Even if you’re not a fan, most likely you’re aware of the Call of Duty franchise. It’s an annually released, first person military shooter. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is developed by Sledgehammer Games and it’s tasked with injecting some much-needed evolution into the tired series. It attempts to do this with the introduction of the exoskeleton, a robotic framework used to augment physical capabilities. Does it accomplish this? Is there enough innovation in Advanced Warfare to revitalize Call of Duty?
Advanced Warfare’s campaign begins in 2054. It focuses on Kevin Spacey’s character, Jonathan Irons and your character, Jack Mitchell (Troy Baker). Irons is the CEO of an internationally registered private military corporation. The story is written around him and the choices he makes. It is an interesting plot, but it’s bogged down by unrelatable and ultimately forgettable characters. However, when you take in the experience as a whole, the explosions and very cool sequences elevate the campaign to a much higher level. It’s an entertaining, albeit predictable story filled with explosions and visceral encounters. The game does a great job at making you feel so supremely bad ass that you forgive how utterly ludicrous some of the sequences are.
Also, the exoskeleton effectively changes traversal in both single player and multiplayer games. With it you’re able to boost jump and juke back and forth. It puts the pace of encounters into overdrive, especially in multiplayer. There are also several exo special abilities. They’ll allow you to cloak yourself, boost your health, and run faster. There are many more and each ability is temporary, only lasting a few a seconds. In campaign there will also be scripted sequences which will require you to use extra exo abilities to climb walls, use grappling hooks, and slow your descent after a long fall.
When it comes to multiplayer, Advanced Warfare takes a small step into innovation with the aforementioned exo, but the core feel and mechanics are still very much the same. The maps are all well designed and were done so with the exoskeleton in mind. Verticality has become a buzzword in multiplayer shooters and Sledgehammer has made sure to give that box a solid check. There are several levels of height in each map and though there are traditional stair cases boosting in and out of windows will be the better choice nine times out of ten. With the exo side boost you’ll be able to dart in and out of an enemy’s fire and line of sight at a moment’s notice. However, the maps are so compact you’ll likely be boosting into his buddy’s at the same time.
Loadouts are just as important in Advanced Warfare as they ever have been. There are a myriad of weapons to choose from. However, now there are multiple variants and degrees of rarity to each. There are your base weapons followed by enlisted, professional, and elite rarities. Some variants will simply alter stats while others will come preloaded with attachments that don’t count toward your Pick 13. That’s right, Pick 13 is the successor to the ever so popular pick 10. You’ll spend up to thirteen points on attachments, tactical gear, and scorestreaks. Also, scorestreaks are no longer tied directly to kills, but rather points which you gain through kills or objectives.
I do have a few complaints with the game. The first is simply how chaotic multiplayer is. In Call of Duty, it has always been a popular strategy to “run and gun,” but I feel like that’s the only choice in Advanced Warfare. It’s so hectic so often that sniping and more tactical strategies seem like an absurd notion. Also, spawn points are a problem. I commonly either spawn in the same room as enemies or have enemies spawn in the same room room as me. This is bound to happen eventually but it’s far too frequent. Voice communication is a problem too. It frequently either cuts in and out or doesn’t work at all. Lastly, I’d like to see a few more controller layouts. Where’s the bumper jumper option? Jumping is a huge part of doing well in multiplayer, yet you’ll have to take your thumb off the right joystick to move around effectively.
So, back to the question. Does Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare innovate enough to revitalize Call of Duty? Yes and no. The game looks fantastic and the motion capture work is done really well. It’s absolutely a solid Call of Duty game that alters the way you’ll traverse maps and gives you an extra ability without shaking up the core experience. The campaign has some great sequences and is filled to the brim with explosions, but the plot offers few experiences that feel fresh and will only require about seven hours to complete. So, if you’re looking for a good twitch shooter and you like the Call of Duty experience, then yes, you’ll more then likely enjoy it. However, if you’re utterly and completely “Call of Dutied” out, then it probably won’t be enough to get you excited for too long. The exoskeletons are cool and fun to use, but Advanced Warfare is still very much what one might expect from Call of Duty.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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