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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. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the developer.]
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.

Rocket League DLC photo
Rocket League DLC

Rocket League does DLC right


Some free, some paid
Jul 30
// Jordan Devore
Has Rocket League infiltrated your dreams yet? Give it time. It'll happen. Patrick showed us the upcoming Utopia Coliseum, but developer Psyonix has more in store for early August. A free update will add that arena plus Spect...
Super Smash Bros. photo
Super Smash Bros.

King K. Rool headed to Smash Bros. as a costume


More stages and tournament mode
Jul 29
// Jordan Devore
Hah. A classic villain like Donkey Kong Country's King K. Rool would come to Super Smash Bros. as a costume for Mii Fighter, wouldn't he? Not like I wanted him on the roster or anything. Nintendo is rolling out a bunch of new...
The Following photo
The Following

The Following is the 'massive, story-based' Dying Light expansion


With dirt buggies and bows
Jul 29
// Steven Hansen
Zombie free-running game Dying Light teased vehicles as a part of its DLC plan earlier this month. Indeed, Techland has confirmed that all-terrain dirt buggies are a big part of the, "feature-heavy, story-based expansion pack...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

Gwent cards won't carry over for The Witcher 3's New Game+


Plan accordingly!
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
While New Game+ isn't an option for The Witcher 3 yet, it will be soon. But before you commit to another playthrough, you should know what will and won't transfer. CD Projekt RED has answers. New Game+ will bump you to level ...
Advanced Warfare photo
Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's final DLC pack comes to Xbox on August 4


The torch has been passed to Treyarch
Jul 28
// Joe Parlock
While Call of Duty has lost a lot of its steam from the Modern Warfare 2 glory days, Activision is still pushing ahead with the DLC schedule for the series. Now that Black Ops 3 is on the horizon, it’s time for Sledgeh...
Witcher 3 update photo
Witcher 3 update

The Witcher 3 is adding New Game+


It'll be free, of course
Jul 27
// Jordan Devore
Even if I don't end up starting a New Game+, I love knowing it's always an option. I had expected the feature to be in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which I still haven't even begun (I'm only now on inFamous: Second Son, as far a...
Neverwinter: Strongholds photo
Neverwinter: Strongholds

Neverwinter: Strongholds coming August 11 - Come see the trailer


Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! L-L-L-LIVE!
Jul 24
// Joe Parlock
I’m excited for the newest Neverwinter expansion, Strongholds. Guilds have never really been all that important in Neverwinter, with most players blasting through the solo content and then going into the admittedly pay...
FEF(os) photo
FEF(os)

Fire Emblem Fates gets Awakening characters as DLC


FEF(os)
Jul 23
// Steven Hansen
Fire Emblem Fates, which is not coming to the United States until 2016, has been out in Japan for a while and is being supported with DLC. Today marks the start of a month's worth of free maps, one of which includes character...
The Talos Principle photo
The Talos Principle

The Talos Principle: Road to Gehenna is out now


Watch the launch trailer
Jul 23
// Darren Nakamura
The more time passes since playing The Talos Principle, the more I think it's going to end up on my personal games of the year list. Releasing late last year, it just missed the cut to be considered for 2014, so it will be g...
Drive photo
Drive

Techland's zombie free run Dying Light is getting...cars?


'Future content additions'
Jul 23
// Steven Hansen
The official Dying Light YouTube uploaded this look back on the first six months of post-release support Techland and Warner Bros. gave Dying Light through its season pass and occasional free update. It's been a huge success...
Hearthstone Expands photo
Hearthstone Expands

Blizzard announces The Grand Tournament expansion for Hearthstone


With over 130 new cards!
Jul 22
// Jed Whitaker
Blizzard announced today that 132 cards are headed to Hearthstone in an upcoming expansion called The Grand Tournament. New hero power cards are on the way, including Maiden of the Lake, which makes the cost of your her...
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt photo
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Latest The Witcher 3 free DLC brings new finishing animations


FINISH HIM, GERALT!
Jul 22
// Vikki Blake
CD Projekt Red has revealed that this week's free The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt DLC will boast new finishing moves for leading man, Geralt. The announcement tweet gave little away other than a small, pictorial teaser of what'...

Review: Trials Fusion: Awesome Level Max

Jul 21 // Jordan Devore
Trials Fusion: Awesome Level Max (PC, PlayStation 4 [reviewed], Xbox One)Developer: RedLynxPublisher: UbisoftReleased: July 14, 2015MSRP: $9.99 (DLC) / $39.99 (Full game, Season Pass DLC, and Awesome Level Max) While Ubisoft has spent much of its time talking up "The Awesome Adventure," the group of levels centered on the unlikely duo, that content makes up the minority of Awesome Level Max. It's only short eight levels, one of which is an even-shorter FMX course that has players performing tricks as they fall from space. The other twenty-two levels are a mix of developer and player-made creations. They're far more varied and come packaged under the "RedLynx vs. All-Stars" banner. But back to that unicorn -- it's meant to be ridiculous, silly fun. That may seem obvious, but some people take Trials leaderboards very seriously. Think of this set as something you'll go through once -- maybe a few times more, tops, to get better medals -- and never touch again. The scenery is a change of pace, especially from the core game's offerings. Level layouts aren't particularly memorable or challenging, and I suspect most dedicated players will be able to breeze past them, crashing only because the path ahead wasn't clear enough the first time through. The seventh track culminates in a boss battle, if you can even call it that, against a penguin inside a mech. There are pixelated cats, for some reason. You literally win the fight by balancing on the machine's helmet. I didn't know what to expect for the conclusion, but it sure wasn't that. Weird stuff. It's also worth noting that the unicorn and cat are locked out of other tracks aside from Supercross. [embed]296414:59632:0[/embed] The RedLynx vs. All-Stars side of the DLC is far more fulfilling. For one, it represents a better range of difficulty. Clearing the first checkpoint in the two new Extreme tracks felt like an accomplishment, as it should. I haven't managed to finish either of them yet, and that pleases me. One concern going in was that there would be an inconsistency between the player-created courses and the ones RedLynx designed. I didn't find that to be the case at all. If they weren't labeled separately, I'm not certain I'd be able to tell the levels apart. One takes place in a computer. Another is reminiscent of Limbo's shadowy, saw-filled world. Too many tracks employ lava but, on the whole, this bundle has exactly the variety I missed in the often bland base version of Trials Fusion. Folks who skipped the season pass but want more Trials in the vein of Trials HD and Evolution should consider downloading Awesome Level Max. It's a little on the easy side, but I appreciate RedLynx for trying new ideas and bringing back more of its unusual personality. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Trials Fusion DLC review photo
Just go with it
Why would Trials Fusion drop its motorbikes for a gun-toting cat on a unicorn? Because it's funny. The touchy controls transfer to your new ride, so when you inevitably lose balance, the quadruped will start hoofing it on two legs. If you're anything like me, you'll burst out in laughter.

Splatoon photo
Splatoon

I can't afford all of these new Splatoon weapons


But keep 'em coming!
Jul 21
// Jordan Devore
I keep pumping all of my Splatoon fun bucks into new clothing I don't need when I could be spending that money on weapons I'll use once but still want. Such is the kid/squid's dilemma. Nintendo is adding another fresh pair of...
Heroes of the Storm photo
Heroes of the Storm

Diablo's King Leoric joins Heroes of the Storm today


Rest in peace, already!
Jul 21
// Jordan Devore
This video for King Leoric isn't as informative as the prior one, but I had to share it for that last line. The new Heroes of the Storm combatant seems as if he'll be a royal pain in the ass on maps like Cursed Hollow and Sky Temple, to say nothing of his undying ability that lets him roam around as a wraith. I'm saving my stockpile of gold for the Monk, though. He was my boy in Diablo III.
Unfair photo
Unfair

Tekken 7 gets Idolmaster costumes, but not for the men


Unfair
Jul 20
// Steven Hansen
Namco is celebrating 10 years of Idolmaster by way of costume cross over with Tekken 7. Unfortunately, Japanese pop idol Paul coming to Idolmaster is just a joke and it seems only Tekken's women get pop idol attire. In the s...
Mortal Kombat X photo
Mortal Kombat X

Mortal Kombat X's Tremor will be available tomorrow


Watch his gameplay trailer now
Jul 20
// Chris Carter
If you sprang for the expensive Kombat Pack Season Pass, you'll be able to pick up Tremor in Mortal Kombat X tomorrow. If not, he'll be available to the public piecemeal on July 28. As expected he's an earth-based fight...
DriveClub photo
DriveClub

Here's what's new in the latest DriveClub update


There's new DLC packs, too
Jul 20
// Vikki Blake
Two further DLC packs are headed to DriveClub next week. The first pack - The Horsepower Expansion Pack - will drop on Tuesday, July 28 and includes 11 new events, five new cars and five new trophies. It includes the Fer...
Splatoon weapons photo
Splatoon weapons

Splatoon is adding new weapons in time for tonight's Splatfest


Another Zapper and brush
Jul 17
// Jordan Devore
Tonight at 9:00pm Pacific, Splatoon players will begin battling to determine which is better: water slides or roller coasters. I don't think as many people will have the level of intensity that we saw in the cats vs. dogs Spl...
Never Alone photo
Never Alone

Nuna and Fox have another Never Alone adventure in them


Foxtales, Woo-oo!
Jul 16
// Brett Makedonski
Last winter, Upper One Games introduced audiences to a piece of Iñupiat folklore through Never Alone. It told the tale of Nuna and her pet fox as they attempted to find the source of a relentless blizzard an...
Trials Fusion DLC photo
Trials Fusion DLC

That wacky unicorn DLC for Trials Fusion is here


Out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One
Jul 15
// Jordan Devore
I didn't stick with Trials Fusion for very long despite generally liking the game. While the user-made tracks are reason enough to check back in, there's also this ridiculous Awesome Level Max DLC ($9.99) with a gun-wielding ...
Batgirl photo
Batgirl

Here's the first 10 minutes of the Batman: Arkham Knight Batgirl DLC


It's almost half over!
Jul 14
// Chris Carter
The Batgirl DLC is out today for Batman: Arkham Knight, but only if you paid up and bought the $40 Season Pass. For the rest of you, it'll be available next week piecemeal for $6.99. Like I said in my review, it's...okay. It...
Batman DLC photo
Batman DLC

Arkham Knight DLC adds 1989 Batman skin, old-school Batmobile


Keaton-kinkreet
Jul 14
// Steven Hansen
Batman: Arkham Knight just released the most substantive piece of DLC in its Season Pass with Batgirl: A Matter of Family. That isn't saying much as it is still slight. It's just not as short as the Red Hood and Harley chunks...
Out of thin air photo
Out of thin air

Prototype 1 and 2 stealth released on Xbox One


$49.99 with all DLC included
Jul 13
// Jed Whitaker
Prototype and its sequel have released for Xbox One on Xbox Live as the Prototype Biohazard Bundle for $49.99. The bundle includes all the DLC from the original games, but it's unknown whether or not these are HD remasters an...
The Witcher 3 photo
The Witcher 3

The Witcher 3 expansions will be 'almost same size' as The Witcher 2


'I think that people will be happy'
Jul 10
// Vikki Blake
If you've finished up The Witcher 3 but are still gaggin' for more, get ready: the expansions are coming, and when they do, they're gonna be huge.  Talking to Game Reactor, The Witcher 3's game director Konrad Tomas...
The Talos Principle photo
The Talos Principle

Tougher puzzles await The Talos Principle players this month


Expansion releasing July 23 on Steam
Jul 08
// Jordan Devore
Croteam is building on its philosophical first-person puzzle game The Talos Principle with an upcoming expansion, Road to Gehenna, which covers a different society and "some of the most advanced and challenging puzzles yet." ...
Batgirl photo
Batgirl

Joker sure makes a mess of things in Batgirl trailer


It's Joker's main event
Jul 08
// Brett Makedonski
When Arkham Knight's first substantial add-on releases, it'll see Batgirl doing a lot of the same activities Batman partakes in -- namely punching enemies into unconsciousness. They should try not to stay like that too ...
Destiny PS4 photo
Destiny PS4

Limited edition Destiny: The Taken King PS4 bundle


Coming September, actually looks nice
Jul 07
// Steven Hansen
I don't like Destiny, but this PS4 bundle for the somewhat controversial The Taken King expansion looks alright as far as skinned consoles go. Plus, white. Wish my PS4 was white. I wouldn't always lose the controller in my bl...
Mortal Kombat DLC photo
Mortal Kombat DLC

Mortal Kombat X players get free Scorpion skin, Klassic fatality pack


Free? From WB?
Jul 07
// Steven Hansen
While you will have to pay to have Predator in Mortal Kombat X, miserly Warner Bros. is throwing some nostalgic scraps players' way. You'll be able to download the hinted-at Klassic Fatality Pack 1 for free in celebration of...

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