“Advanced Warfare” a fresh breath of air for “Call of Duty”
First Posted: 12/2/2014
“Another year, another ‘Call of Duty’.”
That’s probably what a lot of gamers are saying as crowds of gamers flock to “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.” I would have been a part of that prior to this year. The series had gotten noticeably stale, and needed a breath of fresh air to get itself back on track.
This is anything but “just another year” for the series. “Advanced Warfare” mixes things up for the series, and provides one of the best games I have played in the series.
The player takes the role of Jack Mitchell in the year 2054. Initially a private in the United States Marine Corps, he is soon discharged after an injury takes his left arm. He is approached by Jonathan Irons (portrayed by Kevin Spacey), whose son was best friends with Mitchell and died in action. Irons offers Mitchell to join Atlas Corporation, the world’s largest private military contractor, where he is given a highly-advanced prosthetic arm.
Soldiers in Atlas are also outfitted with Exo, which enable them to jump, dash and fight with superhuman strength.
“Advanced Warfare” tells a similar story that other “Call of Duty” games have told. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the game definitely played it safe with its story. The game’s ending, which is abrupt, also isn’t very satisfying.
Spacey shines in his role as Irons. His colorful banter and facial expression bring his character to life in the game, and proves you don’t need a gun, sword or a tank to be a bad guy — you just have to have power and a silver tongue.
Gameplay and graphics
Graphics have always looked good in the series, but the three-year development time for “Advanced Warfare” created something really special. Facial expression are more life-like than ever. The sounds of explosions, gunfire, high-tech equipment and drones are top-notch.
The Exo Suit takes center stage, with handy abilities such as wall-climbing, jumping extraordinarily high or manhandling enemies. Also new this year is a grenade that serves as a flashbang, mini-EMP, a threat-sensor or more lethal grenades such as semtex or the frag grenade. A single button push changes what the grenade is, and each type has its own use.
This is “Call of Duty”, but, I would say that “Advanced Warfare” is “Call of Duty” with a shot of adrenaline — once the action starts in “Advanced Warfare”, it doesn’t stop.
The action that “Advance Warfare” captures in its campaign mode carries over to its multiplayer experience.
The games uses a “Pick 13” system for create-a-class, which enables a lot of customization. The system has forced me to put real thought into my classes, and different classes are almost a must for some of the maps.
That sense of discovery, and the need to test loadouts, is one of the things I love.
Soldiers can also be fully customized this year, ranging from sunglasses, boots to the Exo suit. Supply drops and rewards give plenty of variety — those drops also give some enhanced weapons.
The Exo suits are featured, along with various abilities that can be assigned to them. Battery life dictates how often they can be used. Being able to jump around the map is awesome and shooting enemies out of the sky never gets old.
The maps are huge, but have areas where gunfights are more prone to avoid seeming like cluttered messes. Some are also interactive, like one where a tsunami comes in and can potentially wipe out an entire team.
Does this mean that multiplayer is perfect this year? Not quite.
Thr intensity the game captures is both a blessing and a curse. Any time I’ve played online, it seems to be a kill-for-kill match — I kill an enemy, and somehow, one of his nearby buddies picks me off. The spawn systems are also problematic in some spots — one instance, I died and no more than 2-3 seconds after spawning, I was already getting shot again.
I have to say that camping (sitting in one spot) can be maddeningly annoying in the game. There are a lot of spots for people to sit and hide.
Is it game-breaking? Not quite. Is it relevant enough to be annoying? Absolutely.
A personal asterisk I put with my gripes is that I, like many others, are getting adjusted to the game. The same sort of transition happened with “Ghosts.”
There’s also a co-op mode this year called Exo Survival, which is reminiscent of the survival mode in “Modern Warfare 3.” It seems like a good way to break up a lengthy multiplayer session, but otherwise, it’s nothing the series hasn’t seen before.
Hitting the mark
Many players have criticized “Call of Duty” for being a series that has been the same, cookie-cutter game for a number of years now. Despite my own love of the series, I too found myself wanting something different after “Ghosts.”
“Advanced Warfare” is the answer to all the critics.
There’s enough in this year’s game to make an iconic series feel new and exciting again. Spacey’s involvement in the game makes campaign mode worth at least one playthrough, even if the story’s payoff isn’t what it could have been. There’s enough high-tech gadgets and super-human abilities to give the game new layers without robbing it of its core.
Multiplayer is frantic fun as usual, but with new depth and an energy that gives the experience more substance than ever before. The game plays it safe with Exo Survival, but that’s easy to overlook.
Simply put, “Advanced Warfare” is the breath of fresh air that the “Call of Duty” series has desperately needed.