The second map pack for “Call of Duty: Ghosts” hit the PlayStation Network this month and as we did with “Onslaught” and most of the DLC offerings for “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” we’re back to break it down for you one bloody battlefield at a time. All four are small-to-medium maps, tailor-made for those who love close-quarters combat. And Activision ups the intensity by giving gamers access to the all-new, 2-in-1 “Ripper,” a hybrid SMG/Assault Rifle. It’s a powerful new tool and you get to unleash it on maps where you’re bound to see an enemy every few seconds. Strap in.
In order of how I vote when they come up between matches:
It’s dark, there’s a lot of metal, and a perfect array of open and closed spaces. You’re on what looks like deck of a ship but it’s actually a massive excavation platform. This is a brilliant map for objective-based games like “Domination” or “Blitz” because there are so many ways to get from one side of it to another: through control rooms under the platform base, right across it, or even over it through a raised centerpiece that will decimate your kill/death ratio. As is often the case with how we vote and play through “CoD” maps, this one is probably my favorite simply because it’s the one I find the most success on, but I’d like to think that I can step back and say that it’s also simply the most intuitively and cleverly designed of the four new FPS playgrounds.
This one’s close, but the edge goes to “Behemoth” because “Unearthed” is technically a repeat. It’s a reimagining of “Dome,” the hit map from “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3,” and it really does remind one why that was such a successful map. Again, there’s a great variety of gameplay within this relatively-small map. Open spaces are dangerous enough but it’s the bunker and the control rooms in which you’ll really unleash hell. Again, sometimes it feels like cheating to give players a map that they likely have already played but “Dome” is good enough and “Unearthed” does just enough to remix it that it doesn’t feel like a cheat.
The fact that this solid multiplayer map is #3 is a sign of the overall quality of “Devastation,” one of the best quartets of maps yet released for a major FPS. This is a cargo ship that’s crashed into a New York City bridge, creating a mish-mosh of open deck spaces and those closed in by debris. I wish it was a slightly bigger map, especially for objective-based games, but this one really works for Team Deathmatch.
This multi-level map set in a Mayan temple is the only one that I found more frustrating than fun. Enemies with the right camo on literally blend into the tan and white backgrounds, which others may find challenging but this gamer found annoying. Yes, I know so much of the success in “CoD” comes down to bringing the right tools to the party but I’m not deep enough into “Ghosts” addiction to have enough loadouts to make sure I have a specific camouflage for one map like “Ruins.” There are times when this map really works but I found it helped sneaky gamers more than a casual but devoted one like myself.
“Extinction: Episode 2: Mayday”
Of course, every DLC map pack for “Call of Duty: Ghosts” will include another chapter in the saga of “Extinction,” this year’s model of the famous zombie extensions for “Call of Duty” games but with an alien bent. You’ll get a new enemy called the “Seeder” and face a massive, 400-foot tall Cryptid beast called, of course, the “Kraken.”