Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – War Has Changed

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Written by Dustin Murphy

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Coverart

Pros:
-Multiplayer is filled with opportunities thanks to the new exo suit
-Unlockables in multiplayer via supply drops and challenges offers hundreds of hours of gameplay
-Futuristic gear changes the game in its entirety and makes it exceedingly fun
-The new Uplink mode will be the go to place for the competitive multiplayer

Cons:
-Campaign finds itself stuck with inconsistencies that can make anyone cringe
-The new Exo Survival mode’s difficulty quickly ramps up almost too quickly
-Minor sound bugs will send some gamers into a frenzy

/—Campaign—/

“So get your eye’s wide open as Kevin Spacey rips open the new face of war as the bad guy.”

Where do you go when a series that has become so profoundly stale and has almost no where to go when it comes to the war zones it has encountered? The not so far future. This is where Activision’s development teams Raven Software, Sledgehammer Games, and High Moon Studios took a note from past games to figure out what went wrong and where the series needed to go. So get your eyes wide open as Kevin Spacey rips open the new face of war as the bad guy.

The setting is in 2054, players will be suiting up as Troy Baker’s most recent voice acted character; Private Jack Mitchell. In the opening moments players get to see North Koreans invading Seoul. The fight isn’t anything we’ve not seen before, but this time around the technology has changed and the threat is more real than ever. Within the opening tad bit, we get to see our main protagonist get injured, lose his arm, and become discharged from the military. This is where our fun with Kevin Spacey and his character Jonathon Irons begins to take things for a spin by offering Mitchell a way back in with a fake arm, and ranks within the Atlas Corporation.

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In turn, a new threat has arisen after the North Koreans have been subdued, but all is not well when a mysterious enemy known as Hades takes light as his private “terrorist” group known as the KVA begin to appear out of the shadows. Unfortunately his ploy has worked, and the game will fast forward five years later where Mitchell, Ilona, and Gideon take limelight after a devastating event has occurred and Atlus is the new military power. This however is where our game begins to take story inconsistencies and makes us begin to cringe as the KVA are ominous and well quickly shut down as a force to be reckoned with. Luckily Activision makes up for this by letting us hike the globe from places such as Detroit, San Francisco, Antarctica, New Baghdad and more.

In his newest role as the villain, Kevin Spacey does everything right to make the games setting believable, and even delivers a perfect triple A performance that anyone would expect. Though a lot can also be said for voice actress Angela Gots and accompanying voice actors Troy Baker, Gideon Emery, and Russel Richardson. The most impressive thing to accompany their voice acting is the games character to actor likeness. With many of the characters representing their actors thanks to Activision’s new graphics engine, the game itself is delivered much like a truly well rounded military action flick. That is not to say that the game doesn’t suffer from stagnant stealth missions (remember Modern Warfare’s sneaking through the enemy lines mission?), unfortunately there’s more than one, and at times it won’t be awkward for players to feel suffocated by them.  Even with these heavily rounded stealth missions being much at the gamers core, players will get to find a bit of a faster thanks to using the games new Exo Suit system. This system allows for players to quickly boost through oncoming enemy fire and will require players to constantly use the grapple hook, double jump, stealth, shield, and even the capability to strafe out of the way in order to stay alive.

“The world ‘is running out of bad guys,’ stance is a bug since there is plenty of them.”

Luckily, even with the games difficulty on veteran seeming only slightly staggered, players will get to enjoy a bit of fun with vehicles this time around. Those vehicles include jets, boats, tanks, turrets, and even heavy exo suits. Even with these vehicles, players will find themselves suffering a bit of a beat down due to the games difficulty in damage passing onto both versions of the game. Something that has caused the world to become almost empty of bad guy threats thanks to the Atlus Corporation having developed and even evolved the technology further to become a greater good. The only problem? The world ‘is running out of bad guys,’ stance is a bug since there is plenty of them. Unlike previous titles, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is here with plenty of tricks, this includes intel collectibles that have returned, but also challenges to complete that will allow for players to upgrade their exo suit.

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Upgrading the exo suit allows for players to aim quicker, carry more tactical as well as lethal grenades, take more damage, and even detect enemies from distances that are further out. This can seem rewarding, but in the long run it is not, which can cause players to cringe their teeth when enemies still rip them apart in large groups. The nice change out of all this? Your A.I. partners are no longer idiots, they are smart, will call out enemies, and even hose them down while remaining under suppressed fire. The only complaint about them? They still won’t toss a grenade back at the enemies. This is something that could still be a prefered change in the long run and something we could hopefully see in the future of the series. Though do not get too comfortable with the grenade throwing back, having the exo-suit or the rest. Each suit type is quickly cycled through within the games campaign duration, all the while, being taunted by Kevin Spacey’s villainous Irons.

/—Multiplayer–/

“The one thing that many can agree upon, the multiplayer has sped up over the years.”

Something that has been for sure is that the Warzone that we know as Call of Duty has grown stagnant, but faster paced over the years. With Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer Games was listening, and sped it up this time around. With the new exo suit boosts for double jump, dash, and even dodge’s, players will find themselves taking combat to new heights they’ve never seen before. With these changes there are a few things that do return. Killstreaks are still here, all the while they are also now customizable. These customizations include capabilities such as making a care package track down the player, turrets instead of being remote controlled also become A.I. controlled so that they may hunt enemies down themselves. Other upgrades to killstreaks can also feature a multitude of other changes. These are something of which players should spend some time to familiarize themselves with. Do not forget though, these changes will cause the killstreaks harder to obtain through points required. Most noticeable of these changes is the new customization system we were first introduced to with Call of Duty Ghosts. This time around players will get to unlock rewards by meeting certain goals or getting a supply package for completing a certain task required. However, these tasks are not mentioned on how to obtain them, which leaves it up to the player to determine how they unlock them.

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With that aside the multiplayer has seen some changes in its own. One of the biggest changes is the core modes which feature the exo suits that players will become familiarized through the games campaign. We suggest this since there are a lot of things required in order to keep alive throughout your multiplayer progression. The other thing is the ranked mode no longer requires you to sit there, build a team, and hope to have a clan that can fight their way through the ranking system. Instead, players can now find themselves battling it out and hoping not to come across pre-made teams. Luckily, this is not something that was frequently encountered. In the new ranked system, players will be given points based upon their wins. Once having reached those certain required points, players will find themselves punching their way into divisions, this can also mean taking on tougher players whom may or may not be as good. Thanks to this mode though we were able to see quite a few customization unlocks that also included new weapons. These new weapons were slightly better than the base ones, which allowed for quicker progression in this new ranked mode. Outside of the ranked mode, players will be able to take on some very well known modes such as Kill Confirmed, Team Deathmatch, Free For all, Domination, Search and Destroy, and even Hardcore playlists. The most interesting of the modes is the new mode called Uplink. Much like Search and Destroy, Uplink requires teams to take a drone and toss it into an enemies satellite uplink, toss it in, and score. This will put many players on edge as they will have to customize classes that are perfect for this game mode and this game mode only. The most used builds were ones for reduced damage all the while remaining at top speeds. This means shotguns, SMG’s, and even knifing are acceptable routes to take since they will make drone runners quick and agile.

CoD_AW_MP_SC02

“This means no exo suits and a pure enjoyment of classic Call of Duty pacing.”

As stated before, classes are something that will play a very important role just as they did in previous entries. However, this Call of Duty follows the equipment slot point routine where players will be picking 13 points to use across their primary, secondary, perks, grenades, and even their exo suit ability. So choose wisely as players can quickly use these up picking out grenades as well as their attachments to use. This is something that also allows for players to become beyond exceptional at their tools of trade. Some may take more towards assault rifles while others will lean more in the direction of sniper rifles or shotguns. Though there is something to note for those that do not want to spend their time fighting against players who have excelled at using the exo suit. Instead there is a classic playlist that will allow players to take to their old style of playing. This means no exo suits and a pure enjoyment of classic Call of Duty pacing. As per-usual, the multiplayer is something that has evolved to become a masterpiece in its own unlike what we saw with the infuriating and frustrating Call of Duty Ghosts.

Unfortunately, what I did spend time with of the co-op survival mode, I wasn’t impressed. Unlike Call of Duty Ghosts Extermination or Call of Duty Black Ops’ Zombies, I found myself taking on throngs of Atlus soldiers and then pounding my head upon the wall in order to not scream in annoyance as team mates were flooded upon and quickly hosed down by either troopers or well bitten at the ankles by those infamous dogs. Within this mode players will take their time in order to hit certain waves, which unlock upgrades. These upgrades can be good, bad, or even ugly depending on a teams build. Luckily, exo suit abilities, and types can be changed as players unlock points to upgrade or customize with. This includes weapon upgrades, exo upgrades, and even usable abilities. Overall, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has proven that war can change and even for the better.

So what does Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare manage to earn a killstreak score of? A killstreak of 8 out of 10.

About the Writer:

Dustin_BATGRDustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, MMO’s, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable and can’t be softened by even the biggest names in the gaming industry. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. To follow Dustin, hit him up on Twitter over at @GamingAnomaly, find him on his Google+. Wanna game with him? You can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.

Reviewers Note: Our review for Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is primarily based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game. We did manage to get our hands on the game on the XBox One and PS3 and did not see much change outside of graphics between the XBox One and PS4.

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