It’s that time again, Invasion, the third DLC drop for Call of Duty Ghosts has arrived, offering the usual four multiplayer maps and a new Extinction episode. Whilst not directly offering any new weapons with this pack, a free timely patch ensures everyone gets to play with two slightly modified variants of existing weapons, DLC or not.
Pharaoh, an ancient multi-levelled archaeological dig site located in Egypt; plays host to diverse gunfights due to its myriad of sightlines. Close quarters combat in the catacombs is encouraged due to the inevitable tight corners and lower light levels. Venture outside however and you may wish to alter your setup due to the map significantly opening up. As opposed to the tight, run and gun nature of the tunnels, the opposite side of the map plays best for long range engagements down some nasty lines of sight. Proceeding with caution around this area is advisable due to the many spots which can overlook popular routes, expect many a prone player. Much like the second DLC pack, Invasion offers unique Field Order rewards for those lucky enough to receive them. Pharaoh houses an interesting one; the great Anubis will grant you every perk on the game for a few lives, use them wisely! Despite the map being fairly balanced; discarding the inevitable camping epidemic, there are some odd design choices such as pots of scarabs that will instantly kill you should you wander near whilst they get broken.
Departed is a vibrant, medium sized map located in Mexico during the ‘Day of the Day’ celebration. Standing proud as one of the better maps of the pack, Departed offers a familiar style of play with large scale battles occurring in the centre of the map, whilst flank routes litter the outskirts. Due to the variety in routes, most weapons can be efficiently utilised here, the Assault Rifles may take an edge, but that could apply to many scenarios in Ghosts! Whilst still playing out as a genuinely fun map, it’s the art direction that will stay with you longer. It’s always nice to have some colour in a warzone; Departed feels reminiscent to some of the popular Black Ops 2 DLC’s in that regard. The special Field Order is once again unique, in that it turns you into a Death Mariachi, complete with dual wield revolvers. Kills will grant you weaker versions of yourself acting as squad mates, up to a maximum of two, giving you even greater control of the map.
Mutiny is pretty much exactly as you might expect, a small map centred around a pirate ship, offering chaotic close quarter battles with little chance of respite. If ever there was cause for a silencer on your weapon, this will be it. The shorter engagements mean the range stats will be largely unaltered for most gunfights too, limiting the penalties. If gadding about like a reckless lunatic isn’t your bag, and I can’t see why it wouldn’t be, there’s always the central position to set up camp on. Fortunately for everyone else, the central ship, and its inhabitants, stick out rather nicely due to the plethora of flank routes adorning its sides. There are two special Field Orders on this map; the first is the rather predictable ‘Cannon Barrage’ which effectively is the ‘Mortar Fire’ Field Order from Warhawk. The second is decidedly more exciting with the summoning of two ghost pirates that will hunt and destroy your enemies on your behalf.
Favela, the inevitable pack remake from the beloved, (save for grenade launchers) MW2. A map offering high levels of verticality and range in the right positions with dangerous close quarter battles that will test your reflexes, and your ability to spot a hidden enemy. The higher tiers of buildings provide greater vantage points at the expense of being accessible from more than one entrance, either via the usual staircase or some risky parkour. Hopping from building to building across scantily clad scaffolding before knifing that pesky sniper is as rewarding now as it was in 2009. Sitting in a corner is as viable as ever on Favela; sprinting around the map and not checking your angles is likely to get you killed unnecessarily. The infamous ‘ditch’ area still remains to give objective hunting players something to keep in mind too. Games of Domination flow well as the power points are constantly being contested to cover flag positions; as usual, good team coordination is required to secure a win. Harking back to MW2 fame once more, the revered AC-130 returns in a spiritual form due to the unique Field Order on the map. Named instead the Y-8 Gunship, it will either rain down destruction on a hapless team, or be utterly useless if used against people already inside a building.
Awakening is the latest episode in the Extinction saga; and is probably the best so far. Rammed with new features and mechanics, Awakening is more akin to the fan favourite’s zombie mode than ever. The objective is to reach the ‘Cortex’ which holds the secrets of the Ancestor’s psychic powers, obviously bypassing all manners of hell first. Standing in your way will be three new enemy types, Gargoyles, Mammoths and Bombers with each providing their own threats. The flying Gargoyles will not only take a surprising amount of punishment, but can also volley acid down on the player. The Mammoths can spawn Hunters seemingly at will and also frustratingly burrow underground, whilst the aptly named Bombers are like a biological version of the Hunter Killer from Black Ops 2. To combat these weird and ‘wonderful’ enemies, you’re also given a few toys and tools to play with. For a start, the jump height is increased tremendously, letting you reach areas that would have been previously inaccessible. The buildable items return from the last episode and lastly, the newly implemented ARK attachment can be found loitering in hidden areas too.
Overall, Invasion is another great map pack, and whilst one or two of the multiplayer maps are a little weak, the others make up for them in spades. It’s a little disappointing to not see another new weapon added to the mix, but the free automatic PDW and knife are nice additions. One of the main draws in Invasion, surprisingly seems to be Awakening, the new Extinction map which improves on its predecessors in most areas, and may even sway some of the dedicated zombie fans. Once again, it shows that the developers have listened to their fans requests and offered smaller, denser maps with more opportunities for movement; of which can only be a good thing.