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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Reckoning
Score: 80%
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2; 2 - 18 (Online)
Genre: Action/First Person Shooter/Online

Don't Hang Up Your Exo:

With Call of Duty: Black Ops III on the horizon, you might think that all Activision's eggs are in that particular baskets. Actually, if you really think that, you haven't been paying attention. There are three baskets that are absolutely loaded with eggs here. (And thus ends the strangest metaphor I've used in my tenure as a game reviewer.) The DLC cycle for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare draws to a fitting close with the release of Reckoning, the fourth and final release for Sledgehammer's smashing solo debut. So what note does it go out on? You know perfectly well what note it goes out on. It's the same note that's been playing for the last five years. Its poor value keeps it from hitting the pure highs of an Ella Fitzgerald, but the consistently high quality of what's actually offered keeps it from sinking to the brown note.

Fighting Round the World:

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's final four competitive multiplayer maps continue to prove that the franchise is in excellent hands when it's Sledgehammer's turn. Map design is tight and diverse, with several opportunities for creative use of your Exo. And of course, there are the environmental gimmicks. Those glorious, glorious environmental gimmicks.

Overload is my favorite, precisely for the reasons that others will absolutely loathe it. Set in an opulent unnamed city in the Middle East, teams duke it out amidst the glitz and glamour of a fine hotel. A fine, deadly hotel. You see, while planters and helipads might ostensibly provide some cover, you have to watch your step. Halfway through the match, the hotel's plasma lights begin to glow; shooting them unleashes a deadly burst of electricity. Read: instakill.

Fracture shares its name with an early Titanfall map, but it couldn't be any different. This map takes place in a polar ice facility. As the title implies, the ground doesn't remain stable throughout each match; after all, the facility is located on a sinking ice cap. You'd think the engineers would do their due diligence on foundation work. I can only hope Atlas got a good deal.

Swarm is a map located in a Korean suburb. It's mostly conventional, though it definitely allows some creativity in getting around the streets and through the series of buildings that line them. Opportunities for close quarters combat abound in this map; just make sure you shoot a grenade behind the bar if you absolutely must enter that particular room. You'll thank me later. If you perform well in Swarm, you get to command a swarm of assault drones.

Quarantine is kind of a disturbing map. It's mostly what you think it is; an island that is the site of an outbreak. An unknown contagion has ravaged the place, and whatever efforts to contain or understand it have clearly failed. So you make war in and around what appears to be an animal experimentation laboratory (don't worry, while you can hear them, you won't see them or hurt them). The abandoned motif mixes with the technological aesthetic to come up with something unsettling. Or at least it would be if you had the chance to relax and soak it all in.

End of an Apocalypse:

Descent is the final map/chapter in Exo Zombies. It's been a fun (albeit mostly familiar) run, particularly taking into account the celebrity talent on hand; listening to them back and forth over their horrible predicament has brought no shortage of absurdity and laughs.

So apparently someone at Sledgehammer Games really likes BioShock; Descent starts out in the middle of the ocean, which houses a facility that leads to an underwater complex... built by Atlas. To make a long story (okay, it's short to begin with) short, the long-suffering (and now zombified) Patient Zero, Oz (John Malkovich) has disappeared into the depths of Atlas' underwater facility. Take him down. With or without the help of your Exo and with or without the help of the KL-03 Trident crossbow...


Another year past, another cycle of Call of Duty content. And in the end, the offerings for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are essentially as they've been for the past several years. A series of competitive multiplayer maps ranging from middling to great and episodic cooperative wave-based content offered at the same insulting price point. As long as there's a willingness to charge the price of a full game for such a quantity of content, the day will never come when I give it an unqualified recommendation.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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