This week marked an important moment for Activision and the Call of Duty series, with the release of the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare game Activision moves into a new idea for the military style series, but still with the same strategy and plan as we are used to with Call of Duty. Set in 2054 America the main storyline of Advanced Warfare is that a set of powerful mercenaries have been left to clean up from the wars made by governments, paid to complete the harder tasks for various governments.
With this new storyline also comes new gameplay, with Sledgehammer Games adding new cybernetically enhanced abilities and future style guns that take their inspiration from the guns of old but add in some all new cool abilities.
As you load up the campaign for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare you learn that the world of 2054 America has been led by a dysfunctional Congress, leading to the growth of private militaries and in turn a number of wars to fight.
However the most excitable moments of the story definitely come from the great acting that is supplied by both Kevin Spacey and Troy Baker in which Spacey plays the role of the president for the Atlas Corporation Jonathan Irons, and Baker takes the role of the Altlas mercenary Mitchell.
The character of Mitchell is ex US military, set back from a personal and physical loss, Mitchell decides to move on from his loss and join forces with the Atlas Corporation after he is convinced by Jonathan Irons. Irons is the character who puts the story together, taking from Kevin Spacey’s time as the majority whip of Congress, Irons talks with full confidence and charisma meaning that you both trust him and look up to him as a character.
This is then brought to even further heights with the level of detail that has been added to these character’s faces and models, with some of the best looking character models and faces that I have ever seen for any game that I have been able to play so far. Every wrinkle, hair and pore comes to life, creating an experience that tis like nothing else around.
And its not just the faces and models that look amazing environments, weapons and characters have all been given the detail that we expected to see from a next generation console (that last part is important as on previous generation consoles like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 these graphics are not so interesting.
The main problem with the campaign is one that we have seen with a lot of the previous games within the Call of Duty series and that is that it can be hard to form relationships with these characters sometimes, and the relationships between the characters within the game don’t seem real enough, as if no one really cares when their friends die right in front of them.
This all starts off when we first meet Mitchell and his “brother in arms”, who are said to have been friends for some years, looking after each other in many battles and situations, however the plot just doesn’t seem to convert this, instead both characters seem as if they have never met one another. This continues when we meet the father of Mitchell’s fellow marine who coincidentally happens to be Jonathan Irons, the Atlas President we mentioned earlier.
These two continue a relationship that doesn’t seem real, and then eventually ends in a moment that is both disturbing and lacklustre, however I believe that the gameplay and new environments make up for the lacking story in some way.
It’s not like Advanced Warfare is lacking the stereotypical “Follow me” missions but it has been changed with the introduction of different gadgets and weapons for each mission, and at the end you are greeted with a new system that grants the player points for how well they have progressed within the campaign, these points can then be used to upgrade your characters armour, health and abilities, allowing you to progress through the campaign with style as you make more progress.
Thankfully Sledgehammer have also introduced some variation into the game’s story missions, providing moments where you must use stealth in order to complete a mission, and even a mission where you get the chance to take flight in your own jet fighter. Within these missions you will also find a number of ways to complete different moments within the missions.
Like many other Call of Duty games before it, within both the campaign and the multiplayer there are a number of weapons, grenades and gadgets that can be used to decimate your enemy and progress through the game, however Advanced Warfare also brings a few of its own inclusions into the story to offer even more ways to kill and find your enemy. One of my favourite additions are the grenades, for the tactical grenades you now have a single grande that is selectable between a number of tactical grenades like an EMP or smoke. The most interesting out of the these are the threat grenades that allow you to see a number of enemies through objects.
The new damage grenades also use this new choosable option, and even have the option for a grenade that can track enemies and basically throw themselves to that player and explode.
What is interesting is that you don’t always have the ability to access all of the exo abilities within missions, and the game will actually force you to use certain abilities within the different missions, without allowing you to have access to anything it doesn’t include.
When you move onto multiplayer Sledgehammer brings all of the stuff that we learnt from the campaign and creates an entirely new way to play Call of Duty competitively, but is uprising quite easy to pick up quickly, using the exo’s jump abilities your player now has a new and more fluid way of moving between different areas of the map, and even quickly manoeuvre around enemies and escape situations that you don’t want to be in.
As you further progress through the multiplayer and level up you will then be able to access the various exo abilities that are available to use and include anything from a portable shield, to something called the Exo Ping which allows you to mark players on the mini map and mark them with a pink outline as they get close to you. Obviously these abilities only last for a short period of time, but they do bring something that make Call of Duty interesting without making players to OP.
This is then expanded with the new Pick 13 system which allows players to customise their multiplayer character exactly how they want, so if they don’t want score streaks or grenades they can use the extra points for other things that they do want such as attachments for their gun or wildcards for extra abilities.
In terms of particular weapon upgrades and camps, players will gain new attachments and camps for their gun as they complete set tasks for that gun when using the gun in multiplayer, making the experience of levelling up a gun a bit more interactive and enjoyable. What is even more interesting is that players can also upgrade their score streaks to add various abilities to them too such as arrow markers for players with the UAV, or the ability to detach the gun from a sentry.
This is all joined with the normal Exo abilities that allow the player to do things like double jump and slide further.
There’s one more mode for gamers to play in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare too, called Exo Survival, it is a mode where players must hold of from a number of varying enemies in both numbers and in the weapons and abilities they have. Players must survive through these waves in order to progress onto further tiers of maps.
In order to survive users must use two different stations to buy new weapons, abilities and perks for their character with the points that they have earned from the different stages within the mode.
All in all Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a great title and certainly an interesting successor for the Call of Duty series, bringing a fresh style to the game with new abilities and even an entirely new gameplay style to keep things interesting.
This is joined by excellent story writing (aside from character relations), beautiful graphics, excellent sound design and all in all a great new game to play.