Call of Duty has been on a bit of a cold streak lately. I know I gave Ghosts a pretty good review last year, but over time it just did not have the same appeal as some of the titles before it. Black Ops II was a decent entry but it still was the same tired multiplayer and campaign that never really added anything to the series. To be honest, the last Call of Duty entry to really “wow” me was the first Black Ops. All the other ones were good, but by no means spectacular.
Enter Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The game was developed by Sledgehammer Games which is part of the Activision family and one of the companies that helped with Modern Warfare 3 after Infinity Ward collapsed. This title takes place in the near future, around 2050, so its plan was to be futuristic but not so much that it was not a little realistic.
The game actually tackles some big world issues that are prevalent today including US interventionism and the rise of PMCs, or Private Military Companies. As the TV trailers have highlighted, acting superstar Kevin Spacey has taken on the role as the main protagonist/antagonist who runs the PMC named Atlas. When America is attacked by terrorists and rendered helpless, they turn to Atlas for defense and then the story follows Spacey on the rise to power.
It’s a cool story and one that is very cinematic. You can tell the development team was trying very hard to get an imaginative and enthralling storyline out there because the one in Ghosts, and Black Ops II was not too great. The campaign is similar to ones before it in terms of the types of missions offered, for the most part.
The missions are the typical, follow your comrades to the objectives and shoot the never ending number of enemies, format. But there are some minor differences in these, at least. Because your player wears an Exo-Suit, you can move around in some cool ways and find new to flank your enemies. Sandwiched between the normal missions are ones where you get to use new weapons like sniper drones and other forms of new technology including tanks and hover bikes. These new types of technology break up the mundane follow and shoot combination that has plagued all shooters in the past.
These new forms of technology also follow you as you enter the multiplayer part of the game, which, since Modern Warfare, has become the most popular game mode in all video games. The modes in this year’s edition are the same, except for one or two, but that is not bad at all. Sledgehammer sticks to what COD fans know and love while adding a game mode like Uplink which is a hybrid of capture the flag and basketball into the mix.
The modes being the same as before is truly the only similarity between the old COD multiplayer and this one. This entry is fast. And I mean Oregon Ducks no huddle fast. People fly around the maps using double jumps and boosts that can propel your player in any direction. This is the fastest COD or shooter I have ever played and it is fantastic.
While your teammates and enemies are flying around, you’ll need a good gun and good reflexes to stay ahead of the curve and this year’s COD has a very good assortment of guns. The regular classes are there but the attachments, in my opinion, are better. My favorite attachment is the Auto-Zoom sight which is a red dot sight that automatically zooms in if you are looking DTS (dow the scope) and you stop moving. I find this so much better and easier than using a hybrid sight and has made sniping with an AR so much easier.
While talking about attachments, it’s important to discuss the infinite ways you can customize EVERYTHING in this game. From your character, to the guns, to your emblem, everything can be customized. Like in Ghosts, you can customize your “operator” to make him/her look however you want.
Another cool addition to the game is the supply drops. These are randomly timed equipment packages delivered to your player which unlock different articles of clothing to new variants of the guns you own. Yeah, that’s right. Sledgehammer added different variants of the normal guns that have entirely different stats. My favorite so far is a variant of the AK which slows down the fire rate, but ups the damage. This is a cool way for the developers to add a new fold into the game and keep players playing.
The third mode of the game, so far, is called EXO survival which is essentially the same thing as the survival mode in Modern Warfare 3. You face hordes of enemies with friends, and as you level up, more unlocks and weapons become available. This is a fun mode but nothing close to the Zombies mode of Black Ops or World at War. A cool thing Sledgehammer is doing, though, is adding a zombie mode through a DLC that is set to come out later. While, yeah, it sucks that it is coming out via DLC, it is still cool they are adding it at all.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a breath of fresh air into a series which had become very stale. The gameplay, both in single player and multiplayer, is faster than anything I have ever experienced before and the weapons’ balance is very good. While the multiplayer is the reason why this games ships millions of copies, this entry’s single player campaign is also something to take a look at if you get bored with the other modes.
Because it is a very well rounded game, I’m giving this COD entry a very good score because Sledgehammer tried something different and pulled it off very well. Hopefully next year’s entry can say the same.
Final Verdict: 8/10