Breaking from the mold of traditional Call of Duty titles, the latest installment offers players a chance to join the Advanced Warfare of the very near future. Private military companies and national defenses have upgraded their units with exosuits and new gadget-focused arsenals to turn the tide in their favor, and players can take full-advantage of the sci-fi action in both single-player and multiplayer gaming.
Advanced Warfare turned out to be the perfect title for this installment, as the entire game focuses on using all of the new gear and weaponry that is now at your disposal. From single-player missions to the madness that is multiplayer, the game constantly has you deploying and redeploying a fresh barrage of new tech at your opponents, and for the most part it’s always fun to play.
You can throw-out all of the information that you have gathered over the years on tomahawks, RPGs, carbines and shotguns, none of that information is useful now in this Call of Duty game. Giant explosions, exoskeletons, multi-tier map formations and overall-havok are your new friends now.
Multiplayer is similar to previous installments on the foundation level, the game’s new upgrades and assets will give you something new to learn as you cautiously set your equipment loadouts for the next map. The maps do offer a bit more maneuvering room now that you have the ability to rocket about, whether you will enjoy everyone’s new range of motion when you are trying to shoot them out of the sky will be up to you, but it’s a subtle upgrade that I feel most will enjoy over the ‘run and gun’ abilities of the previous games.
With all of the new gear and attachments to learn, I was happy to see that the developers simplified the outfitting section of the equipment loadouts. You simply just start filling in the blanks with the corresponding gear. It’s less about ‘take this and not that’ and is more ‘this goes here, that goes there and I’m done, let’s kill things’.
It may be easy to understand, but there are plenty of tricks and subtle nuances for the professional to enjoy. Checking your newly acquired gear to see how it will change your overall playstyle takes time and patience, but pays off in folds once you start mastering each piece or ability that you add. You then have to think about the counter-perks, most of which are designed to render the enemies perks useless in battle. Nothing is entirely new here, just upgraded, but they seem balanced and enjoyable to employ/destroy depending on which side of the table you are on.
Multiplayer is the foundation of Call of Duty, and this installment offers more options than any other title in the franchise. While online maps are terrific, the co-op portion of the game could have been a bit more expansive. It felt kind of second-hand to the rest of the game, put in just to please people, or to have the ‘co-op available’ icon on the back of the box. Your friends are usually what make co-op play so enjoyable, but it would be nice to see this section expanded over time with DLC.
If single-player is more your speed, or if you are hoping that it will offer a nice time-kill when your friends aren’t available to play, this version offers better campaigns than in the past. This has everything to do with Jonathan Irons, voiced and designed after the great Kevin Spacey. In the game Irons is the head of Atlas (a company name that we all need to agree is used too often in games), which is basically a private military company open to the world’s stage.
Of course things quickly spiral into the realm of make-believe, as they have to in these situations, and a once powerful arms-dealer is now beset on bringing the end of days to all that oppose him and only you can save the world. Out of all the COD leaders I have battled in the past, Spacey’s was at least the most individualistic, and the most entertaining. It’s a nice change to work for a superpower that doesn’t have to be apologetic or mysterious to the point of fault, at least in the beginning. Since you aren’t exactly fighting directly for the United States or Korea or China, the developers seemed to have a little more breathing room to create a better character, without the chance of upsetting any particular nationality.
Call of Duty games are designed as a new layer over the favorites from previous games, and I think what makes this game the most enjoyable is that all of the new additions work well together, and are based on enjoyment, not challenge. The game plays like an action movie for the single-player and the multiplayer offers a much faster pace than previous games. The multiplayer modes, skins, guns, armor and gadgets are all updated; offering new experiences and new abilities that weren’t available in previous Call of Duty games, and that is exactly what the franchise needs to keep doing to stay alive.
I think both newcomers and stalwart fans of Call of Duty will find more than enough to learn and try in the installment. I do think that Activision needs to pick-up the pace on the DLC offerings though. With games releasing on top of each other, the full-year cycle for DLC is just too long. I think the packs need to be released closer together, and fans should know when the last of the DLC is expected to release before picking up a season pass.
I do think this is one of the better releases that Activision has put forth, and the game will offer hours and hours of fun in the multiplayer modes for anyone that wants to compete online.