We had the good fortune to play through three different multiplayer maps at the Call of Duty: Ghosts Multiplayer Reveal event. For five hours, we lived, breathed and died (repeatedly) COD: Ghosts multiplayer. The maps Activision had on display spanned different sizes and design elements. Of the three maps we played, Octane was the smallest and most intense.
The Call of Duty: Ghosts Octane multiplayer map (shown above) is immediately recognizable by its centerpiece landmark, which you’ll see blown up time and again in the Call of Duty multiplayer teaser. Yes, I’m talking about the gas station, which is obviously how the Octane multiplayer map got its name.
Although it takes place largely outdoors, Octane is a relatively small map by Call of Duty: Ghosts standards. In many respects Octane feels like a kill-friendly arena, but it has a few key obstacles and navigable structures to help remove some of the “big open room” vibe. Although it appears to be a map based in Las Vegas, Octane visually looks like a bombed-out African city, almost like the urban New Mombassa-based map in Halo, but with more vitality.
Yes, I realize the irony in saying a nigh-post-apocalyptic map has “vitality,” but by Halo’s old standards Octane absolutely does. Octane doesn’t include any residents fleeing for their lives, but the various set pieces such as the gas station and overall environmental decor make the level seem almost lived in. Humvees litter the streets, perhaps just hours after the first time they last drove. A few tanks stand idle as if they were recently abandoned. At least six bombed-out buildings beckon gamers to explore their multiple floors and roofs. The signage, wallpaper and miscellaneous items scattered on tabletops and air-conditioning units make the level feel “lived in,” even as every living soul has completely vanished from town.
Each of these little touches makes the Call of Duty: Ghosts Octane multiplayer map seem less claustrophobic than it otherwise might. Again, the map is essentially a glorified arena, particularly once you blow up the gas station. Doing so dynamically creates new cover, but it removes one of the structures that previously helped Octane feel less like a room. Ducking in and out of hallways, behind buses, between railroad crates and mantling over Humvees and tanks is all well and good, but after a time you start to feel like a fish swimming circles in a tank. They just happen to be circles where death awaits just around the bend.
The coziness of the Call of Duty: Ghosts Octane multiplayer map isn’t a bad thing, though. In fact, it makes Octane a great map for playing the new Call of Duty: Ghosts Cranked mode. This new mode gives players a 30-second timer after killing an enemy, and if they don’t kill another enemy during that 30-second window, they explode. Naturally, this puts increased pressure on finding bad guys to whack, and nothing promotes that better than a small map like Octane.
The Octane multiplayer map risks being overlooked when Call of Duty: Ghosts ships this November, as some of the larger objective-friendly maps may see more play time. (For example, the Strikezone map and Whiteout map.) But Octane is designed for speed and close-quarters combat, so it’s bound to have its fans. Plus, over the long haul as people delve into the new Cranked mode (which is awesome!), Octane should find a special place in gamers’ playlists. When it comes to Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer maps, Octane’s out to prove that size really does matter. Only in this level’s case, the only size that matters is “small.” Pre-order Call of Duty: Ghosts from Amazon. You’ll be glad you did.
– Jonas Allen