This year’s instalment of Call of Duty is a breath of fresh air into a series that has been slowly going stale.
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC
Price: From £40 (Amazon UK) – $60 (Amazon US)
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare borrows from both Ghosts and Black Ops 2 in that the guns, gameplay and setting all feel familiar whilst adding completely new features to the series. Fans will agree that the Call of Duty games, have been following a very similar pattern for years now, and needed something just to mix it up a little bit.
The Next-Gen Soldier
The most notable change noticable in Advanced Warfare is the inclusion of Exo suits. These suits are what the game is really built on as they bring a completely new element to combat in both the campaign and online multiplayer. Mechanics-wise they allow the player to ‘boost jump’, ‘boost dodge’ and ‘boost slam’, so as you can imagine fire-fights can become very chaotic, very quickly. On top of that you can also use Exo abilities, for example Exo cloak, which turns the user partially invisible for a short period of time in order to gain a tactical advantage.
It is clear that Sledgehammer Games’ founders Michael Condrey and Glen Schofield wanted to change things up after working on a previous Modern Warfare title, and they have. Fast forward the Call of Duty universe about 50 years where technology plays a massive part in everyday life and is the backbone of the military, and you have the setting for the game. Then throw terrorists, Koreans, the Marines and a giant PMC called Atlas into the mix and you’ve got something quite special. If you like linear first-person shooters that is.
There is no question that Kevin Spacey makes an excellent bad guy, but in his video game debut his performance may have just topped my list. The CEO of Atlas, a world-renowned Private Military Company, he plays the character of Johnathan Irons and he plays it well, not to mention that the facial animations are spot on and the sound quality is like something out of a movie. I can safely say that if you intend to play Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare just for the multiplayer, don’t.
The ultra-modern setting leaves you wanting to return to places like Seoul, South Korea to witness sights such as drones swarming the streets, which I can only liken to a school of flying fish, and the ruins of Detroit which are now home to camps of people relying on aid from Atlas, whilst being threatened by the terrorist organisation; the KVA.
One of the only flaws with the campaign, which Kotaku picked up on, is the odd quick time events that don’t really make sense or fit in with what is happening. That said, the rest of the campaign is excellent; every mission you play looks visually impressive thanks to the games’ motion capture and great level design, along with the stunts that your character can now pull off with the Exo suit, so you’ll soon forget about pressing ‘X to pay respects’.
Advanced Warfare Online
This is where to many people the game stands out most. The online element to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has changed significantly when compared to the previous games. You will never forget the first time you out manoeuvre an opponent with your Exo to get the kill.
You may grow frustrated with the spawning system as even though it is an improvement, the speed at which your soldier can move means that spawns are a just few jumps away, so death isn’t far behind.
Score-streaks are fun, quite limited and don’t really last that long, so don’t expect to wipe out the entire team three times in a row with your Paladin gunship, it just won’t happen. However for the first time you can customise your streaks at the cost of more needed points, so that for example you can get more time or have extra abilities whilst using them.
The guns in Advanced Warfare are pretty standard, however there are some (in my opinion) less effective weapons that deal damage in different ways. The heavy EM1 laser rifle and XMG’s which turn into a dual-wielded turret are just some of the guns that look cool, but that you probably won’t be using regularly if you care about that K/D.
You can also receive random ‘supply drops’ during matches which give you new Exo gear for your Operator and weapon variants, which change the look and effectiveness of the base weapons that you have unlocked. Also upon prestiging I can confirm that you lose everything except for unlocked camos, calling cards and whatever is in your armoury, and you gain a rank emblem and new calling card.
Exo Survival. This is basically just MW3’s Survival mode with added difficulty as the enemy has Exo abilities like you. Prepare for EM1 laser troopers, Goliaths, attack dogs and drones in this mode as you and a team of three others try to stay alive for as long as possible.
A good mode to play with friends, however it’s still no Zombies or Extinction. Luckily the game makes up for this by having a longer than usual campaign, which is amazing, and 15 prestige ranks for you to grind through in multiplayer. Also it is rumoured that DLC may bring with it the famous Call of Duty Zombies experience that fans are craving.
I would liken the game to that of previous Call of Duty’s with influences from games like Crysis and Killzone. Overall Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is what the fans asked for; a fast paced run and gun shooter, with film quality sound and visuals to back up its addicting gameplay.