Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is Sledgehammer’s first attempt with the franchise and they have done an amazing job. They have helped on previous entries in the franchise but this is the first time where they were the main studio and Advanced Warfare was their vision. Generally speaking I am a big Call of Duty fan and have enjoyed all of the games, however, Sledgehammer seems to breathed new life into the franchise. The new ideas and additions, as well as a new three year development cycle, have really paid off to create a fun and frantic title. The addition of the exosuits changes things up and makes it easier to get around the environments quickly when you need to, along with the assorted toys that come with using the exosuit. The campaign focuses on a private military organization, Atlas, run by Jonathon Irons who is portrayed by Kevin Spacey. The team over at Sledgehammer did an amazing job bringing Spacey into the game and I would marvel at just how realistic Spacey looked during the scenes that he was in. Then of course you have the multiplayer portion of the game, along with Exo Survival which is a co-op mode where you can team up with friends to fight off waves of increasingly difficult enemies as you try to complete objectives. Sledgehammer has put together a great package here and it is one that newcomers and veterans alike should really enjoy.
Going through the campaign you assume the role of Jack Mitchell. Events transpire in the first mission that get you discharged from the military and that is where Atlas comes in. Jonathon Irons (Spacey) offers you a role in his organization, giving you a second chance to make a difference. After going through a training mission which will show you some of the cool new toys you will get to “play” with throughout the story, you are immediately sent to sent to Nigeria where you need to rescue the Nigerian prime minister from the KVA, a global terrorist organization. Once you complete your mission there you are off to Seattle, Washington where you need to try and stop the KVA from triggering a nuclear meltdown at a power plant just outside of Seattle. The story of Advanced Warfare takes place in the future and you will go all over the world to complete your missions to try and stop terror attacks. There is a nice little twist (that I won’t spoil) that you will come across as you go through the campaign that keeps the story going and it helps to make this one of my favorite Call of Duty campaigns that I have played in a while.
Throughout your journey you will be exposed to a number of different weapons and different ways to go about things. Your exosuit can allow to jump really high so that you high ground quicker and if you push in the left stick you can even do an air dash. Once you get really good at doing these things they can help you get across a map really quickly. A great example of the new weapons in Advanced Warfare are the new grenades. While grenades themselves are not new, Sledgehammer came up with some very creative ways to use them. One of my favorites was definitely the threat grenades. What I really enjoyed doing was, before breaching a room, I would throw a threat grenade inside which would instantly highlight all of the enemies in the room in red through the walls. This would give me a quick look at what I was dealing with so I could prepare myself. Sometimes I could shoot through the wall and eliminate the enemies before they knew I was even there and other times I would sneak into a room with a silenced weapon and pop them before they could sound an alert. Another nice grenade was the EMP grenade. This grenade turned out to be very valuable as well. There will be times where drones are sent after you and a really great way of dealing with them is throwing an EMP grenade which will make them drop from the sky.
Your exo abilities are really great too and can change up how you play. There is an exo shield that you can use that is attached to your arm. There is also the exo cloak which will make you invisible for a short amount of time, however, an enemy will still be able to see your outline if you are really close. There is also the exo trophy system which can destroy enemy projectiles and will knock back grenades thrown in your direction. There are definitely other uses and other technological toys that you get to play with in the game but I’ll leave some of them as a surprise since they can be a lot of fun to fool around with.
Moving on to multiplayer there are a ton of modes to choose from. First of all you have team deathmatch which everyone should be familiar with. Essentially the first team to reach the score limit wins the round. There isn’t anything fancy about it, just work together as a team to get more kills. Next was Domination where you have to capture and hold designated positions to score. Kill Confirmed is also back and is one of my favorites. It is similar to deathmatch with the one change being that after you kill your opponent you need to run over and grab his dog tags to confirm the kill. Additionally, if you see a teammate get killed you can also grab his dog tags to deny the kill for the other team. You then have hardpoint where the objective is to capture and hold the hardpoints to score and the first team to reach the score limit wins. There are other common modes as well such as search and destroy, capture the flag, search and rescue, free-for-all and more. Then there is new stuff like Uplink where you have to throw or carry the satellite drone to the uplink station to score. I found this new mode to be a lot of fun to play but I think Kill Confirmed is probably still my favorite. If you are someone who doesn’t want to play multiplayer with the exo suit and all of the new abilities that it comes with, there are also classic playlists that give you the same Call of Duty experience you have had for years.
Speaking of the exo suit, it really does change up the multiplayer experience. You can still play Call of Duty the same way you always have if you want but the exo suit makes map traversal much quicker and smoother and you can also use it as an effective weapon against the opposition. You don’t want to get careless though because if you sprint around a corner into a group of enemies you will most likely still get taken out. The exosuit does add a bit of verticality to the maps and you can do more with it. If you need to get over a wall, instead of finding a door and going through you it, you can simply jump over the wall. It can make it easier to get to higher ground so you can get a good position to try and take out the enemy but you have to remember that if you were able to get up there, everyone else can to. There were instances where I found someone laying prone on the ground trying to line up a shot and I just ran up and hit them with a melee attack to quietly take them out. There is also a really great feeling when you see a enemy trying to get to a high location and you are able to shoot them out of the sky. You even get a medal for doing that. It only took me a couple of minutes to get used to the exosuit capabilities and once I did I had an absolute blast. My one complaint with the multiplayer is that it appears spawn points need to be balanced out just a bit. There were some instances where I would spawn at an inopportune location or moment and the enemy would be to immediately take me out. It only happened to me on a couple of occasions but it would be nice to get that worked out.
The third part of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the Exo-Survival co-op mode. The exo-survival mode is where you and three friends can team up to take down an increasingly challenging waves of enemies. The thing is the enemies aren’t the only thing you have to worry about. In addition to your standard enemies there are also drones that you will need to shoot out of the way and from time to time you’ll have dogs trying to hunt you down as well. Additionally, you will come across objectives that you will need to complete such as defending a certain area. You will also want to try and work together as a team since if you get killed then you are done for that round and all you can do is spectate. When you get get taken out though your teammates do have a small window of opportunity to try and run over and revive you. This is one of those instances where teamwork is really important so try and keep the overall team as strong as possible.
Before you begin fighting the first wave of enemies you will also have a choice to make from three different exo tiers. There is the Light, Heavy and Specialist tier to choose from. Now each one has its pros and cons and your playstyle will determine which one you pick. The light tier, for example, doesn’t have as much armor as the heavy tier but it can move a lot quicker and traverse the map a bit easier using the different exo abilities. You have to decide what is important to you. After you complete each wave there will be a small cooldown period where you can try and upgrade your equipment. After clearing a wave you will earn upgrade points that will allow you to customize your character. Do you want to add a red dot sight to your gun or add an ability? Do you want to unlock an entirely new weapon or do something else? The choice is up to you as you create the soldier you want to try and fight off the enemy.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare really is a pretty amazing game. Sledgehammer Games has come up with a winning formula for their own vision of the Call of Duty franchise and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next. The campaign was one of the best I have played in years and the exo suits inject enough fresh ideas and gameplay moments that both veterans and newcomers alike should enjoy themselves. There is a bit of a learning curve with the different abilities the exo suit brings to the table but once you understand how it all works it can be a tremendous amount of fun. The three year development cycle obviously helped here and I’m excited to see how the other Call of Duty studios will use it to match what Sledgehammer has done here.
Originally posted on Gaming Target