Published on November 20th, 2014 | by Cyrus Fayazi1
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Review
Summary: The newest in the Call of Duty line is a high quality effort that ensures that Ghost will be nothing but a bad memory
Armed and Ready
Whether or not we would like to admit it, Call of Duty has been a major staple in gaming for the past 10 years. While some of their games have been hit or miss, it’s always been my belief that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is the best in the series. With its revolutionary graphics, interesting set pieces and addictive multiplayer, it is the gold standard for not only Call of Duty but all modern First Person Shooters. In Sledgehammer Games’ first game as the lead developer, it tries to replicate the formula but falls just short in some aspects.
The game is set sometime in the distant future. You are a member of the US army by the name of Pvt. Jack Mitchell, who is the best friend of Will Irons, a fellow soldier. While in South Korea, the situation takes a wrong turn and Will is killed while you lose your arm in the process. While at Will’s funeral, you are offered a job by his father, Jonathan Irons (played brilliantly by Kevin Spacey) at Atlas, the world’s largest private military contractor.Much like past Call of Duty games, the game is a traditional first person shooter. Taking advantage of the fact that the game is set in the future, they substitute a normal HUD with holographic projections coming from the weapon itself. Sledgehammer does not stray too much from the CoD formula though and if you have played any other previous titles in the franchise, there should not be much of a learning curve here. The game features a double jump via jetpack (a Call of Duty first) which adds increasing mobility. Overall, the game is very fluid and easy to control.
The single player campaign is very engaging and for one of the first times in the franchise, it features characters with human elements attached to them. Kevin Spacey does a fantastic job of channeling his inner Francis Underwood and plays a fantastic villain bent on mending the world as he sees fit. The set pieces are as grand as ever and take you to from Nigeria to San Francisco even to Antarctica. The missions are paced nicely with none taking more than an hour to complete. Overall, the game’s campaign is around 8 hours long.
Of course, the meat of any Call of Duty game is the multiplayer and this year’s edition is the best in years. There are an incredible amount of different modes to choose from and depending on your mood and preferences; you can find one that suits your needs. While Advanced Warfare does not offer any new multiplayer modes that have not already been in a Call of Duty game, it does bring back classics such as Hardpoint and Capture the Flag that had been missing in the previous title, Call of Duty: Ghosts.
In addition to the game modes, there are also variations for several of them including a Hardcore mode, which limits your HUD and adds friendly fire. Another addition is Ranked Play, where the game puts you up against players that are similar in skill. You can progress up through the divisions until you are playing against the very best. Lastly, for the more traditional players that hate change, you can even play some of the modes without the exo suit in the Classic Playlists section.
If you have played Black Ops II, you may be familiar with the Pick 13 Create-A-Class system for the game’s character customization. Using a slot number system, you can customize how you would like to build your soldier in sync with your play style. For example, in lieu of supply drops, you can add a third attachment to your weapon. With 13 slots, there is a near-infinite number of ways to customize your character and finding what works best for you. The exo suit also plays a big part in the multiplayer and has abilities like cloaking, hovering and muting your footsteps. When used properly, these abilities can help give you an advantage against the enemy but be mindful of the long cool down between uses.
As far as the matchmaking goes, the game is pretty good at matching you with a player that is around your level, and you can find a game fairly quick. I did have issues with the game dropping me out of a party but that has been addressed and I haven’t had any problems as of recently.
In addition to the standard multiplayer is a co-op mode called Exo Survival which is a great addition. Much like Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer, this horde mode is split into rounds with every round having an objective which must be accomplished. If you do not finish all the objectives in the required time, you will be punished by something hindering you in the next round which really adds a nice sense of urgency. The AI is quite impressive as well as they are not only smart but aggressive and very powerful. Things can turn quite sour if you do not work as a team together.
With all the praise I have given the game, what I experienced wasn’t exactly total perfection. One of my biggest complaints is how your bionic arm is underutilized in the campaign. In some of the set pieces, your arm can rip open steel doors with ease but when you melee an enemy, there’s no power behind the punch and it looks like you are trying to swat at a fly. I wish the game had more of a melee element to it and I feel that it could have made the game that much more great. Another thing, which seems is like with every Call of Duty game, is the occasional frustration provided by the enemy in the campaign. There is nothing more annoying than getting shot at, finding cover to regenerate health, and still being shot at from an enemy conveniently placed right behind you. More than once I found myself wanting to throw my controller across the room because of this. One last thing: there is friendly fire on AI during the campaign, causing an instant mission loss. Not only do allies resemble the enemies at times, they can also be quite dumb, and several time a comrade walked right into my line of fire, forcing me to replay the whole mission.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a refreshing change of pace for a series that really needed it. Ghosts was a failure, but Sledgehammer looked at successful games of Call of Duty past and added new and improved elements. The campaign is solid and the multiplayer will make you want to come back to the game time and time again. While the three guarantees in life are still death, taxes and an annual Call of Duty game, at least Advanced Warfare does the franchise justice and is certainly a must-play this holiday season.