We’ve finally made it to the end; Ghost’s DLC support reaches its climax with the Nemesis map pack, and with a development cycle that now runs like clockwork, this fourth add-on is the last new slice of Call of Duty content you’ll be able to get your hands on until the next iteration rolls off the production line later this year. Just as well then, that Nemesis is probably the most balanced and entertaining map pack that Ghosts has received to date, both in terms of competitive and cooperative gameplay. That’s not to say Nemesis is perfect by any means, but it certainly has enough lasting appeal to tide hardcore fans over until Advanced Warfare replaces Ghosts on retail shelves in November.
Barring one of the new maps on offer in Nemesis, all of the new killing arenas feel balanced, enjoyable, and most importantly, not overly bloated and unnecessarily large. First is Goldrush, a medium-sized map that takes place in an abandoned gold mine complete with rideable minecarts and automated cargo lifts. It’s a fun map that suits all playstyles, and while most of the action will take place in the centre of the map due to multiple pathways converging there, there’s still plenty of wiggle room for other tactical choices.
Minecarts offer a quick route around the map, and while they offer great opportunities for flanking, they also make you extremely vulnerable to attack from multiple directions. In addition, the giant cargo lift placed in the middle of the map moves automatically, making it perfect for ambushing the other team by waiting in the caverns that run below the entire stage. Objective-based games work like a charm on Goldmine, making it a great fit for Search and Destroy or Domination enthusiasts.
Subzero’s next, and while its snow-battered setting may seem generic at first, it’s a remarkably well-balanced arena that promotes teamwork. Very much a map of two halves, one side is at the mercy of the elements, featuring open courtyards and slush-filled back alleys suited for flanking. Your objective - if you’re on the team that spawns outside - should be to make your way into the submarine base that dominates the rest of the map, as you’ll want to hold it for the advantage that it provides.
While there’s multiple sites of entry to the structure, the ability to cover all entrances with a coordinated team will grant an advantageous viewpoint of the shivering cold of the outside portion of the map. The advantage may sound unbalanced, but unless you’re playing with a few mates in tow, holding the vantage points just ain’t going to happen. Additionally, if the other team gets Subzero’s level-specific killstreak - essentially a cloud of mist with two red eyes - you can kiss goodbye to any advantage you think you have.
Showtime is simultaneously Nemesis’ most unbalanced map and its most entertaining. A remake of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare’s Shipment map, the map is small, loud and a remarkable change of pace when compared with the bloated, oversized maps that came packaged with the base game. The original map is the smallest multiplayer arena to ever feature in a CoD title, and while its size has been increased here, it’s still very, very small. Infinity Ward have clearly thrown caution to the wind with the map, and it’s a move that’s paid off. A map truly suited for brainless deathmatch mayhem, it’s small, symmetrical nature heavily promotes the use of a lightweight loadout. Shotguns and SMGs are your best bet, and with the reimagining also placing Showtime in a futuristic game show setting complete with a randomised care package system, the map has a genuine arcade feel that’s entirely different to any other map. The only downside is, due to the small nature of the map and how frequently people die, spawn points are a mess. If you die once, you will no doubt die multiple times in the space of several seconds due to spawning right in front of a trigger-happy member of the other team.
That just leaves Dynasty for competitive maps, the almost expected dud that offers very little new. Boring to look at and equally boring to play, the Chinese village is everything that the other maps aren’t. The drab greys that paint the high-rise walls and the uninspired layout make Dynasty the least exciting map of Nemesis. With little in the way of a holdable position, your best bet is to adopt a run and gun mindset. Staying on the move to loop around the narrow paths that surround the sloped roofed buildings is what you’ll want to do while trying to avoid the three-lane design of the large oriental-themed building in the middle. Rounding out the methods of play in Dynasty are aqueducts that run underneath the cobbled streets above, providing multiple opportunities for flanking the other team.
Finally, there’s the culmination to the surprisingly entertaining Invasion gametype: Exodus. Following your escape from the Cryptid hive in the previous mission, your crack team of alien exterminators has one final mission: get the space shuttle looming over the map running, get as many people as possible onto it and then get the hell out of Dodge. Structurally, Exodus is essentially identical to all the previous episodes before it. Instead of using the worn out drill though, you need to restart a bunch of generators to get the base operational again. New features are slim aside from a new enemy type and crafting recipes but the main draw remains - you’re still going to get swarmed by hundreds of aliens at a constant rate.
Nemesis isn’t the spectacular map pack to end all map packs, but it’s still a damn good end to a Call of Duty game that many have cited to be the weakest in the series to date. While that statement is very much debatable, Ghost’s multiplayer did suffer from some awful scaling issues in relation to team and map sizes. While it’s taken four map packs for Infinity Ward to get the balance right, at least the developer has tried something a little different with Nemesis. Other than one rather bland map, Nemesis is by far the most memorable DLC that has received. If you’re only interested in buying one, then this is the one you’ll want to get.