It can be difficult to get excited for a new Call of Duty game. Each iteration in the popular franchise brings with it uptempo, militaristic, first person shooting and not much else. Gamers have learned to expect a poor single player campaign and a multiplayer mode that, while fun, changes very little from one year to the next. It is arguable the major motivation for picking up the newest version is to continue to play with your friends online. All that being said, it is exciting to note that Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare changes the franchise as we know it, and makes some subtle changes that developers of other first person shooters would be wise to replicate.
Advanced Warfare is Sledgehammer Games’ first attempt at making a Call of Duty game without pairing with longtime COD developer, Infinity Ward. It’s also the first time that a Call of Duty title takes places in such a futuristic environment. Set roughly 40 years from now, soldiers in Advanced Warfare utilize advanced tactical suits called Exoskeletons, which provide superhuman capabilities that range from increased for speed, jumping and even cloaking to conceal themselves for short periods of time. The inclusion of the exoskeletons makes this a true departure from previous Call of Duty games, but for the franchise’s longtime fans, it still feels like Call of Duty. It is inherently obvious that Sledgehammer sought to carve out a new type of COD game that makes enough big changes to bring in new players, but still feel familiar enough to satisfy the core audience – consider Advanced Warfare a success on both these fronts.
Advanced Warfare’s campaign brings with it the superb voice acting talent of Troy Baker and the Academy award winning charisma of Kevin Spacey. The combination results in the first Call of Duty campaign worth caring about since 2009’s Modern Warfare 2. While there are still a number of times the gameplay is pretty much limited to: follow this soldier, then go to this area and kill a bunch of enemies, there are enough changes to the format, and the enough solid acting in the story, to keep players interested. One noteworthy item is that Advanced Warfare’s campaign does not always allow players to use all of the exoskeleton’s abilities, providing the chance to become acquainted with the new skills. Just as noteworthy is the inclusion of stealth gameplay. Whether players will enjoy this or not will be determined, but it certainly does not take away from the game as there is still plenty of action in the campaign. There are some cheesy acting moments, and some inconsistencies in the story, but overall, Advanced Warfare’s campaign is a cut above what we have come to expect from Call of Duty.
Multiplayer in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is as good as it has ever been. It’s the gameplay Call of Duty fans know and love, but amplified; the exoskeleton’s capabilities are on full display and choosing what to have in your loadout is part of the fun. Even if you never try out the campaign, players will find themselves double jumping across the game’s maps and in and out of windows quickly and easily. The controls are incredibly intuitive, even if someone has never played a Call of Duty title, and Sledgehammer clearly designed each map to take advantage of the exoskeleton abilities.
There are certainly some moments you experience in multiplayer that feel incredibly similar to Titanfall, but unlike Respawn’s futuristic shooter, players are just as dangerous on the ground as they are on top of buildings and platforms. In multiplayer, gamers are allowed to choose 13 different items in the mode’s “Create a Class”, making your virtual soldier customized to how you play. The items range from attachments for your primary and secondary weapons to Wildcards, which allow for perks such as additional abilities on your exoskeleton. In addition to the standard deathmatch and capture the flag modes, Advanced Warfare includes Uplink, a mode which can best be described as, “basketball with guns”, players are in possession of an item which must be uploaded on a certain spot of the map, the item can be passed from one player to another, even if they are on the opposing team, but the item’s carrier cannot use a weapon. Passing the item to an opponent only to whip out your gun and shoot him so that you can retrieve it is incredibly gratifying. Lastly, Advanced Warfare also includes a co-op mode.
Graphically, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare looks good on all platforms, but especially great on the Xbox One and PS4. The characters in campaign mode look incredibly lifelike, particularly when it comes to facial expressions, and are on par with Ryse: Son of Rome. Even in multiplayer, there are moments I found myself in awe of how gorgeous this game is. Lighting and shadows are realistic, and players can be seen moving fluidly, even while using these futuristic maneuvers. Put simply, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is one of the best looking games on the Xbox One and PS4.
Overall, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare provides more of the gameplay that brings fans of the franchise back every year, while making enough tweaks to the gameplay and campaign to attract more players. The campaign will surprise many players by how good it is, but multiplayer remains the reason to pick up this game. Everything Call of Duty has been since its inception has been building to this point. Advanced Warfare stands on the cusp of the future of First Person Shooters; its enhanced arsenal of weapons, exoskeleton abilities, and fast-paced action provide gamers with the Call of Duty game they deserve.
- + Superb graphics
- + Fast and fluid shooting combat
- + Great multiplayer maps
– Inconsistencies in the story