Call of Duty and I have a long history, filled with ups and downs, highs and lows. From the nostalgic heights of World War II to the boring and unimaginative rendition of 2027 USA, Call of Duty has offered me a great if somewhat bumpy ride. Yet, after 10 major titles, countless bullets fired and an untold amount of flags captured, what could Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare really show, especially when the previous entry in the series has been less-than-successful and other multiplayer-centric titles are out there, vying for the number 1 spot?
To start with, I can honestly say that the Advanced Warfare single-player campaign is excellent, enjoyable and a definite must-play. The story, while somewhat predictable and downright cheesy towards the end, is still delivered through a series of missions that I genuinely enjoyed playing. What’s more, Sledgehammer went over the top to make sure there is as much diversity in the campaign as possible. There’s stealth missions, vehicle missions, a drone mission and even the “regular” missions play out different from one another because you’re given different exo-suits and therefore different abilities.
The graphics are likewise excellent – the degree of detail, especially during cutscenes, is exceptional. Facial expressions look “alive”, especially during Jonathan Irons’ (as voice and motion-captured by Kevin Spacey) monologues and there are several points during the game where the quality is almost movie-like. Same goes for the game itself – sparks sparkle, fires burn, explosions explode and butterflies butterfly. Weapons are rendered in great detail, down to the serial number on that ACOG attachment. The one complaint I have, graphic-wise, is enemy animations. They look a bit too stiff for comfort, especially when you have the opportunity to examine it up-close and personal though the wonders of cloaking technology. A minor issue, no doubt, but it stands in stark contrast to how good everything else looks.
While the campaign’s story is original and not a sequel, the same can’t be said about the gameplay. Make no mistake, while the exo-suits provide a certain degree of innovation to the gameplay (sadly it’s mostly used up for two very scripted missions and not for any regular play), it’s mostly still the same: Shoot. Take cover. Maybe toss a grenade or two. Advance. Rinse and repeat until the enemies give up or the mission ends. Of course, that is a gross over-simplification – you sometimes jump or grapple and there’s all sorts of enemies types you need to adapt to but the core of the game is what it has always been: fast-paced, adrenaline-fueled, run-and-gun shooting gallery. It’s a still a shame that you spend a good deal of the game chasing someone with a “Follow” dot hovering over their head but otherwise the campaign is really a solid experience that should take you about 6 hours.
Like any Call of Duty, you have yourself an exceptionally large arsenal of things that go boom, bang, pow and even a thing that goes ZZZzzzzzzap. That actually irked me a bit. Come ON. We’re 50 years into the future here and there’s only one laser gun? and a bad one, at that? I’m not asking for Unreal’s Shock Rifle (unless I can have it, in which case I’m totally asking for it) but I would like to have some more sci-fi toys to play around with. Sure, there’s nifty gadgets like the Mute Mine (it can’t speak, which is secondary to its ability of silencing every sound in a small radius) and the Threat Grenade (you’d think this one COULD speak, maybe shout obscenities, but no. It just highlights enemies through walls and cover) but where are my laser guns?
If the single-player campaign is a chain composed of fresh ideas and homage to old ones (lie down perfectly still while this tank drives on top of you) then the multiplayer experience is using that chain to strangle people with. Everything you had a taste of in the single-player campaign comes back bigger and better for the multiplayer experience. From levels designed for exo-suit combat to entire modes specifically made for double-jumping soldiers, the multiplayer gameplay is a definite step up from Ghosts and an upgrade on the Black Ops 2 “Pick 10” system, now dubbed “Pick 13”. Why? because if it works, you don’t mess with it. And if you do mess with it, you un-mess with it for the next game in the series.
Just like in Black Ops 2, your multiplayer avatar can be as personalized as you care to make it. Everything from primary weapons, secondary, attachments, abilities and even a “Wildcard” slot for special game-style choices can be chosen, changed, modified, altered and tailored just for you and that’s before you even set foot in the cosmetic choice department. It is a bit overwhelming at the start but since things unlock as you progress, you’ll have plenty of time to familiarize yourself with everything before moving on to the next best thing. Even familiarizing yourself with your gear is simplified in Advanced Warfare. There’s a built-in shooting range you can pop into while you’re in the lobby to test things out stress-free. Better yet, try the “Combat Readiness Program” mode which is really just a fancy name for a non-competitive match played against bots and other beginners.
In conclusion, does Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare manage to keep the veteran franchise fresh? yes, it does. Story mode is fun, multiplayer is fun, all the new ideas are fun and you can tell that a lot of work went into this game to make it fun for both new players as well as franchise veterans. Irritating quick-time events aside, Advanced Warfare is a solid entry into the series, and I can’t wait for Advanced Warfare 2 in about three years.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.