CoD - Advanced Warfare

[alert type=white ]Reviewed on PC[/alert]

With Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer Games improves everything the Call of Duty franchise is known for with some realistic futurism using the “Exo” suits your character gets to wear. These suits will allow you to explore and traverse environments in a fresh way while adding some unique strategies to enhance every single battle. And of course, Kevin Spacey is all over the place.

Call of Duty – Advanced Warfare

I have to admit I enjoyed the campaign so much I did it twice. It has a perfect balance between exposition, basic instruction and making sure you get to the action right away at the beginning. By the time I realized I was in a training simulation I was immediately hooked. Advanced Warfare  welcomes you with big-budget scenes and explosions, offers control tips on-screen but not intrusive and without excessive hand-holding, and establishes what waits ahead. The first two chapters says: “This is a proper entrance. This is how we define action. This is how a subwoofer is meant to be used. This is how slow-motion melodrama has to be done to be able to send you chill waves through your bones.” Bravo!.

If you have played or spoiled yourself a bit, you may know the story is somehow both predictable and shallow, but it is solidly put together, well-told and well-acted by both the animated characters and the voice actors behind them, which includes Kevin Spacey in a key role that is probably really best described as the lead, given we will see him all the time, Troy Baker as Jack Mitchell, and Gideon Emery as “Gideon”. Don’t be embarrassed, I also thought the only real life actor was Spacey. The campaign feels like a good big budget action movie, in that it’s a simple story, well-told, with a focus on action and special effects that makes up for the lack of a deep narrative. And as a personal opinion, it is the best campaign so far, even we are still missing Captain Price. I’m more than glad with the futuristic drones and technology instead of nuclear explosions and devastation many games are using.

On the gameplay side, Call Of Duty is everything a good and solid first-person shooter action game has to be. Each gun can be found throughout the game and all of them offer different sights and scopes. These will vary your experience and will make you track down your weapon of choice in every level. Will you hunt the bad boys with shotguns, lasers, or assault rifles with threat indicators?

If weapons are not enough to customize the experience, we also have the Exo suits. The exoskeleton augmentation suits offer fun and incredible gameplay tweaks. We have double jumps to cover great distances or place ourselves in strategic places, a hover break for steep descents in a good amount of vertical environments, grappling hooks for zipping around Spiderman-style and quietly taking down bad guys, a cloak to go stealth mode through the enemies and much more. The campaign will dress us for the occasion, limiting us the use of these sometimes overpowered abilities, but in multiplayer it is up to us to use and demonstrate how well trained we are now.

Multiplayer is fun as always but everything is improved and much appreciated. The Exo’s open up the game for the kind of fun that classic war can’t offer. Now we are able to enjoy vertical maps, lasers and top notch technology to immerse ourselves in futuristic battles. The Combat Readiness Program is designed for  new users to slowly immerse themselves in multiplayer, and show them mobility tricks to escape from dangerous scenarios. We all know how competitive CoD can be online, and it is important to train our new soldiers and avoid public embarrassment. And we also have the inclusion of co-op assault mode that makes for local cooperative multiplayer experiences for when we just can’t keep up with hardcore players, but keep in mind that the 13 local maps are not modified for the online experience.

The graphics and environments are breathtaking. Seoul, South Korea, is awash in ultra modernity. We will traverse jungles in stealth mode, snowy mountains, the always cool bridge war, devastated post-war cities in ultra modern bikes, and these are just a few examples of the many scenes we will enjoy in the 6 hours and 15 chapters campaign. Every single battle will feature a plethora of enemies, thermal grenades and cover spots. Every single map is larger to enjoy our Exo moves, we get to use a fair amount of vehicles and we are even invited to take a pause and connect with our feelings in some sad and lasting moments.

This abundance of content is also seen in the suite of multiplayer modes. Hardpoint, not seen since Call of Duty: Black Ops, makes a much welcome return since it serves as Advanced Warfare’s King of the Hill mode. Due to their fundamental similarities, Uplink could have easily replaced Capture the Flag as the only delivery-style match. Instead, both are offered, as if Sledgehammer is saying, “Let’s give the fans almost every mode imaginable and let them decide what will be the popular modes in six months’ time.” The finishing touch on this rich inventory of content is an acknowledgement to the Call of Duty purists: four classic modes (Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed, and Search and Destroy) that are played without exo movement. This works both as a throwback to familiar locomotion and as an experiment on how traditional matches would play out in maps larger than prior Call of Duty multiplayer maps. You won’t find anything as tiny as the ‘Hijacked’ yacht from Black Ops 2; some maps in Advanced Warfare can fit a boat three times that size.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is an amazing title able to do a hard job just right: leaves behind the sense of global and traditional conflict and makes a convincing foundation to futuristic combat that is worth exploring and expanding further. The huge change in player mobility is a nice treat, especially for Call of Duty veterans who have enjoyed the franchise for 11 years.

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