Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Reckoning (PlayStation 4) Review

By Gareth F 26.11.2015

Review for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Reckoning on PlayStation 4

All good things must come to an end - a rule that also applies to Call of Duty DLC, sadly. It's not all bad, though; over the course of a year Sledgehammer has maintained a constant flow of quality content for Advanced Warfare, making it quite the hefty package for fans of the series. As expected, this DLC bundle includes the final nail-biting chapter in the episodic Exo-zombies story, as well as four more maps to add to the 'rotation of death,' and as if that wasn't enough, there is a DLC specific playlist for the immensely fun Exo-grapple mode. It's with a heavy heart, and a loaded gun, that Cubed3 suits up one last time before jumping once more into the breach with Sledgehammer's fourth and final content drop for Advanced Warfare - Reckoning.

Fans of the high-paced Exo-zombie mode will finally get closure on the ongoing saga of the viral pandemic, with the concluding chapter simply titled 'Descent.' Calling the DLC Reckoning suggests vengeance or some kind of punishment as the central theme, which seems fitting considering that the Atlas Corporation successfully tick all the right boxes on the 'Evil' checklist. For participants not skilled enough to actually make it to the ending of the previous chapter (which sadly includes the person reviewing this) the opening footage serves as a handy recap on the events leading up to this point and sets the scene perfectly. Last episode threw out the revelation that Oz (John Malkovich) was actually the source of the entire outbreak but seemingly in remission and on the mend. That panned out well didn't it? The four infected anti-heroes (played by Bruce Campbell, Jon Bernthal, Rose McGowan, and Bill Paxton) escaped the sinking ship at the end of the previous chapter and somehow make it to a remote ocean Atlas survival facility. Did Oz go down with the sinking ship putting a quick end to the unfurling horror? Of course not!

'Descent' takes place at the Trident Retreat, which has a smallish set of platforms above sea level but is primarily an underwater base, not dissimilar to a modern day, high-tech version of Bioshock's Rapture. It makes for a claustrophobic setting, which is only enhanced by the impending sense of dread as the team sets to work unlocking the doors granting access to the Exo-suit. There's a new 'fused' zombie type to add to the list which, as its name suggests, mixes up multiple combinations of the powers attributed to its less evolved undead brethren. Oz continues to be a troublesome foe that now has the cutting edge technology of the Trident Retreat under total control. Randomly getting transported to a large, previously inaccessible chamber is a regular and disorienting occurrence and it's here that Oz relentlessly mounts attacks via turrets, zombies, and the occasional personal appearance. Needless to say, making it to the very end of the game will no doubt reveal some horrendous secret that Atlas has been harbouring all this time. Some less skilled players *cough cough* will need to resort to YouTube to find out the shocking truth.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Reckoning on PlayStation 4

It's not all about the undead though. Reckoning also contains four new arenas to compete for killstreaks against randoms.

Overload is set in what's described as an 'exotic compound' in New Baghdad but actually looks more like the shimmering opulence of Trump Towers with its gold fixtures and fittings. Not quite sure on the ease or costs of removing bloodstains from gold, but it's likely not cheap. In terms of size it's a fairly large map with minimal verticality but a lot of high walls, fountains, and ornaments obstructing clear lines of sight, which makes walking head first into a gun fight a regular occurrence. There's a central building with numerous tight corridors and enclosed rooms making it a campers paradise but it's fairly rare to see stationary combatants last too long in one spot. In terms of unique features there are a number of giant plasma lamps scattered around in key areas which, when shot, arc out bolts of electricity killing all in the immediate vicinity. It's a stark warning for those that freely choose to have one of these 'death traps' in the house for decorative purposes and the main reason why this particular reviewer has kept it old school with a lava lamp instead.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Reckoning on PlayStation 4

Fracture is the obligatory snow based map, and the largest of the bunch. Taking place at an excavation site in the chilly arctic wilds, it's the perfect excuse to deploy the new 'Thermal Underwear' perk that's been added to the load-out. Ok, that's not strictly true, but those Exo-suits are pretty draughty so there's as much chance of these guys catching a cold as there is of catching a bullet. Anyway, the abundance of heavy equipment, buildings, and wind turbines scattered about the locale naturally creates a lot of cover, giving the option for the more cautious warriors to skulk about and play tactically. Those brave enough to hop on the rooftops will get clear lines of sight across the whole of the map, though doing so comes at the risk of becoming an easy target for likeminded snipers. Fracture also lives up to its name with a timed event that sees the ice sheet crack and splinter sending one of the glacier lanes sinking into the water.

Swarm gets its name from the terrifying map-based score streak of Hunter Killer drones that can be seen circling the battlefield for the majority of the game. It takes some serious skills to earn the right to activate the swarm so thankfully it's not a frequent hazard, though once unleashed these drones will continuously fly about the arena causing death and destruction until their numbers are depleted. Scary. A battle scarred Seoul in South Korea provides the setting in an area where the reconstruction and repairs are no doubt being hampered by the idiots with guns and Exo-suits treating the place like a warzone. It's a mid-sized map that might look familiar to those that played the campaign as it recycles assets from one of the earlier levels with its burnt out shop fronts, routes over, through, and around buildings framed by some seriously narrow alleyways making it perfect for 'run and gun' practitioners.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Reckoning on PlayStation 4

Quarantine is set on a small island in an undisclosed location. It's not one of those nice islands with beaches, palm trees, waves breaking on the rocks, crabs, coconuts, Tom Hanks, etc. No. It's one of those bleak islands that, for example, might have some kind of biological test centre built on it in case there was a viral outbreak of some kind. It's a medium sized map with a lot of lab buildings scattered around the circumference creating a number of small courtyards in the process, which makes it a fairly fast paced blast. There's a large circular chamber right in the centre with a trap door that opens up into a pit with an island midway through the match. Quite what real life application this serves in unclear, but loitering in this area almost always results in certain death, as does the ship fired missile strike that makes up the unique score streak for this map. The more observant out there might notice that the compound has a building containing a number of caged monkeys, no doubt the focus of whatever experiments are being conducted in that Godless place. Being a reluctantly captive audience forced to wistfully watch humans stalk and kill each other it begs the question ... who are the real animals here? Clue: It's still the monkeys.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - Reckoning on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The release of Treyarch's Black Ops III will no doubt impact heavily on Advanced Warfare's player base; however, its consistent stream of high quality DLC provides a compelling reason for season pass holders to revisit on a regular basis. With the Exo-suit mothballed and packed away, it'll be interesting to see whether it makes a return for Sledgehammer's next entry in a couple of years' time. Whether it does or not, Sledgehammer should be applauded for daring to take the franchise in a different direction.

Developer

Sledgehammer Games

Publisher

Activision Blizzard

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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