Back in November I was proved wrong by the world and I was truly caught with my trousers down. Being a stubborn young lad, I tried my best to hate Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the latest addition to, in my opinion, the dullest and most disappointing game franchise around, but I almost went into cardiac arrest when I discovered that it was actually pretty awesome. Advanced Warfare to me was like going back in time to when I first played Unreal Tournament, a ridiculously fast paced arena shooter that was completely bonkers and addictive to play, so it’s no surprise that I find myself still playing it and still enjoying it immensely. The generous folks at Activision have kindly sent me the first, of many I hope, DLC packs for Advanced Warfare, that doesn’t just unlock a couple more maps to play on, but with it brings a new breed of zombies … in EXO suits??! Dayum! Sounds like Havoc to me!
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare proudly presents the Havoc Pack, the first explosive, action packed, and dare I say doody expansion on Advanced Warfare’s bustling online community. Promising 4 new maps to roam through as well as a brand new gruelling zombie co-op mode, Havoc sounds like it’s packing quite a punch from the get go, but does it actually add anything new to the game’s experience? Is it worth splashing your hard earned cash on? Quite simply, I’ve found all 4 of these new maps better than anything that was already on offer.
First map on the table is Urban, a dark dystopian city map that looks like something pulled directly out of Killzone: Shadow Fall. Players find themselves experiencing a high speed bloodbath in Dallas Ward 3, a map that sees teams take control of 2 tower structures overlooking a town plaza. Urban seems to be the most popular map of the 4 that works very well at maintaining that high octane arena shooter feel that I love so much about this game. Admittedly it’s the most unoriginal of the new maps but the claustrophobic, panicky feel it gives off makes for a highly enjoyable romp. The next map, entitled ‘Core’, is a tiny, desert arena that seems to have been copied and pasted from Destiny. Set apparently on the Gobi Desert, Core is full of winding tunnels, high platforms, tall alleyways and a hell of a lot of beige to make the perfect map for getting the full use of your EXO suit; nicely included on the map are decontamination drones which can be activated to assist you in wiping out the competition. Personally this is my favourite of the 4 Havoc maps, its great variation of heights and corridors to run and gun through make this an excellent map which never loses traction and pace. If the idea of shooting someone in the face during the festive season is more your thing, then rejoice as new map ‘Drift’ does just that. Situated in the peaceful Rocky Mountains, Drift spawns you during a poor village’s Christmas shopping time as you dodge, dive and blast your way through a shopping complex. The key to survival in this snowy death-trap is to secure your position in the glass observation deck, handy for all you snipers or those that don’t wanna get crushed by that avalanche that occurs 5 minutes into the match … oh did I forget to mention that? Drift is a fun map to roam through a few times and it looks vibrant and unique amongst the other maps in the roster, but aside from its lavish good looks there are more intense battlegrounds you can be playing on. The final map in the Havoc pack is the most interesting and original I think, located on a deranged motel car park, ‘Sideshow’ gives the area a creepy lick of paint as it seems to have been overrun by a band of rowdy clowns. Featuring numerous rooftops, trucks, hotel rooms and grimy toilets to duck and dive through, you’ll find yourself constantly on the move to keep up with your opponents on a relatively wide open battlefield. You don’t want to stand still for too long, not only will you find a few rounds in your back, but during the match you’ll be treated to some terrifying evil laughter, followed by a sudden barrage of deadly fireworks that can sometimes find comfort in your face. Each new map is tremendous fun and offers an awesome level of variety that nicely freshens up the online experience that some casual players may now find stale. Speaking of stale, what on earth is that smell? Rotten flesh and jet fuel perhaps?
For what has become a new tradition and obsession in the Call of Duty franchise, ‘Zombies’ has almost become as crucial to the series’ success as the online multiplayer. In Advanced Warfare, these zombies are more deadly than anything you’ve blown up before, not only are they faster and stronger, but come on they’re in bloody EXO Suits, da fuq! ‘EXO Zombies’ interestingly has a separate narrative and even more interestingly a separate cast list, where players will see John Malcovich tagged in for Kevin Spacey. The premise of the latest zombie outbreak sees ATLAS’ new DNA biological weapon ‘unexpectedly’ spawn a horde of ravenous mutants eager to infect the entire research facility. During a failed evacuation attempt, you play as 1 of 4 survivors, none of whom are trained to military grade, as you try to save the company’s flagship facility from ruin and to await a rescue. ‘Outbreak’ is currently the only round on offer so far but honestly there’s enough hectic action here to keep you and your friends busy for a while. Gone are the options to board up your windows and doors and instead it’s all about survival in a wide open space with only the weapons you can afford to keep on you. Killing enough zombies and collecting new care packages will reward you with credit as normal, and spending them at the right time, opening the right doors and purchasing the right weapons will see you and your squad survive the endless waves of disease. Like collecting these new supply drops, troops will also collect special score streaks and EXO Perks that can change the course of your plight; gone too is the Mystery Box, which has been substituted for a groovy 3D Printer which does exactly the same thing. The final addition to the Zombie mode is the inclusion of new ‘Host Zombies’, undead soldiers that wield the virus, so if you’re touched by them and you find yourself with 60 seconds left to live, a decontamination room will set you back a few hundred credits and may keep you alive for a little while longer. In all honesty there isn’t a whole lot more to say about ‘EXO Zombies’, it’s by far the fastest running zombie mode so far and its new focus on mission objectives hidden throughout the map add a more curious approach to an otherwise run and gun format. The cast will interact with each other in great depth about the situation they’ve found themselves in and if you find yourself reaching the “end” of Phase 1 you’ll be eager for the next DLC drop to advance on the story.
In short, Advanced Warfare’s first DLC expansion pack features 4 pretty impressive maps that intensify the online play experience just that little more. Each one of them is highly unique and different from one another, and most importantly they’re all hugely dissimilar to what’s already on offer on disc. EXO Zombies certainly has a lot of promise; it’s difficult, chaotic and genuinely encourages you to reach that final round to progress the story into the next expansion pack. It’s a shame however that the game mode is exclusively DLC so if it sounds like your cup of tea, then purchasing ‘Havoc’ or the Season Pass are unfortunately the only way to geg in on it. Arguably at £12 you don’t get a huge amount for your money, but if you’re an avid fan of the franchise then I urge you to lock and load soldier.
Oh and you get a sweet ass laser gun too!
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.