It’s that time of year again where the Call of Duty hype is live, running at a beautiful 60FPS, 1080p and receiving sponsors from Doritos and Mountain Dew, fans all over the world are participating in an extremely unhealthy #TheRace to reach max level in the awaited Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare has surprised the majority of their fans, following up from the release of Call of Duty Ghosts being the least sold episode within the franchise. At first glance I wasn’t very interested in AW, as it seemed very gimmicky mix of Crysis/Unreal Tournament with influence of Titanfall (recently developed by ex team members of the CoD franchise). However as always, the “hype” reveals and I want to jump in on the action, picking up ‘Day Zero’ edition on the 3rd November, receiving a golden camo for my gun, a golden exo suite and double exp for the day.
The Call of Duty campaign never really got me hooked so I decided to jump straight into the multiplayer half of the game, being intrigued by ‘The Combat Ready’ system, I attempted and failed to connect 3 times, so threw myself into the deep end of a Team Deathmatch. After 30 seconds of watching players boost around with jetpacks and not really having any idea what was going on, I disconnected from the host and got kicked out. Great to see Call of Duty’s peer-to-peer connection system still works like a dream!
After jumping into a different lobby and playing a few matches, I can honestly say it was the most fun I have had in a Call of Duty multiplayer since Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Sledgehammer Games have taken a huge risk by adding in the ability of ‘Exo’ suites, being set in 2055, an extension of the human body has been developed allowing players the ability to double jump and boost/dodge in directions, which are possible mid-air to get the upper hand on their opponents. This vastly adapts the gameplay of any CoD game seen before, adding depth and momentum to the maps created, which clearly shows have been designed with these features in mind.
The gun play still stays strong to its roots, still being unable to suppress your enemies, the shooter still operates on an extremely fast paced run and gun basis.
Customization throughout Advanced Warfare is something else that has been greatly developed upon in comparison to other Call of Duty games. Having a fully customizable character, being based off presets of campaign characters, the player can now choose male/female, and unlock specific items of clothing labeling:- Eyewear, Helmets, Tops, Loadouts, Gloves, Pants, Knee Guards, Boots and Exo, allowing them to save up to 4 different custom outfits and switch rather easily. Each different type of item can be discovered through campaign progression, or the new feature of Supply Drops. Supply drops are randomly gifted to the player, I’m currently level 39 and have received 7-8 drops myself. After a rather fancy opening animation, players will receive 3 items of different rarities taking a similar system to RPG games. White being common, Enlisted (Green) being uncommon, Professional (Blue) being rare and Elite (Gold) being the highest rarity. Each gun comes with pre sets that increase or decrease certain stats on the gun. It seems the higher the rarity, the better stats the gun has.
Custom class system feeds from a mix of past call of duty games in the franchise, using a 13 point load-out system from Black Ops, with attachment unlocks from Modern Warfare. The system works extremely well allowing the player to have a mix of any setup they like, bringing back the ‘wildcard’ feature. New to the loadouts are Exo Abilities, replacing your left bumper from your tactical grenade. The player has a range of abilities from Shield, Over-clock, Mute Device, Stim, Cloak, Hover, Ping and Trophy System which allows the players to adapt their loadout and abilities to their preferred play-style. The Exo launcher is also a new feature that allows players to shoot grenades out of a small cannon from the exo, because the human race are way too lazy to throw grenades in 2055.
The campaign of Advanced Warfare was the biggest eye opener for me, where Sledgehammer are definitely proving that they can turn the Call of Duty franchise around. The cutscenes throughout are beautiful, fully captured through motion-capture that enables the cut scenes to blend extremely well with cinematic and gameplay. The first story mission draws you in with a dramatic opening, following a squad between the main character Jack Mitchell and his best friend Will Irons. The prologue mission plays out with characters questioning Will why he chose to work for the government instead of his dad, running a company head of technology and warfare called ATLAS. It ends with Will attempting to defuse a bomb and dying with the explosion, and Mitchell losing his arm. The next mission begins at Wills funeral…
Having spent 7 hours and 30 minutes on the multiplayer, and completing 4/14 missions in the campaign, I have to say that this is the most impressive Call of Duty game since my favorite shooter of all time – Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. AW injects a much-needed breath of life into the Call of Duty franchise, which will peak the interest of new and old fans alike. I think Sledgehammer games have started the ball rolling towards turning the franchise around, although I hope Treyarch can maintain the quality that AW has shown us is possible from the inescapable black hole that is modern military shooters.
Platform reviewed: PS4
Hours played: 10-11
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Release Date: 3/11/2014
Platforms available: PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360