There is a new trend in cooking, the gourmet burger; these trendy items are a mind blowing combination of choice meats, exotic cheese and veg, in combinations the stagger the mind in their complexity and creativity.
With these works of art that any bovine would be proud to be part of, the question needs to be asked: why in god’s name would anyone ever set foot in a McDonalds, and slap down a few buck for a beef hockey puck? The answer is quite simple: familiarity and satisfaction. Ask any good cook what makes good food and you will find an answer rooted in the right amounts and balance of salt, sugar and fat. Too much of these and the balance is off, too little and the dish is inedible…or vegan.*
You can probably see where this analogy is going. CoD gives you just the right amount of salt, sugar and fat to make a fun meal. The latest DLC, “Invasion” is a fine addition to the multiplayer setlist. The DLC consists of four new maps: Mutiny, Pharaoh, Departed and Favela. Invasion also adds the newest chapter to the Extinction saga. All of the maps are well done and complicated enough to make gameplay exciting.
One of my personal dislikes of most call of Duty maps, is that they all tend to be linear, IE two spawn areas with a channel between them. This layout tends to encourage things like run and gun or quick scoping. I mean, both are valid gameplay styles, but they are not everyone’s idea of fun.
Luckily, the newest maps are set up as grids with plenty of places to hide. In previous games it seemed that the edges of the map were the best ways to travel. The center of the maps seemed to be the place to go if you wanted to get chewed up pretty damn quick. If your team wasn’t quick enough it was easy to lose control of the map when the other team took the corners. With a grid set up it is possible to work the edge of the map and the center. It is harder to dominate the map completely, so the fight is that much better.
Each map has some interesting features that makes them a bit more than average. Some of the maps have the ability to change a bit, and each has a unique care package or two associated with the theme of the map. I’d be lying if I said that I was able to find everything!
Mutiny is a fun pirate themed map complete with a pirate ship, warehouse and docks. The reward for the field orders is well worth the effort: I hear mutiny has a lot of hidden things. I have not found any of it yet so the thrill of the hunt while not getting whacked is on. Pharaoh places you in the dig of an archeological site where the only thing missing is a load out that has the option for a revolver and a bull whip. This one takes some time to figure out the overall experience is just fun. Departed is a nice tight map with a lot of corners and hides. The field order care package was amusing and like the others worth the effort. Favela, a rework of an old Modern warfare map was a lot like that burger mentioned in the beginning. You know it, you know what you’re getting and in the end it’s what you want.
The third chapter in extinction I have to admit did not grab me. I tried it got part way through and then got bored pretty quickly. The endless holding the line while hordes of critters wear you down wasn’t much fun. Zombies by any other name still smell a tich ripe and overdone.
Overall Invasion had the right balance of complexity, surprise and familiarity that made it a hell of a lot of fun. It never takes its self too seriously. As a player you have the opportunity to attack the maps with a variety of strategies. Unlike most multiplayer maps there are other things you can do, that will probably get you killed. All part of the fun.