After years of map packs for Activision’s Call of Duty series, gamers have a pretty good idea what they’re going to get and how much they’re going to pay for it: Four new maps and something for the game’s co-op mode for $14.99 (or included in their Season Pass).
Well, expect the
unexpected as the Havoc map pack kicks off the first of four scheduled DLC offerings for Advanced Warfare. Let’s gear up and see what the folks at Activision have in store for us this time.
Although it isn’t a remake, Core definitely reminds me of Modern Warfare 2‘s Rust thanks to its barren desert location and modest amount of real estate — though Rust was even smaller. There are a handful of tunnels, but they cover very little ground and rarely host any fighting. That leaves a circular map with a few elevation changes and pipes to duck through and hide behind along with a raised platform that overlooks the aforementioned tunnels. It’s not great, not terrible; it’s just sort of there.
If gaming has taught us anything, it’s that ski resorts (and other snowy encampments) will be strategic locations of critical importance in all future wars. Even if the concept isn’t fresh, Drift is a lot of fun to play. The top half of the map is devoted to holiday-themed shops and kiosks that are eventually buried under a mid-match avalanche. There’s a large, open area on the bottom half and a path running down the middle featuring a carousel that only the brave will take.
I’m not sure if there’s actually more square gaming footage in Drift than the other maps, but it feels like the biggest map in Havoc, and the openness appealed to my style of play.
Send in the clowns! At some point gimmick maps became a staple of the Call of Duty DLC, and they don’t get much more gimmicky than a creepy clown motel where the giant clown on the sign sends rainbow-colored bombs soaring through the sky. Even if the motif doesn’t float your boat, the rectangular map has a nice mix of open spaces, elevated cover and multiple ways to get around. The aforementioned bomb launches do end up feeling pretty pointless, though.
This is probably my favorite map (with Drift a close second) as it supports just about any play style, which is a big reason matches on Sideshow tended to be highly competitive.
Of the four newcomers, only Urban really fits into the actual theme of future combat with hovering bikes and neon colors aplenty. The design is wholly familiar, however, with tight corners and very little room to maneuver — respawning and getting killed in a matter of seconds is commonplace because of it. Not only that, but the map doesn’t take advantage of Advanced Warfare‘s focus on verticality, making most matches a cluster of quick kills and deaths. It was my least favorite by far.
Unlike previous Call of Duty games, which built on their existing co-op modes, Advanced Warfare jettisons the included Exo-Survival for the all-new Exo-Zombies. Smart move. For the third time, Activision has gone to actual actors playing the characters with Jon Bernthal, Rose McGowan, Bill Paxton (who is in like every awesome action movie, ever) and John Malkovich. It’s my favorite cast to date, and everyone seems to be having a lot of fun with their performances.
Back story has always been a weak point of the Zombie modes, and while there’s nothing stellar here, it does at least manage to connect to the main story via Atlas’ involvement. The action is similar to what we’ve played in the past, especially in the early stages when you’re armed only with a pistol and plodding zombies slowly advance on your position. Things pick up dramatically once you get the Exosuit, however, as it cranks up the action several notches because, as you may have guessed, you aren’t the only ones that’ll be getting Exosuits.
It is worth noting that I had troubles with games crashing in Exo-Zombies, something I really hadn’t experienced with the main game.
There’s a lot of fresh content in Advanced Warfare‘s Havoc map pack with four all-new maps — even if some feel highly derivative — and the first installment of Exo-Zombies, which is probably the most fun I’ve ever had with the concept. Havoc isn’t a classic, but it’s a rock solid addition, especially if you’re a fan of zombie modes.