetually moving throughout the level and a large elevator that periodically goes up and down, Goldrush presents a sense of organized chaos. There are a ton of ways to traverse the map through a series of tunnels and caverns, and although a couple of spots seem to attract campers looking for easy kills it’s not hard to root them out. Of all the maps on Nemesis, Goldrush is easily the best at supporting multiple play styles with long lines of sight and plenty of tight corners for quick twitch combat. The map-specific killstreak (a pack of wolves) is pretty cool, too.
Activision’s promotional materials call this a re-imagining of “fan favorite” Shipment from the original Modern Warfare. I’ll have to take their word for it as I have no recollection of ever playing it, which is a first for maps taken from previous games. Then again, given how little I enjoy it maybe I simply blocked the experience from my mind. Showtime, now packaged as the set for a futuristic game show, is a complete cluster where you’ll be shot in the block repeatedly in every match you play. Some players like that claustrophobic chaos, but the complete lack of strategy makes it a poor fit for my sensibilities.
A Canadian submarine base serves as the backdrop for the final new map — and just in case you didn’t know it was in Canada, there’s a huge maple leaf painted on it, and if you look carefully you’ll see they’ve got hockey on the television (nice touch). It’s a pretty standard wintery map with the usual three-lane setup, but the dips in elevation help keep combat varied. Complete the unique field order and a blizzard will blow in — a blizzard featuring a red-eyed Yeti that’ll kill you if you linger. Like Dynasty, Subzero is nothing special, but it’s solid enough to warrant plenty of rounds.
Exodus (Extinction Mode)
The Nemesis pack brings with it the final episode of Extinction, Exodus. Here you find yourself dropped into the thick of it as humanity tries desperately to keep the aliens at bay. It’s a futile effort, though, so all you’re really being asked to do is buy enough time so that certain personnel can be evacuated in a shuttle. To do this you’ll need to activate and defend generators, but the mode offers some flexibility in how you progress and approach the task at hand.
What’s inflexible is the challenge as the aliens have cranked things up to 11, sending wave after wave of foes along with the all-new Ancestor. These giants offer a new level of challenge and feature some pretty cool attacks, including the ability to take control of your character. The final episode definitely feels aimed at players that have put some serious hours into the mode as some of the higher level abilities are pretty much mandatory if you want to succeed beyond the first generator.
While not the strongest showing on the adversarial side of the ledger, Exodus is the culmination of the strong Extinction mode, and it carries the Nemesis pack to respectability. If you stick to the traditional multiplayer, however, it’s a bit of a disappointing final act.