If there is a gaming Pantheon the Call of Duty Franchise (COD) sits among the ranks, alongside games like Tombraider and Halo. It sits on a throne of bullets, battles, and bitter tears. More or less synonymous with the ‘multiplayer explosion’ of the last generation, the folks that made COD took the first-person shooter (FPS) and made it Modern, now Activision and Sledgehammer games are advancing it further, with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare was developed by Sledgehammer Games (PC, PS4, Xbox One) and High Moon Studios (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U) and published by Activision
Release Date: Nov 14, 2014
Genre: First-person shooter, Multiplayer
Special Editions: Xbox One Advanced Warfare Bundle,
Game reviewed on the PlayStation 4
In the last generation of consoles, the XBox 360 / PS3 (and then of course there’s the Wii / Wii U, but they’re in their own category), I think it would be fair to say that the first-person shooter was king. After Call of Duty: Modern Warfare there was no stopping it. Folks picked up their controllers (and on screen automatic rifles) and didn’t put it down again for a very long time. The ‘endless gameplay’ experience was so successful that campaigns in these types of multi-player focused games were largely just lip service. It left those of us who really value a good fps campaign wanting something more. In the intervening years they just kept going, releasing a game a year, like Madden. They kept making hits too, but by the end of that generation I think it was pretty safe to say that the first-person, multiplayer-shooter was experiencing some fatigue. It had gone as far as it could with the tech, it would need something more… advanced.
More to the story
Thankfully, for those of us who appreciate this sort of thing, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has definitely paid increased attention to the campaign. Excellent storytelling is helped by beautiful graphics and animation, not to mention talented voice acting (including Kevin Spacey). Then there’s all the great FPS gameplay, which, regardless on your stance on Call of Duty, is something this game always had going for it. Combined, it makes for an entertaining romp. The story starts in the mid 2050’s and doesn’t paint the most attractive future, It does resonate as an unsettlingly similar to events of today. No surprise, the world is still at war, but has been changed by the rise of the private mercenary groups like Atlas Corp acting like independant armies. For profit wars with ever more powerful hardware that doesnt seem so terribly far off, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was playing a game, or looking at a window to the future. You have to hand it to them though, looking like something outta GI Joe, the Atlas Corp has all the tools.
All These Guns (muahahahaha)
I love arsenal. Doesn’t even matter the genre, two handed, one handed, blunt, bladed, or with bits that go boom. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with a more modest weapon set, particularly if time has been spent balancing the pieces, giving them character. But I must admit, I love weapons and I love them in their multitude and by all means lets have some flavor and variety. Getting to know the weapons in this game has been a big part of the fun. It’s not just guns either, but the hardware in general ‘guns’ just made for a better heading. With Atlas Corp, the design nerds at Sledgehammer got a chance to play with the idea of ‘Advanced Warfare’ and what it would look like. They didn’t disappoint. Everything is upgraded, even things you didn’t think could be. Like grenades. Wielded in either hand and in a variety of munition types, they have gone from ‘lumps that go boom’ to tactical devices. I developed a real taste for the ‘Threat’ grenade, but there’s something for every occasion. Then there’s the Exoskeletons. Similar to the ones sported by Matt Damon in the movie Elysium, their inclusion gives the COD player a ‘boost’ from everyday soldier to the space marine. There are a few varieties of Exoskeleton, each with their own abilities. The available options are plenty, such as double jump, magnetic hands, riot shield, bullet time… sorry, I meant ‘overdrive’. The list goes on, it all adds up to more varied gameplay and the ability to tailor the experience to your taste. It doesn’t end at the Exoskeleton either. The toys are fantastic, if occasionally overpowered. Once you’ve piloted a drone to decimate a large number of enemies you’ll understand what I mean.
Dancing with the One that Brought You
It can hardly be called ‘Call of Duty’ without Multiplayer. All of the toys that have made the game more ‘advanced’ are available here, and nowhere is the inclusion of the Exoskeleton felt more than here. Helped along by the next generation console, there’s an increased focus on players having enough options to tailoring the experience. No surprise, the Exo suits feature huge here, which is part of what makes their addition so excellent. With new access to verticality (boost jumps), the landscape changes completely. Quite literally too, because you can jump on top of stuff now! Seriously though, when people can cover distance with boost and dodge, there are a lot more angles to cover and consider, and that’s goes double for those in the air. Skeet shooting anyone?
Another thing that deserves a friendly nod is Combat Readiness. One of the biggest hurdles for non-COD players to playing COD, being actual COD players… they… well, some of the stereotypes are founded. They can be intimidating, andIf nothing else, they’re trained killers. Basically Combat Readiness is a COD multiplayer experience without the sharp edges, so you don’t have to fight with your feelings of inadequacy as well as the people who will prey on them. Rather, practice your skill in a more nonthreatening environment. No display names, no embarrassing post slaughter statistics, and more importantly, none of the interpersonal intensity that makes a Call of Duty multiplayer match so high stakes.
A vastly improved campaign, with great storytelling and world class voice acting, combined with a multiplayer featuring the awesome new Exoskeletons means Call of Duty continues to push the first-person shooter forward into the future. With an arsenal thats impressive in scope and a lot of fun to explore, and even more options to help cater the personal experience, Advanced Warfare is everything you expect out of this franchise.
Special Editions: Xbox One Advanced Warfare Bundle,