I was a bit disappointed with Havoc. When I first played the maps they just didn’t feel right, and to be honest I have struggled with them ever since. I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment either. When given the choice of a Vanilla or a Havoc map to play on the selection is invariably Vanilla. The first round of DLC, it would seem, was not a hit.
When I first saw the trailers for Ascendance I was a bit more hopeful. Without trying to sound too vague they seemed a bit more classic ‘Call of Duty’, while in some regards making more of Advanced Warfare’s exo-suits. Without expecting too much, I was at least guessing things might be better a second time of asking.
Thankfully this time round Sledgehammer seem to have hit the nail right on the head. The maps look, feel and most importantly play so much better than Havoc.
Perplex is a great mixture of close quarters play in the centre of the map coupled with more open, vertical play around the edges and over the top. The map promotes a lot more use of the exo-suit, with players scrambling for position while trying not to leave themselves exposed. I think the extra levels add a new dimension to the usual gameplay.
Site 244 reminded me in many ways of Turbine from Black Ops 2, with mid to long range action down the sides of the maps and a UFO/plane crash littering the middle. It’s a bit more open than Turbine though, I guess to allow for greater use of the exo-suit abilities. I even spotted a bit of camping going on with this map, which is not something you see a great deal of with Advanced Warfare.
Climate I couldn’t quite make up my mind on. It’s a very open map in general with a sort of underground bit in the middle (which no-one seems to bother with). It’s alright if you can find a decent pack to run around with but is definitely not one for the Lone Wolf.
Chop Shop is a whole bag of fun and in many ways a return to classic CoD as it doesn’t give a lot of chance to use the exo-suit. It’s a rabbit warren of corridors for mostly SMG and AR action, and for some reason felt mildly reminiscent of some of the more enclosed section of Sovereign (again from BO2).
The zombie add-on Infection is pretty much the same as the first DLC pack’s Outbreak, apart from the location. You start with next to nothing and have to shoot your way out of trouble in order to level up and unlock more weapons and areas. There are some new zombies to see but I found it a little repetitive and predictable. I’d imagine zombie fans will love it though.
The new Ohm gun is also quite fun to use. As an AR or a shotgun it’s reasonably effective. The fact that you have the option of both mid-game makes it particularly effective in certain maps like Chop Shop.
Overall I was very impressed this time. Four new maps once again, but this time there are at least three I enjoy playing. Ascendance has restored my faith in Sledgehammer and how they can use their DLC; not as a mindless bolt on but more of an chance to explore new opportunities while delivering a core Call of Duty experience.