Published on November 20th, 2014 | by Don Parsons1
The New and Improved Call of Duty Multiplayer: Advanced Warfare Impressions
Like every year before it, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare changes things up to try to keep things fresh. You can’t just throw new maps on a disc and call it a new game, though I’m sure people that don’t play competitive online shooters might think that’s all they do. A few of the changes play hand-in-hand with one another, while another just sits there. And taunts me.
Yes, I am taunted, in this case by the game’s random loot aspect. At seemingly-random intervals when I died, a Supply Drop (think loot crate) notification would appear and be ready for me after the match was over. If that sounds familiar, it should. Battlefield 4 had the same feature. In fact, that was one of the things I absolutely loved about BF4, and am more than happy it has made it’s way to Call of Duty.
I am a very loot-driven person. Since my first tango with Diablo on PC and PSOne, and reinforced after playing Diablo 3, Borderlands, and even Destiny, I have a craving for unique items. Some of the random drops in Advanced Warfare are only double XP, a reinforcement in my next match, or customization items like pants and gloves. But the occasional jackpot, like getting an AK-12 with better handling (and reduced accuracy), gots me excited. Typically, the weapon drops had unique skins as well. I stumbled upon quite a few variants with my play time. I do wish there was a predictable means of knowing when these things dropped. On the plus side, I seemed to get one every hour or less of play time.
In the grand scheme of things, that is very superficial compared to the big change. Sledgehammer Games, the developer behind Advanced Warfare, thought to add an Exosuit to the player. This crafty item opens a plethora of changes to the game as a whole. Firstly, player movement is drastically different this year. The Exosuit allows the player to double jump, and more importantly, do an air dash. Roof tops, second floor windows, and even wide open spaces become more accessible and being able to maneuver around them deftly feels great as opposed to the usual, Call of Duty-waddle mode of movement.
Running down corridors and meeting an enemy gets infinitely more interesting. I found myself double-jumping and dashing to side more often than not. While it may or may not have made me the victor of the confrontation is moot. Even if I lost the firefight, the situation itself felt more unique. I can’t count how many times I ran down a hallway in a building and opened fire on a player rounding a corner in a past Call of Duty title. There may be different variables (loadouts, opponent skill, range, etc.) to the equation, but each encounter didn’t feel as individualistic as they do now.
A few new game modes join some personal favorites of mine this year. Kill Confirmed is my all-time favorite CoD game mode, but the new mode Uplink entertained me for quite some time, too. Uplink places a “ball” in a pre-determined spot on the map, with players rushing it. Once the “ball” is grabbed by a player, said-player can no longer use their weapons and they must make it to the opponents base and either shoot it into a sphere or jump through the sphere with the “ball”. The carrier shows up on the mini-map, so it’s a scary and tense ordeal to be the one trying to score the objective. Also, throwing the “ball” at the “goal” while under fire makes the process more stressful when you realize you missed and hear the rest of your team yelling at you. Either way, it was what I played when I needed a break from Kill Confirmed.
The other game mode, Momentum, never clicked with me. I played a few matches, and every time I started to figure it out, I was greeted with a curveball and just went back to playing the modes I enjoy. I shouldn’t have to spend half an hour being confused about how or why my team is winning or losing. At the end of the day, I’m sure it’s much simpler than I make it out to be, but Kill Confirmed, Uplink, and sometimes Hard Point were my primary modes of play.
The Exosuit was a drastic change, one which took a bit of time to adjust to. My first several hours playing multiplayer seemed harder than I ever recall, stunning as I am used to being able to step right into Call of Duty games and play. That was honestly a strong downside for me. Every year, learning the maps is usually the hardest part of getting my feet wet with a Call of Duty title. This year had a frustrating start, as I had to learn not only the maps, but also how to play. But once things finally clicked and I was back to my usual 1.0 k/d per game, I was really enjoying what Sledgehammer Games did. The loot specifically kept me playing for longer sessions than I intended each time I sat down. Moving around with the Exosuit made things a lot more interesting. And the usual grind to level up was there as well.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare did what every game in the series attempts to do, evolve. Instead of making the usual tweaks, Advanced Warfare took evolutionary steps which actually push the series’ multiplayer in a fresh, new direction.