Call of Duty: Ghosts Onslaught DLC Review
The first DLC expansion for Call of Duty: Ghosts, entitled ‘Onslaught’, was released yesterday for Xbox Live. You’ll be pleased to know that there are currently no problems with obtaining the DLC as the download process is smooth and the DLC works straight away, glitch free. In regards to the DLC itself, if you purchased it expecting rainbows and unicorns you’ll be disappointed to find out that it’s just more Call of Duty, so if that bothers you then I advise you to leave now. However, for those of you looking to understand what makes the Onslaught DLC good for your Call of Duty gaming experience, then be sure to read on.
The first thing you’ll notice is how the multiplayer menu music has changed; a different tempo and style but still along the lines of dark toned orchestral music. This small change is a part of many changes that you can read about in Infinity Ward’s patch notes. While the change in music is completely arbitrary, it’s at least nice to keep things fresh and new since you’ll be spending a lot of time in that multiplayer menu. With that little point out of the way, it’s time to get down to the meat of this DLC; the multiplayer maps. Players who purchased the DLC will get an exclusive Onslaught playlist in multiplayer, which focuses solely on game modes in the Onslaught maps. It’s divided into Onslaught Deathmatch, consisting of Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed rotations, Onslaught Objective, consisting of Search & Rescue, Domination and Blitz, and finally Onslaught Hardcore, which contains Hardcore variants of the objective modes. DLC specific playlists are a staple of COD DLC launches and they allow players to immediately jump into the maps they purchased. The maps in questions are all interesting in their own way.
FOGCertainly the most original map to come to COD in a while, Fog is set in a very dark forest with various cabin-like houses scattered around. The scenery is like something out of a horror movie, with many dark caves, twisted trees with no leaves and even pools of blood laying underneath skeletons in the basements. This map is the signature small size that’s perfect for close quarters encounters, something which I’m sure COD fans will welcome more than the game’s default larger maps. The horror movie theme goes deeper than just the aesthetics too, with the major draw of this map being the possibility of becoming Michael Myers from the Halloween movie franchise. The player who completes a field order and is lucky enough to be granted the chance will turn into Mike Myers, carrying a big axe, running around and chopping people down while the Halloween theme actually plays in the game. The Mike Myers suit behaves just like the Juggernaut Maniac killstreak, giving the player additional health and super speed, allowing them to chase down other players in true horror movie style. It’s uncertain whether or not a player attaining the Juggernaut Maniac killstreak will transform them into Mike Myers specifically in that map, but it would be a nice easter egg. Overall, for players looking for a more COD-style close quarters map, this definitely fits the bill.
BAYVIEWBayview is a map set in a carnival like area near the sea, with several shops and attractions such as an aquarium. The gimmick that was promoted for this map was a moving tram which takes a path around the outer side of the map, allowing players to set up shop inside the tram and pick off other players as they move along. It’s not a definitive strategy as it’s incredibly obvious when someone’s in the tram. The field order effect on this map is similar to Warhawk; it calls in a mortar strike which affects the whole maps and gets a decent amount of kills for the lucky player. This map has a lot of rooftops and vantage points to be aware of, but has multiple paths to each so no one place is impenetrable. Despite having a complex design, it’s reminiscent of Modern Warfare 3’s concise maps, giving it more close range engagements than long-range shootouts. Those already used to playing Infinity Ward games will fit right in with this map from the beginning.
IGNITIONIgnition is the remake of Modern Warfare 2’s ‘Scrapyard’ map, but instead of being a plane graveyard it’s instead composed of space shuttle parts and hangers. There’s even a mission control room at one end of the map. There are much more obvious differences too: the map feels a lot bigger and less claustrophobic between different areas and now has the addition of an underground area for players to navigate through. Even with just 12 players on Xbox 360, the shootouts feel just as hectic as they did in Modern Warfare 2’s Ground War with 18 players, just with less insta-death from Harrier jets and M203 Grenade Launchers. The room with the plane engine is now a room with a rocket which can be activated to cover the whole room in flame, a fun little gimmick to keep other players at bay when holding down that room. Interestingly enough, you’ll notice that certain parts of the map are missing at first but this is immediately changed by a map event. After a minute or so into the match, a space shuttle will take off in the background in real-time, but then explode while in the air, causing the debris and wreckage to actually become a part of the map, recreating the full look of Scrapyard. This little addition was a nice surprise and I think it’d be great to see more map events like this in future DLC. The field order effect in this map causes the massive rocket in the center of the map to ignite, flooding the surrounding area with flame and fumes, killing anyone in its effective range. If you’ve already played through a ton of MW2, you’ll already know this map like the back of your hand, and I must admit that this was the map that got the craziest almost instantly.
CONTAINMENTThe final DLC map is Containment, set in a destroyed town with several rugged buildings and shops scattered around. Like Bayview, this map is large enough for multiple paths and vantage points but concise enough for close range shootouts. The map is divided into two sides which can be crossed either by a bridge with a large truck on it or by the dried out river beneath it. You’ll immediately notice the large radioactive symbol on your map, which is assigned to the truck on the bridge. If you approach it, it will actually scramble your radar, but not kill you, so that’s something to be aware of. The field order effect of this map causes the radioactive truck to explode, leaving a large hole in the bridge and changing up how you have to navigate to get to the other side.
In summary, all the maps are fun and unique, each allowing multiple play-styles to thrive and giving players a more concise area to battle it out in. As I mentioned before, if you were expecting anything profound or vastly different then you’re probably playing the wrong game. The maps are interesting enough to be engaging and similar enough to be easy to jump right in to. The dynamic map events continue COD Ghosts‘ trend of making the environment a factor, so there’s lots of fun to be had experimenting with what each map will create.
MAVERICK ASSAULT RIFLE & MAVERICK A-2 SNIPER RIFLE
The DLC expansion also comes with a new weapon which doubles as both an assault rifle and sniper rifle (however it must be selected in separate categories). The assault rifle version is a good all around gun with a steady rate of fire but considerable recoil. There’s no trick to using this gun and you’ll notice that everyone in the game seems to have already mastered its usage. It’s not so powerful that it overwhelms other guns or other players, so don’t fret if you don’t have the DLC to obtain this gun. The sniper rifle version is incredibly powerful in just one shot, with semi-auto fire in addition to that. The default gun comes with a Tracker Scope, similar to the Tracker Sight attachment that highlights enemies in gold once they’ve been spotted. If used with other non-sniper style attachments, it becomes akin to a Marksman Rifle with the power to back up its versatility. Both these weapons are very responsive and fun to use, definitely worth trying out if you have the DLC but you won’t be missing out too much if you don’t have the DLC.
EXTINCTION EPISODE II: NIGHTFALLThe most surprising part of the Onslaught expansion is definitely the Extinction portion, which adds a new chapter entitled ‘Nightfall’. This isn’t just a superficial addition of an extra survival map, it’s actually an expansion to the story universe of Extinction. There’s a new ‘Intel’ section in the menu which provide 3 short videos that contain cutscenes. The videos are named Prologue, Cpt. David Archer and Dr. Samantha Cross, and they establish a storyline and recap the events of the previous episode in Extinction. The videos about the two people provide overviews of their personalities and why they’re relevant to Extinction’s story and in particular the new episode, Nightfall. The map itself is set in a snowy outpost with more alien hives to destroy using the drill, all the while your team attempts to uncover the secret behind the facility.
After the Prologue is played when you initiate the chapter, you’re confronted by a random soldier yelling cryptic messages, who is then impaled and killed by a colossal alien. It isn’t long before you meet this alien, which is known as the Breeder, confronting it in a boss fight-like encounter. It takes an ample amount of team work and effort to take this beast down and it’s bound to re-appear after the first instance. As usual, the regular alien enemies come in hordes and are incredibly ferocious. You’ll meet various alien types, each with unique abilities that challenge you as you try to protect the drill. The newest enemy is known as the ‘Phantom’, an alien that glows blue and can teleport across the map, making it very hard to kill. Just like the previous episode Point of Contact, the difficulty really ramps up after making it past the first few waves of enemies and becomes nearly overwhelming as numerous aliens pour in from all angles. This episode is certain to keep players pre-occupied for a while and I’m intrigued to see just how far the storyline goes.
So in summary, COD Ghosts Onslaught DLC is a very COD-like experience, one that COD players should definitely be looking to pick up. The new Extinction episode adds depth to an already interesting new mode and maintains the same unforgiving difficulty. The new DLC maps contain dynamic map events that are fun to experience and provides concise close quarters gameplay as well as multiple paths and exploration. This map pack is only the first in several map packs coming to COD Ghosts, which I’ll be sure to play and review when the time comes. You can also read our review of Call of Duty: Ghosts for both Xbox 360 and PS4. Call of Duty: Ghosts is available now for Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, PS4, Wii U and PC.