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

Exo Up:

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is one of the best games in the long-running megafranchise, so perhaps itís no surprise that Havoc, the first of four planned downloadable content packs, is one of the better DLC offerings. There is one major qualification that comes with this; as always, itís offered at a completely unreasonable price. But the maps are great, and the new (but not at all unexpected) Exo Zombies Mode adds some much-needed life to the otherwise tired cooperative diversion.

Slip Them Dogs:

Letís start with the four maps included in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Ė Havoc. Each features a certain identifying factor or gimmick that will keep you from abstaining from the map/mode voting that always takes place between matches. Most Call of Duty map packs have one or two really awesome ones thrown in with a few "meh" ones, but I would say that all of the maps in Havoc are pretty excellent.

Sideshow might be my favorite of the four, if only because of how deranged it is. Set at Devilís Tower in Wyoming, itís a screwed up amalgamation of a rundown motel and its parking lot andÖ the circus. In the dead center of the map is a clown marquee; coulrophobes stay away, because this clown fires bombs out of his head. And they explode real good.

Drift is another favorite of mine. It takes place during Christmas time in a ski village nestled in the Rocky Mountains. Gunfire and explosions aside, itís all holly jolly goodness until the snow masses miles up decide they want to succumb to the deadly influence of gravity. Once those sirens start going off, itís in your best interest to run for cover.

The Dallas-based map Urban is mostly locked off in the beginning of each match due to a police lockdown. So youíre left to your own devices to exploit the intricacies of the compound Ė particularly its verticality. If youíre caught in the middle of the street, youíre toast, as always. But once the lockdown lifts, and the blast doors open up, things get much more interesting.

Core is a wrecked nuclear fusion plant in the middle of the Gobi Desert. Talk about up the creek. This map is actually enormous by Call of Duty standards, and it features several opportunities to set up ambushes or execute the perfect mid-air strafe. If you perform well enough, youíll be awarded the Decontamination Drone, an Orbital Care Package that hovers around and viciously attacks anyone unfortunate enough to go near it.

A-List, Meet Z-List:

"Holy sh*t, thatís John Malkovich! Holy sh*t, thatís Bill Paxton! Holy sh*t, thatís Rose McGowan! Well, of course, Jon Bernthal is here." Those were exactly my words upon getting my introduction to Exo Zombies, the Advanced Warfare application of the seriesí hugely popular wave-based survival mode. Where most Zombies content in the past left me extremely cold, I canít help but smile when I play Exo Zombies. Not necessarily because itís all that much better than previous efforts, but because itís so gleefully stupid that you canít help but adore it.

The map included with Havoc is called Outbreak. It takes place at ground zero for literally the only place where zombies could get their hands on Exos: Atlas. You take control of either the disgruntled janitor Oz (Malkovich), IT specialist Lilith (McGowan), security guard Decker (Bernthal), and head of research Kahn (Paxton). Each of these has their own personality quirks and one-liners, but Oz steals the show for me; Malkovichís over the top delivery and serious potty mouth combine to deliver something fittingly campy and exploitative.

Atlas Fist Pumped:

I still have a huge problem paying $15 for a map pack, and I think that Exo Zombies (at least this first episode) should have simply been included on the disc. But if youíve been throwing your money at Activision for the last twelve years for every bit of Call of Duty content, you will be very pleased with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Ė Havoc. The core game already has a ton of longevity, but for those looking for that extra bit, thereís a decent bit of meat here.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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