When we last left off, the Call of Duty Zombies experience was being re-invented through High Moon Studios and Sledgehammer Games very different approach to things. Now that Black Ops 3 has been announced and Treyarch is known to be making another installment to their world of Zombies, the pressure once again shifts back upon Advanced Warfare’s DLC packs as a new piece of Exo Zombies gaming is added with Ascendance. In addition to the second edition of Exo Zombies (entitled Infection), there’s also four new multiplayer maps being added to the competitive online experience. We will go over each of these one by one as well before delving into what the newest chapter of Exo Zombies has to offer.
A vertical map centering around the grapple and boost Exo Abilities, Perplex is graphically designed to be a very clean looking scene with the ability for very competitive play as its mostly symmetrical and players don’t have many hiding points. Grapple mode is very very fast paced in this map, and without it the gameplay is more about balancing jumping with shooting. Players can be far from each other yet meet up very quickly resulting in a wide variety of gun-play mostly consisting of mid-range firing but also plenty of close quarters and far sighted shooting as well.
This map is something straight out out of an Area 51-style crash site (hence the name) with wreckage of a space ship all over. It’s possible to accumulate two Super Serums in this map rather than just one – meaning that players can see through walls, without a minimap, and have increased health for a limited duration of time – if they are good enough to get ahold of this. The map has a lot of indoor type of areas that have a four corner feel to them and serve well for Exo Grapple which allows players to swing all through certain regions of the map very quickly.
This map is a play on the Biodome concept in which mankind is making an artificial way to be self-sufficient and have a taste of nature while doing so. The scenery is probably the most vivid color-wise because though there’s a lot of browns and oranges, the hue is cranked up on these to a pleasing shade. Texture quality is pretty decent here and you can see the engine of the game being slightly tweaked to begin adapting to next-gen consoles.
This map is very much rounded compared to the past maps seen in the series. Running around in circles will happen a lot. Bringing down death streaks is very deadly in this map since there’s a lot of out in the open areas and not very many indoor moments. Halfway through playing on the map the water in the dome becomes toxic and since it takes up a large portion of the map players will want to keep that in mind and know when to get out or risk losing their killstreak.
The fourth map included in the DLC is called Chop Shop and represents an underground black market for Exo Suit parts. This map is cluttered with indoor areas which snake around in squared off and diagonal fashion making players tactically keep their guard up for tons of close quarters gun battles. This futuristic ghetto market type of area also features a couple of arena areas on either side of the populated indoors environments. The map is very symmetrical compared to some of the others in the DLC making it much more competitive than most. Chop Shop lends itself well to various objective modes, but only if you have the fortitude to deal with the intensity of close quarters battle.
Exo Zombies – Part 2: Infection
Those who felt like the original Exo Zombies map was largely an act of holing up in one room and shooting it out defensively will be happy to hear that the latest edition of Exo Zombies features a much more wide open playing field. The variety of enemies has been increased as well as the map size itself. There’s even another objective layer added to the game in which players must guide other human survivors away from danger – a first for the series. With these tweaks, Exo Zombies’ second stage really attempts to up the ante in terms of both cinematic feel as well as gameplay. But in order to make players actually want to save these new innocents who appear mid-battle, a reward will be given if they are successful.
The mini-boss feel which has been covered widely plays out rather nicely, with environments posing a threat to Zombies as well. This gives players a better balance with more ups and downs rather than a relentless, never changing pace as seen in most Zombies matches. Balancing zombies between the roof and the ground gives players time to really be strategic with taking out the Exo Suit – equipped Zombie known as Goliath which can wipe out your Exo abilities with one hit. Burger Town is a dark and dreary reminder that people once lived here and ate here but now it’s just death consuming all. There’s also a large sewer network underneath the map giving a true amount of variety to what can be experienced in terms of environment. Don’t let the toxic gas kill you either…
Unfortunately players have to deal with plain Core Team Deathmatch or head into the Mosh Pit if they want to experience the new multiplayer maps at the time of this Review. There is no support for the new maps on Hardcore or Domination-only playlists by themselves. There’s also a new heavy weapon / shotgun hybrid the OHM available, but if you had the Season Pass already then this is just leveling out the playing field by giving it to those against you as well since it was already available to Season Pass holders.
Once again though, similar to last time, the centerpiece of this DLC is really the new Exo Zombies map being offered. Zombies are faster, hungrier, and deadlier than ever in Infection. With way more to do and more places to go as well as more variety with which to approach situations, this is possibly the best Exo Zombies episode yet. It might even be hard for High Moon and Sledgehammer to top this with their third entry, but that will be revealed soon enough.
Developer: Sledgehammer Games / High Moon Studios
Available On: Xbox ONE / Xbox 360
(Coming April 30, 2015 to PS4, PS3, and Windows PC)
Played On: Xbox ONE
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this DLC was provided to RealGamerNewz for the purpose of this Review.