Call of Duty fans have been taken on a wild ride through different game developers visions of warfare. The popular first-person shooter series hit a serious plateau during its Modern Warfare phase, which was followed by a dose of WWII scenarios and Black Ops campaigns. With the 2014 iteration of this annual shooter comes a welcome deviation from the well-worn formula. Sledgehammer Games has managed to throw on a fresh coat of paint and a whole bunch of Exoskeleton suits into the newest COD: Advanced Warfare.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare takes games onto one of the best single-player campaign rides ever produced. As a member of the Marines, you and your closest friend embark upon a routine mission. However, your loyal ally loses his life in an explosive manner that’s shocking to witness. After grieving over a fellow fallen soldier, the father of your now deceased friend welcomes you to this all-too powerful Private Military Company – Atlas. The bossman at the middle of it all (which is performed by the always awesome Kevin Spacey) gives you access to futuristic gear and powerful allies as you’re sent to take down terrorist threats and protect the freedom of the U.S.
The character interactions within the single-player campaign are decent enough, but you won’t find yourself getting emotionally invested in anyone. The acting here is on par with that of your typical military thriller film, which means you’ll hear all manners of passionate screaming and patriotic speeches. Thankfully, the amazing visuals make your jump boosting allies and charismatic boss look…well, amazing. You’ll be in awe during each level due to the insane set piece moments (the explosion of a power plant is visually mind-blowing) and applaud the impressive audio throughout. The current-gen version of this COD sports the visuals needed to back such a multi-billion dollar series.
Advanced Warfare’s single-player campaign ranks among the best in the entire series. The presence of Exoskeleton suits and its accompanying abilities given to you during each mission keeps things fresh. Boosting over obstacles, slowing down time to line up shots and even climbing up the sides of walls are just a few of the cool new action you can perform. One minute you’ll be riding on hover bikes while being chased by a helicopter and the next minute you’ll be stealthily picking off terrorists. Getting the chance to use your upgrade points to make your Exo suit and abilities even stronger is welcome. While the story itself is somewhat predictable and unmemorable, the missions themselves are all fun in their own way.
Once you’ve gotten through the amazing single-player campaign, you’ll most certainly make your way to Call of Duty’s tried and true multiplayer modes. The familiar modes are still present. The new “Pick 13” system (a slight change up from Black Ops 2’s “Pick 10” system) gives you the option to choose from a huge variety of customization options. It’s nice to see the game give not-so-great players the chance to be on equal footing with veteran players with this system. New players who aren’t capable of nabbing those scorestreaks can opt to attach more weapon customizations of exo suit abilities instead. The “Pick 13” system makes character customization more of a joy this time around.
The multiplayer modes still offer players a fast and fluid set of games fans have enjoyed for years. The addition of exoskeleton suits, smart grenades and other types of futuristic gear makes everything feel just a little differently. Matches now seem to fall into soldiers jumping all over the place and staying mobile to stay ahead of the other soldiers. The co-op survival mode is just as fun, thanks to its unpredictable enemy setups and all-around addictive team play. That being said, this is still a Call of Duty game so you’ll know what to expect here. The feel of the game isn’t dramatically different from its predecessors, so fans looking to come back to the series might not get too attached once again.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is an excellent addition to a well-worn series. The incredible single player campaign, Exoskeleton abilities and always solid gunplay are all here. The plot itself is your typical Hollywood warfare material and the game itself still hangs onto a formula that’s hitting a state of staleness. All in all though, Advanced Warfare still does enough to change up the formula and give longtime fans a new take on war.
Images: Activision, Sledgehammer Games