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