It’s last call time for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. With Call of Duty: Black Ops III just a few months off now, Sledgehammer brings their DLC season to a close with Reckoning. Checking in at $14.99 (or free for Season Pass holders), the final add-on contains the usual four adversarial maps, the final chapter of Exo Zombies and a new gun: the Trident Reflected Energy Weapon.
Ah, ice maps. Where would the world of online shooters be without them? Thankfully we’ll never need to find out as seemingly every game keeps cranking them out. While coating a map in the cold stuff doesn’t guarantee a hit, Fracture is well executed. It’s fairly small, but it never falls victim to the absurdly short life spans we’ve seen in other undersized battlegrounds. Almost everything is outside, too, with a nice mix of elevations. Good start.
Set in an expansive Middle Eastern hotel, Overlord checks all the boxes. It looks great, features a healthy blend of indoor and outdoor fighting, allows for liberal use of your Exo suit and has a gimmick that’s effective and strategic (and anyone can do it). That gimmick are coils that, when shot, send bolts of electricity shooting out, frying anyone within range. It’s really a lot of fun and proves to be a map with a lot of staying power as numerous approaches work effectively.
While probably the least interesting visually, Quarantine is still a good time waiting to happen. There’s constant action spilling in and out of small buildings around the exterior, and plenty of firefights to be had in a central hub that looks like a play area for primates — you’ll actually see some of the “test subjects” (hence, Quarantine), but it’s not really a destination point for bullets. Even though I can’t quite put my finger on why, this map seems to consistently produce tight, competitive matches.
A bombed out Korean shopping center rounds out Reckoning‘s offerings. I’m not sure if it’s smaller in area than Fracture, but it absolutely plays smaller. There’s an almost kinetic chaos to Swarm as you change elevations on the fly and duck in and out of damaged buildings. I consistently struggled with the pace of matches, though I’ve always skewed to the more tactical/deliberate side. Even with my troubles I wasn’t anxious to skip it, however, as it’s sharply detailed and frenetic without feeling overly cheap.
Exo Zombies: Descent
After the events of Episode 3, it’s unfortunate this isn’t entitled Being Zombie John Malkovich — a “next level” missed opportunity if ever there was one. Jokes aside, Descent is what a final episode should be, an escalation of hostilities as power-ups get more plentiful, enemies get more dangerous and Malkovich gets more profane (win, win, win). It ends up providing an intensity to the Zombie subset that I can’t remember seeing before. It’s a strong conclusion to Sledgehammer’s excellent twist.
Saving the best for last is a tired cliché. It also just so happens to be true in this case as Reckoning is the best of Sledgehammer Games’ four DLC packs for Advanced Warfare. It’s a good purchase and should help hold you over until November 6.