Get to the choppah!
While there’s no escaping at the end of a Call of Duty match, you might be tempted to shout this to your teammates whenever you play on Ruins, one of four new maps for Call of Duty: Ghosts joined by a new chapter of Extinction in the Devastation DLC pack. While many diehard Call of Duty players have been enjoying the new maps for a few weeks, it took me a while to settle in with my Xbox One for our review.
Unfortunately, that means I was never able to complete a Field Order to unlock the newest gimmick added to Ghosts via DLC. While the Onslaught DLC pack allowed you to take on the role of Halloween serial killer Michael Myers, complete with creepy mask, increased speed (for stalking), and axe, the Devastation DLC pack lets you become another iconic killer of the silver screen. Unfortunately, balancing remains an issue as we progress through this season of Call of Duty.
You can become the Predator, complete with wrist blades and heat-vision and more, if you complete a Field Order in the middle of a match. Typically, the first person to get killed drops a holographic briefcase with a specific side-objective, like knifing someone or getting two kills while crouched. Field Orders played a part in getting me excited for Ghosts before launch as even if you can’t keep up with the action, you might be able to call in a powerful killstreak thanks to measured play.
Unfortunately, the rest of the field on Xbox One has outpaced me in both Call of Duty skill and style. I would pick up the Field Orders on Ruins which centers around a jungle temple with tons of foliage, multi-tiered paths, and camouflaged cover, but unable to complete the objective I failed to become the Predator over and over again. Becoming Michael Myers didn’t exactly help the Call of Duty experience in Onslaught, but Devastation does move forward by including some very cool maps.
Ruins itself is an extremely satisfying setting for Call of Duty’s gun-on-gun action. It reminds me a lot of aim_ag_texture_city, one of my favorite community-made maps in Counter-Strike: Source. Like texture_city, Ruins features a few long sight lines that give players the impression that they’ve got a bead on the competitive field, but with dense foliage it would be foolish to feel too secure.
The same goes for Behemoth. This long map has a few vantage points that will allow you to rack up kills thanks to the opposing spawn points. In fact, it can feel a little broken until you utilize the alternate paths to get around and knife anyone in an upper control room. Unearthed is this pack’s throwback map referencing Dome from Modern Warfare 3 while Collision takes place on a large cargo ship and allows players to use an A-10 Warthog aircraft to blast the entire ship, should you complete another Field Order.
Finally, there’s the new cooperative Extinction episode titled Mayday, which brings more narrative into the alien-stomping exercises you’ve probably worn well over the past few months between Team Deathmatch and other competitive modes. Extinction has an interesting hook, but it’s not different enough from Zombies to hold my attention. More often than not, I felt like the mode was either too easy or too hard depending on my team and the level of difficulty selected.
Rounding out the DLC package is a new hybrid weapon called the Ripper which features both SMG and Assault Rifle capabilities. I’d say about 90% of people in DLC lobbies are using this weapon, so beware of enemies from mid- to short-range. Overall, Devastation improves in map design, but there’s still a lot to be desired from Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer in balancing.
Spawns are still horrendously broken. In one match, the same player killed me in the middle of the map for the first point. Then, only seconds later, I was killed in spawn by the same player and the killcam showed me that he or she had followed a memorized path to follow up on my team’s side of the map. Immediately after that, I was killed by the same player who followed the outer edge of the map from my team's start point to the midsection where I spawned and died once again.
If you’re a major Call of Duty fan, I don’t have to tell you to buy a season pass for Ghosts and the remaining DLC packs. However, if you’re a casual player like me, reconsider your purchase of the Hardened or Veteran or Super-Soldier pack with the included remote control helo-tank when the next yearly entry rolls around. Chances are you won’t keep up with the competition to justify the included DLC codes anyway.
Code provided by publisher. Review based on Xbox One version. Also available on Xbox 360. Coming soon to PlayStation and PC platforms.