Call of Duty: AW Ascendance Review

Add to that the superb new Exo Zombies level that introduces new zombie breeds and weapons, and you got yourself a solid piece of DLC that any franchise needs to should check out.

May 6, 2015

/ by Tin Salamunic

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Ascendance is developer Sledgehammer’s second big DLC, and while it makes a rather lukewarm first impression, the different nuances are enough to keep fans busy for another couple of months. The four new maps aren’t as aesthetically intriguing as Havoc’s environments, but their emphasis on vertically introduces new challenges and makes battles even more chaotic than before. The second Exo Zombies episode is particularly impressive, offering more environmental diversity and new zombie types. If you’ve enjoyed Sledgehammer’s Advanced Warfare so far, Ascendance makes a great addition to an already polished and deep multiplayer experience.  


A futuristic modular apartment complex. Perplex can either be the most frustrating or the most enjoyable map, depending on which strategy is used. After about twenty matches, I’ve noticed two kinds of players: those who try to climb their way to the top of the buildings and shoot enemies below, and those who crawl in the shadows on the bottom and wait for players from upper floors to jump down. It’s a devilish little map, but once you learn its choke points and layout, it becomes one of the best cat and mouse playgrounds. Halfway through the match, construction drones shift the apartment modules to create new paths and cover spots. The map is relatively small, but its labyrinthian design presents enough opportunities for both run and gunners and long range combatants. Visually, Perplex isn’t the prettiest map of the bunch. Something about the layout feels too staged and too perfectly organized. The entire structure is made up of similarly designed modules, so the space oftentimes appears even smaller. Nevertheless, Perplex is fun to play, and that’s ultimately all that matters. 

Site 244

Site 244 is the DLC’s highlight. An alien spaceship has crash landed near Mt. Rushmore, and its parts and mysterious cargo have created the perfect playground for snipers and stealthy gamers. The map is gorgeously designed, combining the organic landscape of Mt. Rushmore with futuristic alien ship parts scattered around the entire area. Site 244 is considerably large, and there are dozens of great hiding spots, both in high and low places. The map layout encourages slower pacing. Matches here feel like real hunts, unlike the typical hectic run and gun nature of most AW maps. The only downside is that the broken ship center is a little too vulnerable. Trying to cross through the middle almost always results in getting shot from the side as it’s too easy to hide in a corner and just wait for opponents. Site 244 is a fantastic new area, and may even deserve a spot right up there with Advanced Warfare’s best maps.  

Chop Shop

My personal favorite. I’m a sucker for labyrinthian corridors, and Chop Shop has them in abundance. Chop Shop is an industrial black market exoskeleton complex that’s full of tight spaces and tricky vantage points. Chop Shop is all about speed, as hanging around in one spot for too long can get you killed instantly. It’s very reminiscent of Havoc’s Urban map, with a cool color palette that’s accentuated with warm reflective lights. 


Climate is a futuristic utopia enveloped by a climate-controlled biodome. It’s a circular map that houses a central structure where the most heated face-offs take place. During each match, the climate changes transforming the water into a deadly acid. It’s a good looking map with some very tricky hiding spots, although its circular nature typically results in most gamers running the same patterns and fighting in the exact same choke points. Climate is probably Ascendance’s weakest element as it lacks the layout diversity of the other offerings. 

Each map has its strengths and weaknesses, and while the set isn’t quite up to par with Havoc’s diverse environments, the addition of Exo Grapple Playlists makes the experience notably different. Playing each map with a grappling hook completely changes combat dynamics and encourages a shift in strategy. Since the grappling hook needs to recharge after each use, timing your grapples becomes as important as timing your gun shots. Add to that the superb new Exo Zombies level that introduces new zombie breeds and weapons, and you got yourself a solid piece of DLC that any franchise needs to should check out. 

Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Xbox One


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