It's safe to say the last two DLC packs for Call of Duty: Ghosts have suitably reinforced my desire to play the series again, after a couple of years hiatus. Ghosts came in a bundle when I bought my Xbox One earlier this year, and I played it fairly extensively, but never to the extent I played the previous CoD games - we can put that mostly down to lack of free time, but I did feel the multiplayer aspect was lacking in keeping me sufficiently entertained, mainly because its format has been pretty much the same for many years. Not that there's anything wrong with sticking to a solid gameplay mechanic, it's just nice to switch things up now and again.
The latest, and last DLC for Ghosts, Nemesis, consists of four new multiplayer maps and the final episode in the Extinction mode. The four maps are set in an old gold mine called Goldrush; a Chinese village called Dynasty; a Canadian submarine base called Subzero; and finally a remastering of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare map, Shipment, called Showtime.
Goldrush is fraught with danger from the continuous laps of the mine carts, as they speed along the tracks that intertwine the map. You can see them moving on the in-game mini-map, but by the time you've spotted them it's usually a little too late, as you've either been shot in the head by the cart's passenger, or the cart itself hits you. A large lift in the middle of the map can be triggered to shift to the upper and lower levels of the gold mine, either opening up the mine below to overhead fire, or closing it to allow quicker access to the other side of the map. The mining tunnels intersect under most of the map, but there are some narrower oustside sections, with a more open area where the lift is in the middle which can can play host to some tense firefights.
Goldrush's field order is kind of like the attack dog killstreak from Black Ops. When the field order is complete a pack of wolves roam the map, hunting down your enemies. Unfortunately I never quite completed the field order on the map, and equally as unfortunate my enemies sometimes did, so I was victim to the wolves quite a few times.
Subzero is probably my favourite of the four new maps; one, because I like the layout and medium size, and two probably because I performed better on it than the others. It has a mixture of indoor and outdoor environments, with each on their own side of the map. There's only really one large-ish open area, but it's surrounded by a few high points of cover, so you need to be quick if you're taking a chance of running through to the other side and don't want to be picked off.
The map's field order, once completed, will shroud the entire area in a thick blizzard that obscures vision for a time. Among the blizzard are creatures that appear as smoke with bright red eyes, relentlessly hunting your enemies down.
The Chinese village of Dynasty is a tight-knit collection of narrow passageways which intersect and meet each other through the map. I found quick reflexes were typically needed on this map as enemies can pop out from many places as you make your way around. There's a section in the middle of the map which is underground, and has three points of entry, two from stairways leading down, and another on the same level leading into the side - this made for some fun battles on Domination mode, as the B flag was right in the middle of the intersecting passageways.
Luckily I was able to call in the field order reward on Dynasty, which is similar to CoD: MW2's Harrier Strike killstreak. Called the FYL-21 Airstrike, it summons three FYL-21's to bomb the map, with one of the aircraft then staying behind to hover above the area and pick off enemies with it's guns.
The fourth map of the DLC is a new take on the Modern Warfare map, Shipment, and it's my least favourite within the DLC. I remember playing Shipment on CoD:MW and initially hating it, because of its ridiculously tiny size and my average time staying alive being around 0.5 seconds. However, over time I grew to love it, adapting my tactics due to it being the tiniest of maps, and actually doing pretty well in the rankings at the end of matches. Don't get me wrong, the new take on the map in the Nemesis DLC is still a lot of fun, but I was kind of hoping to rekindle a sense of nostalgia with it, which never came. Nemesis' take on Shipment keeps the base map layout, however it has been slightly expanded around the edges with narrow passages that surround the inner area.
Shipment has also been given a futuristic game show style twist (think The Running Man from 1987), with crowds cheering and casino noises. Whilst still fun, and bringing interesting new elements to the classic map, I still feel I'd have preferred a vanilla throwback to the original, with just a boost in textures with an untouched layout. If you enjoyed the original Shipment this re-imagining may not be for you if you're wanting more of the same, but if you've never played the original you will most likely enjoy it anyway.
Now we come to Extinction mode's finale, which is a desperate fight to survive and escape the onslaught of the alien invasion. Now, I won't lie, I'm terrible at this mode, but in the interest of this review I persevered and endured many failed attempts to complete it.
Exodus, as the level is called, tasks you with defending the Exodus base whilst you get power to a space shuttle so it can be launched. Your first task is to activate six generators scattered around the map, and defend them from the aliens whilst they're firing up. It's a world away from the dank underground catacombs of the previous DLC, Awakening, as it's much lighter and set during the day - although there are some darker sections inside car parking lots.
As you choose which generators you want to fire up first you'll be ambushed by waves of enemies, which gradually increase in difficulty and intensity the further you get to switching on all six generators. Almost every type of cryptid is seen here, and they're just as brutal and relentless as they always have been, ensuring you're always thinking, moving, and fighting for your life. The Ancestors, seen in the previous DLC, Awakening, make an active appearance in Exodus, firing projectiles and using a Jedi-style force-grip to hold you in place for a time. Ancestors are also extremely tanky, and can shroud themselves in a forcefield making them immune to damage now and again - you're going to need a lot of fire power to take one of these down, but there is a weapon blueprint on the map which can help you out.
I've only played the last two DLC packs released for Ghosts, but if the first two are of the same standard I would say that if you're feeling a little disenchanted by Call of Duty lately, the DLC packs will re-invigorate your experience. Plus with Nemesis being the last of the four DLC packs to be released, it's probably worth picking up the Season Pass for Ghosts so you get all four packs at a lower price, if you're yet to buy any.