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Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Reckoning

Aug 04 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare: Reckoning DLC (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Sledgehammer Games (Current-gen) / High Moon Studios (Last-gen) / Raven Software (Zombies)Publisher: ActivisionReleased: August 4, 2015MSRP: $14.99 ($50 Season Pass for four packs) Let's kick things off with Overload, the sexiest map in Reckoning. Taking place in a giant Middle Eastern hotel complex, it has all of the pizazz you'd expect, and more. It's a great mix of indoor and outdoor environments, with a layout that keeps you in the action while allowing you to have condensed firefights. It allows the Exo movement and jetpack mechanic to really breathe without confining it like some maps in the past have. It also has these little tesla coil things littered about, which are basic in their functionality (an area-of-effect jolt when shot), but very cool aesthetically -- plus, they sound really neat. Next up is Swarm, a map set in a ruined Korean city. It's nice to see the series return to a setting like this, as I enjoyed "Magma" in Black Ops II. There's plenty of windows to boost into and buildings to hide in, and the map lends itself to vertical movement well. They really go with the destruction theme, and there's a ton of detail present that I wasn't expecting. It's another great showing for Reckoning. Fracture is an ice level that reminds me of The Thing, in a good way. The backgrounds are very detailed, and the smaller, more intimate theme works to its advantage. It's basically all outdoors, which gives it a distinct feel compared to the rest of the DLC. Although Array from the original Black Ops is probably my favorite snow map in Call of Duty history, Fracture does the frozen sub-genre proud. Quarantine, the last of the four core maps in Reckoning, gives off a distinct Walking Dead TV series vibe, which I dig. It also feels like it has a Call of Duty 4 theme with its simplicity, but it's not as vertical as I hoped it would be. The general gist is that the arena is a testing site for experiments on primates, complete with tons of banana boxes and even a room full of live test subjects. It's a rather generic theme, but it must be said that I do enjoy playing it in the rotation. I wouldn't consider it a wasted slot. [embed]297123:59780:0[/embed] Now, onto the best part -- the zombie level. Following along with the narrative that saw the demise of John Malkovich's character (and the debut of Bruce Campbell), and his ascension into zombie-hood, Descent is one of the most unique zombie stages in the entire series (the one that featured mafia ghosts withstanding). It straight-up feels like you're in a Bond villain base, which is partially true as Malkovich is there to taunt you every step of the way as you navigate your path through an underwater testing site. As you make your way through each wave, various power-ups will start to appear at the top of the deck, which you can periodically gather. These range from standard stuff like turrets, to more interesting mechanisms like defensive AI robots that float around your character. Everything feels much more action-packed and desperate, with more firepower and abilities to match the more aggressive enemies. At times, Malkovich will teleport you to a room for a boss fight session of sorts, with different hazards to avoid (like laser grids above you, preventing double-jumps) and a variety of enemies to best in close-quarters. It's a sight to behold with four players, as power-ups are constantly appearing in this secluded room while you fight for your life. Again, intensity is what they're going for here, and it really works. I'd have to think about it for a while, but it may be the most fun I've had with zombies since first playing World at War. I mean, Malkovich actually says the line "The teleporters are mine now, bitch," to give you an idea of what I'm talking about here. At the end of the day, I'm happy with what Sledgehammer Games (and Raven) brought to the table with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as a whole. Though it'll be tough to dethrone the current kings of the franchise (Treyarch), I have more confidence in their follow-up than before, and I'm eager to see what they can come up with next. At this point Infinity Ward is a lame duck, and the odd developer out.
Call of Duty DLC review photo
Did John Malkovich just call me a bitch?
So here we are with the Reckoning DLC pack, the last add-on for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare after Havoc, Ascendance, and Supremacy. All in all, it's been a great ride, and slowly but surely, each map pack has improved upon the last. It's great then that Advanced Warfare is going out with a bang with its best DLC yet.

Guitar Hero Live photo
Guitar Hero Live

Singing confirmed for Guitar Hero Live


A better look at the in-game festivals
Aug 03
// Chris Carter
Guitar Hero Live could end up being a pretty neat experiment, and if Activision sticks to its word of not annualizing the franchise, I'll be happy. You can get a look at the in-game festivals (Rock the Block and SoundDi...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Bungie shows off Destiny: The Taken King's Dreadnaught


It looks big, you guys
Jul 31
// Vikki Blake
Bungie has released a crapton of new Destiny images, including a selection of concept art designed to bring The Taken King to life. "Conceptually, we’ve dreamed of facing the Hive on their own ground for a long time," said community manager, DeeJ, on this week's update. "With the development of Destiny: The Taken King, we’ve had the chance to fully realize the Dreadnaught."
Destiny photo
Destiny

'We're committed to protecting Destiny against cheaters,' says Bungie


Crucible access been restricted for offenders
Jul 31
// Vikki Blake
Bungie is cracking down on Destiny cheats. "We’re committed to protecting Destiny against cheaters," writes community manager, DeeJ, in this week's update. "We know you want justice. We’ve seen the chatter. W...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Dates revealed for Call of Duty: Black Ops 3's multiplayer beta


Starts next month
Jul 23
// Chris Carter
Activision has revealed the dates for the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 beta, which the PS4 platform will be getting first. It will run on August 19 until August 23 for PS4 users, then August 26 through the 30th for...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Destiny players kill Gorgons in VoG raid, must be witches in real life


I don't even
Jul 23
// Vikki Blake
This is just ridiculous. If you're familiar with the Vault of Glass raid in Destiny you'll know that it's arguably the harder of the two raids to complete, not least because every section (besides the opener) ships ...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Bungie nerfs Gjallarhorn, tweaks our favourite Destiny Exotics


How am I gonna get through PoE 35 now?
Jul 17
// Vikki Blake
Bungie has messed with our weapons, you guys. In a long update ("I hope you’re wearing your reading pants"), Destiny's sandbox designer, Jon Weisnewski, has detailed the various tweaks made to base weapons, as well as a...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Bungie plucked its newest community manager from the Destiny subreddit


Straight from the community
Jul 16
// Brett Makedonski
The creator of the subreddit for Destiny has leveraged his message board helpfulness into a paying gig at Bungie. The Destiny developer has hired a new community manager, and it went straight to a leader in one of the ga...
Prototype photo
Prototype

Here's the full rundown on the Prototype HD re-releases


PS4 and Xbox One
Jul 15
// Chris Carter
Activision may have randomly released the Prototype Biohazard Bundle in the dead of night on Xbox One, but as of yesterday, it's also available on PS4. As part of the official release, more details have arisen rega...
Tony Hawk trailer photo
Tony Hawk trailer

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 trailer darkslides a powerline


Pop shove-it into your eyeholes
Jul 13
// Darren Nakamura
Yep, that looks like a Tony Hawk game all right. There are highly technical tricks on absurdly dangerous terrain. Grinding that increases speed instead of decreasing it. Just the right amount of jank in aerial maneuvers, as ...
Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Black Ops III has a classic Zombies map remake, but only for special editions


We've seen this trick before
Jul 10
// Brett Makedonski
Treyarch's at San Diego Comic-Con spilling the beans about Black Ops III's Zombie modes. The biggest splash came from the new film-noir "Shadows of Evil" and its star-studded cast. But, Black Ops III also has something f...
Call of Goldbum photo
DLC...DLC finds...a way
Activision has sent us a great deal of information regarding Call of Duty: Black Ops III's upcoming zombie mode today, revealed at its San Diego Comic-Con panel. For starters, the all-new zombies cast features Jeff Goldblum ...

Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Black Ops III gets a multiplayer beta soon, and it may be PS4 exclusive


'More information coming soon'
Jul 08
// Brett Makedonski
[Update: Activision has contacted us to clarify a few points. The beta will be coming to Sony first, but it will be coming to other platforms as well. Pre-ordering will grant you beta access.] Like most triple-A multipla...
The Peanuts Movie game photo
The Peanuts Movie game

Activision publishing companion game to this year's Peanuts Movie


Snoopy and Woodstock cooperate
Jul 08
// Darren Nakamura
Those trailers for The Peanuts Movie are pretty dang cute. It's neat to see the computer models and animation done in the style of the old cartoons. The movie will show up in theaters on November 6. In a move hearkening back...
Destiny stupidity photo
'Year One' fans suffered a beta phase
Having played and conquered every bit of Destiny for almost a year now, it's clear to me that the game was shipped as a beta. Bungie has provided a number of great quality-of-life updates, but the last House of Wolves&nb...

Skylanders amiibo photo
Skylanders amiibo

Get ready to drop a lot of cash on the Skylanders line, amiibo collectors


Very expensive variants
Jul 07
// Brett Makedonski
Those who collect amiibo are no stranger to the variant game. It was just this past spring when both Gold Mario and Silver Mario released -- the former significantly more sought-after than the latter. Two more variants were a...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Black Ops 3 Zombies reveal coming soon


SDCC visitors may get the first peek
Jun 25
// Vikki Blake
In a tweet yesterday, Call of Duty: Black Ops III developer Treyarch teased at zombie-flavoured news coming July 9. Wondering what's so significant about July 9? Yep, me too. It's not particularly mysterious, though - turns ...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Destiny's Smith: 'My words made it sound as if Bungie doesn't care about their fans'


'That asshat was me'
Jun 25
// Vikki Blake
When Destiny fans made their views on the pricing - and content thereof - of The Taken King's Collector's Edition painfully clear, Bungie didn't say much. According to the latest Bungie update, however, the reason for their i...
Destiny photo
Destiny

Destiny rubs salt in the overpriced expansion wound with Red Bull XP


Haha
Jun 24
// Chris Carter
As we all know, Activision is taking fans for a ride for the new Destiny expansion, and Bungie is getting really defensive about it. This is after the last expansion...well...sucked. Today they have announced that they a...
Prototype photo
Prototype

Prototype and Prototype 2 might be heading to PS4


Screaming and crying, the Prototype way
Jun 23
// Joe Parlock
Back in 2009, a brutal war was raging in gaming. No, not Xbox vs PlayStation, or Call of Duty vs Halo. It was worse. So much worse. A war centred around mediocre open-world superhero games. On the left, we had Sucker Pun...
Transformers: Devastation photo
Transformers: Devastation

We saw Transformers at E3, and it looks rad


[feat. Polygon's Nick Robinson]
Jun 22
// Mike Cosimano
I'm going to cover Transformers: Devastation until either the game is cancelled or I have a physical copy in my grubby dork hands. I hope you have all come to terms with this, as I have not. More Than Meets the Eye is on...
Activision remakes photo
Activision remakes

Activision 'thinks a lot' about remastering Call of Duty games


Maybe it's just a matter of time
Jun 22
// Brett Makedonski
The video game landscape in 2015 is rife with remake after remake, and it's just something that we've sort of learned to live with. So, why is a publisher with a reputation for chasing cash not pumping out upgraded remakes of...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

New Black Ops III video goes deep into co-op


Killing with friends is so much better
Jun 19
// Robert Summa
In order to continue the hype-train coverage that is so much of the norm for today's AAA mega franchises (and probably lesser games too), this hot-off-the-presses marketing video for Call of Duty Black Ops III will take you on a 13-minute tour of the "cooperative campaign with the Cyber Core tutorial." Sit back, relax, and let the sounds of war bathe you in a warming glow.
Tony Hawk 5 photo
Tony Hawk 5

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 releasing on September 29


On PS4 and Xbox One
Jun 16
// Darren Nakamura
Amidst all of the press conferences and announcements and previews, Tony Hawk decided now would be a good time to tweet out some information about the upcoming Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5. It looks like the return to form for th...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

I sucked at Call of Duty: Black Ops III's multiplayer


But I still had fun!
Jun 16
// Zack Furniss
It's easy to be cynical about a new Call of Duty release. Between the series' annualization and aggressive marketing, the urge to fire with phasers set to snark is strong. But every year I end up thoroughly enjoying an a...

Platinum Games secretly 'won' E3 this year

Jun 16 // Chris Carter
This level of success is rarely seen from underdog developers like this, but somehow, Platinum has managed to woo some of the biggest players in the entire industry. If I had to venture a guess, it would be primarily because of the fact that it creates great games, but it must be said, it's an incredibly versatile developer in general. While it's true that Platinum mostly sticks to the action genre, projects like Vanquish have advanced shooting mechanics deeply embedded within its gameplay systems, and Infinite Space is a fairly complex RPG. You can see the passion from studio heads a mile away. Remember when Platinum's Hideki Kamiya said that he wanted Nintendo to go to the studio, hold guns to their heads, and say "make a new Star Fox"? Kamiya is known for his Twitter theatrics, but you can't say that he's not passionate about the industry, and that sort of thing is noticed -- in this case, by Nintendo directly. The entire studio was built by visionaries like him, such as Atsushi Inaba, who worked on Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, and former member (and legend) Shinji Mikami. Platinum is having a great E3, and that's not even including the fact that it is also signed on for an agreement with Microsoft for Scalebound, as well as any number of other projects it's wheeling and dealing on at the moment. Platinum has come a long way since its departure from Capcom's Clover Studio division, and I'm happy for its success -- it makes freaking fantastic games.
Platinum Games photo
It earned it
I don't really like the phrase "winning E3." We all win every year, right? With more competition from all corners of the industry, developers and publishers alike thrive, creating new ideas and concepts for us to enjoy. Unles...

Transformers photo
Later this year on everything but Wii U
After Best Buy and a leak spilled the beans, we now have official confirmation from Activision -- Platinum Games will develop Transformers: Devastation, an upcoming action project based on the Transformers universe. It ...

Black Ops III photo
Black Ops III

Call of Duty: Black Ops III multiplayer looks chaotic


Same goes for four-player co-op
Jun 15
// Jordan Devore
Treyarch showed competitive multiplayer for Call of Duty: Black Ops III as well as the game's four-person co-op campaign at Sony's E3 2015 press conference. The former had wallrunning and sliding all over the place while the...
Transformers: Devasation photo
Transformers: Devasation

Transformers: Devastation confirmed as a Platinum Games title


Best Buy spills the beans again
Jun 14
// Nic Rowen
Well, that was fast. Not a full day after it was leaked, Platinum Games has been confirmed as the developer behind the gorgeously cel-shaded Transformers: Devastation thanks to a premature Best Buy listing. As well as confirm...
Transformers: Devasation photo
Transformers: Devasation

Cel-shaded Transformers: Devastation is nailing the look


One must fall for these screens
Jun 13
// Nic Rowen
A new Transformers game from Activision, Transformers: Devastation, has been leaked in the lead up to E3, and damn if it doesn't look like an 80's cartoon come to life. Someone better call Cosimano, I think he'll be excited. ...

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