Call of Duty AW: Ascendance DLC Review

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Whether you love or hate it, one thing cannot be denied. This game is a juggernaut. The sheer volume of DLC and customisation is enough to make the most cynical fan-boy cave in and purchase something. Be it a season pass – which many would argue is not worth its full cost, or just a weapon skin.

This brings me neatly to the second of Activision’s planned expansion packs for COD. Ascendance. Boasting of four new maps, a new zombies experience, and a new weapon, The Ohm LMG/Shotgun (What?!).

There is a lot of glitz and glamour around these releases, with the addition of new unlockables, helmets, armour, Exo equipment, and the promise of several days of 2x Experience. Quite often it is very easy to get a game as the online attendees swell the gaming ranks.

The Maps:
Following in its usual business model Activision/Sledgehammer have given 1 old map a shiny makeover, and presented three new maps to boost around whilst attached to a metal exoskeleton and carrying weaponry enough to destroy a small army..

Perplex:
This my favourite map out of the four. Based in Australia, battle commences around an apartment complex built out of sections that slot together like a modular PC. Awash with bright colours and brilliant verticality it often leads to race to control the top floor, as the team which can manage this best of all tends to win the day. That’s not always a perfect choice though, as the top of the complex is very open and can be attacked for ALL sides. The environmental change takes place halfway through a game when nearby cranes begin to move some of the modular buildings to new positions, exposing some camping spots and creating new hidey holes.

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Comprising of a three lane battlefield, fighting around the crashed hulk of an alien space craft in the shadow of Mt Rushmore.  This gives some excellent vantages points for snipers to make use of. There are a lot of intersecting tunnels and paths to allow you to traverse the map quickly whilst avoiding the majority of fire.  In my experience it’s best to stay mobile, the longer you remain static the quicker you will be flanked. There is no environmental event on this map.

Climate:
My least favourite of the maps. This takes place inside a Biome entirely controlled by nanobot technology. Fighting takes place around a small circle in the very centre of the map and there is little place to hide. Expect the enemy team to be waiting for you when you run around a corner and adjust accordingly. The middle holds a pool of water, when a klaxon alerts the whole map halfway through the level advising that the nanobots are malfunctioning, avoid the water at all costs as it turns to extremely caustic acid killing you very quickly. Happily to make sure you are aware of the change the water turns a putrid green colour.

Chop Shop:
This is the redux map. Modernised to reflect the future, this symmetrical industrial complex is the site of an exoskeleton black market, selling and removing exo suit parts. Fighting tends to clump in the central corridor, and is a very efficient way of controlling the game. However this leaves the side walkways mostly clear of enemies, meaning ambush attacks are relatively easy to spring if the opposing team is much less cohesive than yours.

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Zombies is still a lot of fun if you have friends to play with, suffering only when you solo cue and play with randoms. With a further selection of armoury collectibles dependent on progress through the Burgertown level and the weirder weapons found in the pack a punch boxes.

The last thing i will speak about is the new weapon. How they managed to pull off a machine gun shotgun hybrid is beyond me. The weapon in its base form is very heavy, meaning it’s slow to aim down sight. Changing from LMG to shotgun is not overly rapid either, but fast hands mitigates this somewhat. Shooting down sight for anything longer than a second renders the weapon really inaccurate, but with little recoil. I struggled with this weapon, having to resort to being a sneaky bastard and pouncing on campers with the shotgun, which to be fair, is extremely powerful within 5 feet. Unlocking a sight for this gun and the fore-grip turns the LMG into a death laser. The improvement is markedly different, making achieving the no mods camo unlock MUCH more difficult with this gun.

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Pros:
-New maps are fun and fast
-New weapon choice
-Extra unlockables for even more customisable character
-Perplex really is awesome

Cons :
-Expensive to buy individually
-Even more purchasable skins and stickers for ludicrous prices
-New maps not added to hardcore Team Deathmatch rotation, Hardcore fans miss out unless they play Mosh Pit – which is always empty as a game lobby
-Re-used old maps is still not popular with fans across any FPS game

Score 7/10

 

Everything That Is Wrong With Call of Duty: Ghosts

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Everything That Is Wrong With Call Of Duty: Ghosts    **SPOILER ALERT**

Call of Duty: Ghosts has come under a lot of fire for many reasons and I understand why. The game itself feels less like any other Call of Duty I’ve played, I find it disappointing- but it would be important to say I don’t hate the game. I feel indifferent to it. To me it just doesn’t feel like Call of Duty. So I’ve decided to go through and highlight some of the games shortcomings and list exactly where I think this Call of Duty game has gone awry, and where it is too much of the same.

It all starts with the Campaign. Am I the only one with a bad case of Déjà vu?  During the first mission, ODIN is unleashed and Logan (played by you) and Hesh manage to survive the blast from a flying gas tanker. Once you awaken you may think you were playing a remake of the last mission from Modern Warfare 2. It is in fact a cut scene that has been recycled. The fact they seemingly did this does them no favours, when people all over the internet are claiming that every game is a re-skin of the previous. It takes more than four years for CoD fans to forget what many consider the greatest Call of Duty of all time.

The Campaign also doesn’t deliver as much of a punch as previous core games of the series. It’s not as emotionally captivating as the Modern Warfare series – it doesn’t take us through as many twists and turns as the Black Ops series. It feels almost hollow, with the main focus being on becoming a ‘Ghost’- which y’know, is the most important thing during the end of the world- well that and your attack dog.

Multiplayer… Now where do I begin? Since day one it has been riddled with spawning issues, framerate issues, a lack of what I would define as good killstreaks. Seriously unbalanced weapons and not to mention some very poorly designed maps.

I have video -clips in my OneDrive/XboxOne uploaded of some serious spawn killing, I’m sure other seasoned players can testify to this, as do the videos I have linked on this piece.

I’m not just talking about camping in or near a spawn and picking off people as they run out. I mean people spawning in front of me and me in front of them.  Now, you would think that as the maps are so huge this should NOT be happening, that there would be a radial spawn field that would make sure there are no opponents within that specific area before you spawn. What makes me laugh, is there has been several updates yet none really seem to address the problem.

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The frame rate issues have only really came about since the update that prepared for the Onslaught DLC pack. Although it is less noticeable on smaller maps- maps like “Stonehaven” have been affected with reports of between 45-60fps fluctuations on this map particularly. Also the field order for the map “Containment” creates a plethora of frame drops, leaving the experience feeling partially broken. Whilst aiming down the sights of a sniper rifle you will get about 30fps, frame rates are also dropping because of explosives and effects that use an alpha base. 60fps is what Call Of Duty is really known for, yet some report frame rates below 20fps and it’s yet to be fixed.

Before fix

After Fix


The kill streaks: In the beginning we had bulletproof dogs and invincible squad mates, now that they have leveled and balanced them to a degree. But what’s the point in going for high kill streaks when in all honesty-they suck? Gryphon’s are useless, unless you’re a perfect shot- they almost always take two shots (with explosives?). LOKI is pretty useless because of the sheer amount of buildings to hide in (same situation with Helo Pilot), not to mention how long it actually takes to fire and for the shot to be received.  Rather than kill streaks they should just allow you a pack of IED’s for your kill streak. How often can you escape an IED? Even with lightweight and marathon if you tripped that IED you will most likely die even if you’re the other side of a wall.

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The maps are generally pretty awful. A lot of them are far too big, and offer far more to campers than to people who enjoy fast paced action (which is what Call Of Duty WAS). It seems like you have to run 3 miles to see anyone, only to get killed by someone who has just spawned behind you and shot you in the back. There are FAR too many head glitching points, the game seems to give unfair advantage to those willing to use the dirty tracker sight and sit in one place the whole game.

OVERALL , I can honestly say I don’t hate the game, I’m just disappointed with it. It doesn’t offer much in terms of mixed game play, like previously stated- it seems to ally itself with CoD campers. I am a rush player, and have found I have to slow myself down and adapt to this game. I honestly think that maybe Infinity Ward is tired. With Respawn Entertainment (seemingly the talent of Infinity Ward) releasing Titanfall later this month it will be interesting to see how many players will actually remain on Call of Duty: Ghosts.

I think there is a possibility that the combination of Raven, Infinity Ward and Neversoft may be removed from the cycle if Sledgehammer does well and IW do not step up to the plate with their next game.  All the problems with this game so far seem like amateur mistakes; maybe these are something to do with Raven and Neversoft? I don’t know, but this is not what I expected from Activision and Infinity Ward.

 

Author: Mark Kerry

Platform Played: Xbox One

Videos Courtesy of DigitalFoundry and satantribal