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Call of Duty: Ghosts - Onslaught
Score: 70%
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Infinity Ward
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2; 2 - 12 (Online)
Genre: Action/First Person Shooter/Online


With each year comes not only a new Call of Duty, but a cycle of downloadable content for each new Call of Duty. And with the incredible success the series has seen in the nearly seven years since Call of Duty 4 changed the landscape of the genre, there's been no good reason to change things up. It's beyond great for business. However, it is my opinion that the game itself has been struggling as a direct result of all this saturation. I've played every Call of Duty game to date, and I've stayed away from the map packs, suspecting that the actual content didn't come close to justifying the outrageous price tags. In my mind, Call of Duty: Ghosts - Onslaught completely validates these feelings for me. There's some really neat stuff in here, but when it comes down to it, I've been over this game since shortly after its release. In the end, it gets a recommendation to the hardcore and only the hardcore.

New Locales, Same Great Taste:

As is the case with all other Call of Duty expansions, Onslaught is multiplayer-focused. I'm not familiar with how these packages were weighted in terms of competitive vs. cooperative content in the past, but it's pretty even in this release.

Onslaught features four new competitive maps, or three if you recognize one of them as a remake. These maps are fun to play on, and each has its own particular environmental gimmicks and Field Order Rewards.

BayView appears to be a boardwalk. On this boardwalk are stores, cafes, and a special trolley service. Soldiers who are in a hurry can take shortcuts through the buildings, though many of them are equipped with metal detectors that are more than capable of giving you away. The trolley can also be boarded and used as cover, but there's a tradeoff; you're a sitting duck to everyone on the other side of the rail. If you complete your Field Orders, you are granted an artillery strike from a Destroyer floating off the coast.

Containment is a Mexican shanty town with vehicles littering the road and a giant ditch bisecting two key areas of play. In the center of the ditch is a truck containing a leaking nuke that for some reason causes greater harm to your minimap than to your body. The Field Order Reward is a mortar strike... that targets the truck itself. Enjoy.

Ignition is a retooled version of Modern Warfare 2's Scrapyard, a fan-favorite that happens to be a rocket testing facility. When you're not weaving through the train graveyard on the hunt for the enemy, players on the run can set off a memorable trap; by going to a test console and interacting with it, they can have nearby rockets test fire, incinerating everything in their paths. A larger test chamber is available to use as part of a Field Order Reward. Additionally, a large rocket automatically launches after a set time of play. The rocket's launch is a resounding failure, and the fuselage crashes back down to the earth. Unattentive players (like myself) will find themselves struggling with the world's most impossible bench press exercise in history.

I've saved the best (and strangest) for last: Fog. This sendup of old horror films is a bizarre place to put otherwise standard Call of Duty action. There's darkness, bats, waterfalls, and references. Oh, the references. They are everywhere if you know where to look (and if you are sufficiently..."cultured...") The Field Order Reward transforms you into Michael Myers from Halloween. The theme music plays and you pretty much feel unstoppable. It'd have been better if you could have played as Ash from Evil Dead, since that movie is referenced more emphatically in the map.

I'm Saying It Was Aliens:

The Cryptids are back in the expansion to Call of Duty: Ghosts' equivalent of the popular "Zombies" modes from the Treyarch games. There's a story involved here, but it's a bunch of bug hunt techno jibber-jabber. What you need to know is that this new Extinction map, Nightfall, takes place in an abandoned military base in the Alaskan Tundra. You can see someone at Infinity Ward was clearly on a John Carpenter kick during the brainstorming phase of this release.

With this new map comes two new Cryptid types: the Phantom and the Breeder. The Phantom is a frightening xeno; when it's airborne, it's completely invisible. So you must adapt to counter its stalking patterns if you want any hope of survival. The other type is a giant arachnid beast called a Breeder. This monster might reawaken old memories of battling the Corpsers from Gears of War, and it's fun to take on with buddies.


Call of Duty: Ghosts - Onslaught isn't poorly-conceived or badly-designed. In fact, there are some clever ideas at work. The problem lies instead with its failure to add anything of meaning or substance to the core experience. Compound that with the fact that it's a decidedly poor value and you've got a decision to make.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

Related Links:

Windows Defiance: Arkbreaker Microsoft Xbox 360 The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 - Smoke & Mirrors

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