|Genre||Publisher||Release date||Release O.S||Available on|
|First Person Shooter||Activision||03/11/2014||Xbox One, PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC||Official Store|
When first person shooters had completely exhausted the World War II scene, Activision took it upon themselves to move things forward – present day to be exact. Modern Warfare truly revolutionised the genre with this change, and much was the case with the World War II era, over time we found ourselves fatigued once more with the guns of today that we craved something new. And that brings us on to the time of the near-ish future. While we’ve seen past entries (Black Ops II and Ghosts) have a crack at this newer setting, it’s only with Advanced Warfare where I’ve found the shift truly worthwhile.
While my history with the Call of Duty series has seen its share of ups and downs (enjoying some, disliking others and skipping more than a few entirely) Advanced Warfare managed to reel me in from the early goings and that’s down to its new ideas. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the series tackle a futuristic environment, it is the first to actually use it well. Weapons are far more advanced to what we might see today yet still grounded enough to be believed, gadgets often impressive and environments a decent mix of futuristic and dilapidated. Best of all though is the improved movement over your solider thanks to the game’s exo-suit.
Wearing the exo-suit not only allows you to perform superhuman abilities in the game’s campaign such as climbing walls Spiderman-style with magnetic gloves and disappear using a invisibility cloak but more importantly improve your soldier’s movement all-around. No longer are your efforts restricted to running and crawling. Now you can leap great heights and air-dodge as you please making traversal of your environments a breeze.
As has been the case with previous Call of Dutys, Advanced Warfare is split into three distinct modes. The campaign is another six hour romp through a series of linear chapters complete with plenty of gunplay, set pieces and explosions. Sadly Black Ops II’s branching story doesn’t make a return here which is a shame since things can often feel far too straightforward. The story itself is a huge improvement over previous iterations and although it features the tried and tested “Private Military Companies gone evil” idea we’ve seen from all forms of media set in the near-ish future, its solid performances from the likes of Troy Baker and of course Kevin Spacey help carry it. It’s rare to see a movie/television actor performing so strongly in a video game (case in point Peter Dinklage in Destiny).
A new upgrade system is also introduced into the campaign allowing you to improve certain aspects of your soldier like reload speed and stamina by fulfilling certain milestones. These are ranked in four areas; grenade kills, your regular vanilla kills, headshots and intel collected. It’s an interesting way of implementing such a system that had me feeling motivated to use my grenades, aim more precisely and search for hidden intel. It’s also worth mentioning that the trophies/achievements linked to the campaign task you with some rather interesting challenges that will have you replaying past chapters in order to topple.
Of course as is the case in any Call of Duty title, multiplayer is where you’ll want to spend most of your time. The same ever so addictive fast paced run and gun action we’ve come to expect from the series is very much intact here and with the game’s newly introduced exo-suit abilities also being used matches feel far more fluid and fresh than before.
An improved “Create A Class” system also helps in giving the player even more customisation over their soldier. Have no use for killstreaks? Then opt for extra attachments for your weapons. Have no need for a secondary handgun? Then add more grenades to your arsenal. With every weapon, attachment, perk and killstreak taking just one of your thirteen slots available to you you’ll find yourself getting lost in simply experimenting with the various combos on offer.
You’ll find all the bread and butter match types in here from team deathmatch to capture the flag accompanied by a few newer ones including Momentum and Uplink. The latter feels very similar to Halo’s Grifball match type in that it sees two teams competing to carry/throw a satellite (or futuristic looking ball if you prefer) into the enemies scoring zone. It’s super dumb but surprisingly fun. The former meanwhile pits both teams against each other in an almost tug-of-war situation where the aim is to capture one area after another until you reach your enemies base. Kills result in quicker capturing of sections so as you can imagine things can get very chaotic.
Fans of the party style modes such as Gun Games or One in the Chamber seen in past games will be disappointed to hear that none make an appearance in Advanced Warfare. It’s a real shame as these offered hours of fun stepping back from the usual tactical mode types and instead opting for something a little more unusual. While the options available are decent enough, would it have hurt to throw these fan favourites in too?
Exo Survival is the third main attraction in the game, taking on the form of a wave based survival mode. I’ve never personally been a fan of the zombie options found in the Black Ops games so seeing something completely different was certainly an added bonus. Even more surprising was just how much fun this co-op focused extra was. Forming a team of up to four players you’ll tackle wave after wave of increasingly tougher enemies, upgrade points awarded between rounds. How you use these are entirely up to you with new guns, improved armour, killstreak awards and extra exo ability slots just a few of the prizes on offer. Along the way you’ll also face challenges that might see you defusing three randomly placed bombs or killing a number of enemies whilst holding a particular point on the map. They add a nice amount of variety and reward those brave enough to take on the extra task.
While Ghosts last year delivered underwhelming, murky visuals that didn’t really set the series’ debut on next generation systems off to a good start, Advanced Warfare feels like a step in the right direction. Environments are detailed with plenty going on in the fore and background while character models are much improved with some great facial animation that bring conversations to life both in and out of the action. Sure you can still see the odd rough texture here and there and some characters still move around like a robot on a set path, but overall it’s a vast improvement for the series. The soundtrack too is a decent attempt with plenty of explosions and gunshots that would give even Michael Bay a run for his money.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare may not reinvent the genre but an improved campaign and better implementation of its futuristic elements help the game rise above its predecessors by delivering what feels like the freshest we’ve seen the series in a long time.
- Exo-suit breathes new life into the series
- Campaign is dumb but hugely entertaining
- Exo Survival is surprisingly good fun
- Vastly improved visuals
- Could argue it’s just more Call of Duty
- Missing the party modes from past games
- The odd visual blemish here and there