Set around 40 years from now, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare attempts to show us a world that's more reliant on technology than ever. It's a fictional period that has its roots in reality, and it's a premise that's relatively believable. While armies and private military corporations with access to walking tanks and hulking mech suits isn't a shocking departure from the franchise's norm, there's a definite sense that developer Sledgehammer Games is trying to shake things up a little. The question is: does the studio succeed?
As is customary by this point, Call of Duty is usually analysed over two separate components: the single player campaign, and the multiplayer. That said, there's still a glut of players who don't so much as touch the solo offering, although this time around, it's safe to say that they'd be missing out.
You play as Mitchell, a soldier who's somehow stolen Troy Baker's face and voice. He's a bit gruff, and a bit generic, but he's a decent protagonist as the rest of the cast tend to bounce off his somewhat empty personality quite well. And, while the other characters aren't going to win any awards for originality, there are a couple of standout personalities who inject some life into the plot, namely the rough, ready, and reckless Gideon, and Kevin Spacey's Jonathan Irons, who proves to be a charismatic and endearing antagonist.
Meanwhile, the story itself, rather unsurprisingly, sees you jet off all around the world, tackling missions of all shapes and sizes. There are a wealth of locations to run and gun around, and a decent amount of variety. Along with your typical 'shoot your way from point A to point B' objectives, there are a couple of stealth sections and vehicular based tasks involved as well, and, although some players will no doubt get annoyed when they're forced out of the action to do some sneaking, the campaign remains well paced throughout, and features several memorable, thoroughly enjoyable scenarios.
As far as Call of Duty campaigns go, it's arguably the best that the series has seen in years. Sitting at around six hours, the single player offering isn't quite enough to warrant a purchase alone, but it does throw in a few incentives to tempt you into playing it more than once. Along with difficulty options, there are challenges to complete that track your headshots, kills, grenade kills, and how many enemy intelligence consoles you've found. Each time that you reach a certain threshold in these categories, you acquire upgrade points, which can then be used to power up your exo suit, improving things like damage resistance, recoil control, and the amount of grenades that you can hold. While the skill trees aren't very big, or even that interesting, they do add a little more flesh to the campaign, although having said that, it's a shame that your loadout and exo type are fixed for each mission – some options here could have really added a thoughtful layer of customisation to proceedings.
Speaking of exos, these mechanical contraptions are at the core of what Sledgehammer Games is attempting to achieve with Advanced Warfare. Depending on your equipped type, your exo can allow you to boost jump, bring up a riot shield, or let off a deafening sonic pulse, among many other abilities. As you can imagine, additions like the boost jump give the release a slightly different feel, allowing you to leap across large distances and get to higher ground in a flash. Ultimately, exos end up being just enough to make the title seem fresh, if still familiar, and in that sense, the developer has succeeded in adding to the traditional formula without compromising the gameplay that fans have come to adore.
Outside of exos, grenades have seen a rather large overhaul. Split into two categories – combat and tactical – you're able to carry four of each, and you can switch their effect before throwing. For example, holding L1 pulls out a tactical grenade, and then tapping square cycles through different effects, such as unleashing an EMP blast perfect for taking out robotic drones, or highlighting enemies through walls upon detonation. The system can take some getting used to at first – especially when you're too busy cycling through options to realise that the grenade is about to go off in your hand – but it provides a wealth of enjoyable options that can help you to control the battlefield.
These new additions to combat bleed into the multiplayer as well, where exo abilities add a dynamic new layer to encounters. The franchise has always been about fast, intense, and deadly exchanges in relatively close-quarters maps, and even though that formula hasn't been directly tampered with, you're forced to think a little more tactically as you sprint around the map looking for your next opponent, as you're never quite sure what sort of equipment they'll be packing.
Perhaps as you'd expect, boost jumps appear to be a favourite in these early days of competitive play. Many of the game's arenas allow for some verticality, and after a few matches, it's surprisingly easy to get into the new flow of sprinting, jumping through a building's window, dashing out of the front door, and doing it all again. Call of Duty's multiplayer built its name on being fast paced, but this is faster still, with the addition of exos giving players a lot more mobility to play around with.
And that's a good thing, since it promotes thinking on your feet. Where players would learn distinct patterns of sprinting around the map in the same way in almost every single match, more mobility means that there are a lot more options to consider, not to mention that it feels fantastic to boost up to an open window and shotgun an enemy in the face just as they're about to dive out into the fray.
This new agility is perhaps most noticeable in Uplink, a new mode that sees teams battling over a data-filled sphere. It sounds like a strange inclusion, but it's a brilliant new addition to the series' already impressively robust roster of multiplayer game modes. Here, once you've nabbed the sphere, you'll need to take it to the goal, and either toss it or dunk it inside. Essentially, it's an incredibly twisted version of basketball, and it's just the sort of fun, creative, and accessible new mode that the game needs.
Elsewhere, things aren't quite as imaginative, but there's still more than enough content to sink your teeth into when you're up for some player versus player action. Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Capture the Flag, Free-for-All, and others all line up for duty, and, in truth, it's very difficult to get bored when there's so much to try your hand at. Sure, there's not that much variety in gunning people down, but when coupled with a massive amount of upgrades, weapons, and unlocks to explore, as well as some great character customisation, Advanced Warfare provides what is easily the most fleshed out and complete multiplayer suite that the franchise has seen in a long time.
To top it all off is the addictive co-op mode, Exo Survival. As its name suggests, you're tasked with holding off waves of foes with up to three other players. It's definitely a shame that the character and loadout customisation found in multiplayer doesn't show up here, but the co-op offering is all about upgrading your gear on the go. Between rounds, you'll need to run to an upgrade station and power up your equipment. Again, it's all very fast paced, and there's plenty of fun to be had with a good group of friends, but it's a component that really would have shined had it featured the same depth as what's on show elsewhere. As such, it's unlikely to hold your attention as long as the equally addictive but much more robust competitive multiplayer.
Of course, we can't possibly review a PlayStation 4 game without mentioning the graphics, and, thankfully, Advanced Warfare looks great a lot of the time. Character models are consistently detailed, and facial animations look impressively lifelike, especially during cutscenes, which, while not rendered in-game, look stunning, and really help to push the high quality of the campaign. However, disappointment sets in when you notice that many of the environments throughout the release look decidedly last-gen, with some blurry textures and jagged models combining to create some jarringly poor visuals. Fortunately, the game maintains a solid 60 frames-per-second, and, despite reports that Sony's console is the cause of some slight dips, we'd be surprised if most players even notice them – especially since they only seem to occur when the title's busy autosaving and loading a new area at the same time.
Punchy, futuristic weapons, even faster gameplay, and additional agility make Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare a joy to play, both offline and online. With a campaign that features several spectacular scenarios and a brilliantly robust and incredibly moreish multiplayer offering, Sledgehammer Games has succeeded in crafting a title that feels fresh but familiar, and does just enough to put the franchise back on track after the disappointing Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Must admit I'm actually enjoying it a lot more than I thought. Single player was all poppycock but enjoyable (a Jason Statham version of warfare, as always), multiplayer is balanced enough to not have your ass handed to you within seconds and survival is like a great mixture of the MW3's mode and an old Sega arcade-type game. It's the first COD since MW3 I've thought is better than dire. And no Zombies mode! Woohoo.
Still debating if I want to grab this next week as part of target's buy 2 get 1 free deal. The thought of all that extra DLC though is putting me off, do you guys think there's plenty of content on-disc?
@irken004 There's enough to keep you playing, for sure. Still, I'd look into what DLC is available and have a good think about whether or not you really need it.
I am thoroughly enjoying this. I almost didn't purchase it because I was not a fan of Ghosts, but I am very glad I did. Prior to Advanced Warfare, Black Ops II was my favorite Call of Duty (and I have played them all with the exception of MW3) and this is like Black Ops II on steroids! I have played a little of the Campaign and I was impressed with the graphics, but I absolutely love the multiplayer. They have made some awesome tweaks to the load out and how you level your weapons/camos. This will definitely keep me occupied until GTAV on the 18th.
Personally I preferred Ghosts multiplayer despite every other person alive hating it apparently, the campaign is the same old stuff. I'll have to go back to destiny as I've been completely underwhelmed with this game. With all destiny's faults the multiplayer is still a lot of fun, I guess I'll be dusting it off soon.
@irken004 Me too, I plan on picking up Sunset Overdrive, AC Unity, and either this, or Bayonetta 2. Too bad, the deal wasn't on the week of the 18th, would have gotten GTA V, or Dragon Age.
I have to highly recommend Bayonetta 2. I actually just finished Bayonetta and am digging into the 2nd now, and it truly is the best game I've played all year. I don't think you'll regret it.
Also, Sunset Overdrive is every bit as good as people say it is. And ya I'm excited for Dragon Age as well, most definitely...
@hadlee73 Had to happen eventually!
@Shellybird27 I was thinking this, AC Unity and either Shadow of Mordor or something else. Maybe freedom wars if my target has it
I actually enjoyed this game a lot more than I expected I would. Bought it mainly because it's been a while since I played Call of Duty and have some friends who were also picking it up, but I had a blast playing through the campaign, thought it had a chance to be decent but it was better than that. I'll probably replay it a couple times.
@rastamadeus "And no Zombies mode! Woohoo."
yes there is lol, there's a teaser for it in-game and the full mode via dlc.
Not too bothered about Cod games they just boring really. I've been waiting patiently waiting to play Star wars Battlefront , when that comes out there will be some big hype over that game.
@Reverandjames I don't see much difference between any of them at all really 'ooooh an exo suit' so what. I've played MW BO Ghosts and now this, there really isn't anything great about this game whatsoever. I'll plough through it and trade it in myself. With Mordor and dragon age I have plenty but I'll probably now end up picking up GTA with this being so dull.
Well after indifference initially,i've found it quite entertaining..Hardly innovative,but i think simplicity is its greatest draw..its relaxing in a strange kind of way..Maybe i'm just sick of Bf4,That "fall" patch is abysmal imo.Destiny Schemestiny.Bungie > boring.Aw is an arcadey game,won't be playing it 24/7 like Bf4 - which is a good thing.Theres many other games in my backlog/forthcoming that i want play as well now.
@TOMBOY25 No, there's zombies in one wave and some coming in DLC, but no God awful Treyach-like Zombie Mode. Most boring thing I've ever played in my life. Rather by Bubsy the Bobcat.
@Bad-MuthaAdebis I thought Ghost was one of the better CoDs in recent years. The multiplayer a touch more balanced than the usual, one gun beats all, punishing for not doninating.
If its only 6 hours then Ill get this preowned in a sale. As the multiplayer is likely to be just shinier trash than normal.
Bought this and thoroughly enjoyed it. My PSN is JTPrime93 if you guys wanna play together.
Good Game, very nice long night:) http://www.Playstationapp.com
Shocking, right? Play
@Reverandjames Well, it doesnt surprise me that Activision do that. I never buy them new, and generally get them from a mate to play campaign.
I havent been genuinely impressed since MW. And that wasnt exactly innovative, Id already experienced the 'modern' combat in Battlefield 2.
Call of Duty 2 is the best in series ever!
@Shellybird27 Really enjoyed Advanced Warfare but has to be Bayonetta 2 if you're choosing one or the other. Or B2 and any game. Just ridiculously good fun and the clear standout game of the year.
@Reverandjames Can complete Infamous: Second Son's story in well under ten hours. Gonna burn down Sony's offices for that? I completed Luigi's Mansion (one of my favourite ever games) in four hours on my first play but no point did I have a hissy fit. In what world did you expect a COD game to last hours and hours? In and out, like all war FPS games.
@rastamadeus I think the frustration, at least for me, comes from the fact it used to have a decent length singleplayer that has gotten shorter and in some cases almost totally overlooked.
Ill be honest and say they could easily extend the campaign on CoD to around 8-10 hours but thats not the draw anymore.
So they almost just rehash the old stuff verbatim.
Really enjoying the campaign, very fun and onlines great only weak link is the exo mode,
I'm so glad they cut down on the singleplayer to save space on the disc for multiplayer goodness!
Really, why bother with campaign mode in a CoD game? CoD is about shotgunning your friends in Nuketown. CoD is about throwing axes at French guys who are always screaming "pootan!" into their mics. CoD is, and always has been, the social network of FPS's.
just got it today cant wait to play later tonight! pretty certain i'll like it.
I don't know, I thought the campaign was good actually and I appreciate that Activision keeps putting them in the Call of Duty games eventhough it's obvious most people don't bother.
I do find the complaining about the length of it to be hilarious. Heavenly Sword is a five-hour singleplayer only game, but it was still one of the PS3's best, this game's campaign is actually longer and it has a robust multiplayer.
@SuperCat That is actually a better idea.
Im not a fan of the MP but Id bet money if it was MP only more people would buy into it.
@Gamer83 Ill buy it when it goes down in price probably preowned.
I dont play the multiplayer so a 6 hour campaign for 55 quid is a bit pricey for me.
Thats just me though, I like a longer singleplayer.
That's cool. I actually used to let the length of games bother me too but I started changing my mindset around 2007 when Heavenly Sword came out. I had the game pre-ordered then saw reviews saying it was only like 5 or 6 hours (I think it actually took me around 7-8 hours because with every game I screw around looking for collectibles or just taking in the graphics within certain environments if it's a particularly beautiful game) and almost decided not to buy the game, but I did anyway and it still stands as one of my top 10, maybe top 5 favorite PS3 games eventhough it could've been beaten in one sitting if I had wanted to do that.
But hey, you have to do what you think is right, if you don't want to spend $60 for a game that is very short, that's totally understandable.
@Gamer83 If I was into the multiplayer side Id be happy to pony up and buy to be honest.
Ive played a few games that are 5/6 hours long and enjoyed them but most of which I have played the multiplayer side too, an example would be the last of us.
As a story driven game fan I tend to favour the longer titles.
But thats me, I cant speak for anyone else.
does riley make an appearance ?
I knew when I first saw the trailer that this would be the first COD I would pre-order proudly and be glad to brag about! Im even snagging for 2 machines never done that with a game B4 !!!! But I love future tech stuff and this cod has that so I automatically knew I'd be good in it and I am...my KD has maid a 180 turn since I've been playing this!!! Pretty funny how I play way beeter on PS4 then I do the X1!!!! XD But seriously best cod ever..never getting rid of it!
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