The somewhat all new map pack from Activision and company lands on Playstation and PC. Containing four multiplayer maps, two new guns for use online and the first in a series of chapters for the horde-like extinction mode. Can it surpass the likes of older Call of Duty map packs, or will it simply pass by unnoticed?
Fog, a map not only for horror fans, but for people in those blasted ghillie suits to lie prone in the outskirts of the map near bushes. Oh, and for people who can’t help but flock to a solitary house with four entrance points of which are offset only by a rather balancing view upon some major traffic areas. A small cavernous area provides ample opportunities for the run and gunner, yet the subtle chasm inside will claim many a sarcastic death from the few who don’t look where they’re going. Despite being a bit of camp fest, there are some nifty things about Fog. For one, there are probably dozens of nods to famous horror films of yore that are great fun to find; if that doesn’t satisfy your lust for blood, there is always the KEM package which, if you can get your hands on it, transforms you into Michael Myers. Similar to the Maniac suit, it let’s you run amok, this time with a deadly axe, needless to say, this is probably the primary reason people vote for Fog in the rotation.
Bayview is probably the largest letdown for me in the pack due to the old height advantage problem. That and my expectations for the moving tram. Set in sunny California, Bayview is home to some tightly cluttered buildings, a long and largely useless promenade and a tram. Most of the action, whether it be yours or in the enemies killcam, will be found in one of two upper floor buildings that encompass the centre of the map. I’m all for tactics, but the majority of the map is a giant killbox. There just doesn’t seem to be much of a flow or a back and forth. Either people are riding the mostly bulletproof tram for a laugh or are sat up top waiting for people to obliviously run into their sights. Whilst the tram can be used in slightly inventive ways such as placing a sentry turret inside it, I was hoping for some incredulous objective play such as the B flag in domination being placed inside. It may not have worked but it would have added an extra dimension to the map.
Containment is one of the better offerings, two opposing sides, separated by three routes. A large bridge houses some nasty crawlspaces under the radiation leaking truck which adorns the maps epicentre. Stray too close and an EMP style reaction cripples your effectiveness. With each side playing host to claustrophobic buildings and flank routes, it’s the snipers and long range rifles that hold the obvious advantages down the somewhat obscured lines of sight, yet equipping the no fall damage perk and performing some death defying leaps off the bridge will easily get you around the back of your foes. Whilst for the most part, the map flows nicely; even sometimes evolving into a standoff, there are some peculiar inclusions. For one, there is an incredibly easy to defend, upper floor house situated pretty much behind one of the spawns, making it an absolute nightmare in games like domination. Across the opposite side, it doesn’t fare much better what with the already limiting ‘dull brown filter’ being applied to Ghosts, it simply exasperates the difficulty in picking out foes against the brown backdrops.
Ignition is the token remake of the ‘classic’ map Scrapyard from Modern Warfare 2. Fans will likely know what to expect from this, the high vantage points offer some particularly vicious lines of sight whilst the outskirts are full of medium range assault rifle battles. Features new to this rendition include an all new underground section, perfect for traversing the almost unnecessarily open ground of which lies above, along with more jet powered rocket ‘traps’ that will rarely kill anyone, but do look nice. Players will generally have to be on their toes as enemies seem to crop up from everywhere on this map. The camping so and so’s are however not too much of a threat as there are many positions to dislodge them from; that’s a trade off I think most players would accept. Games of domination can be particularly hectic due to the (often) short and narrow lines of sight offered by the distractions of flag capturing; despite the objectives being mostly out in the open, there are surprisingly few deaths occurring from unknown locations.
Nightfall starts us off as the first of four in a series of episodic content for extinction. An incident occurs at an Alaskan research facility up in the wilderness, (surprise!) and it looks like it’s up to us to retrieve the intel in an attempt to discover what went wrong. Queue new aliens and a ridiculously large boss. One of the new enemies is quite simply a pain in arse, they come equipped with one of the most annoying traits present in any game, teleportation. One minute you’re quite happy keeping them at range, an instance later, you’re getting slapped silly by an alien. Brilliant. Fortunately, someone nice has littered the area with special lockers that contain weapons that seem almost necessary in some parts. Unfortunately, the keys to the lockers are often guarded and can distract you into a fit of inattentional blindness. Get past all this however, and you’re treat to a showdown with the ‘Breeder’, an arachnid-esque sponge that towers over you and has the bite to match it’s bark. Good luck.
Finally, the Maverick, my primary reason of interest in the Onslaught DLC. A dual purpose weapon, you can equip it in either it’s sniper or assault rifle form. As a sniper, it’s semi-auto, has a lot of recoil and sports a tracker sight with an increased optic zoom. Whilst it’s not for the sniper purists out there, it’s still a serviceable weapon; it’s useful in most sniping scenarios. As an assault rifle, it possesses a rarity in Ghosts, good, clear iron sights. Whilst the recoil is a little strong compared to it’s brethren of the same category, it feels meaty at close range and certainly adequate at medium encounters. Pop a grip and a muzzle brake on and enjoy the satisfaction of not using either the Remmington or the AK 12 for once! The one issue I do have with the Maverick is the ‘lightweight wooden stock’, not only does it not seem to match the otherwise semi-futuristic look of the weapon, but most of the available camo’s simply don’t look right when equipped.
As a whole, it’s a fairly hearty piece of DLC. Whilst there are some slight disappointments, in terms of the potential missed opportunities, and the defiantly bland colour palette opposing Black Ops 2’s rich and vibrant appeal. However, there’s a lot of playtime on offer, the Maverick’s not just a novelty and the maps are, thankfully, smaller.