Reviews// Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Posted 7 Nov 2014 13:14 by
What if I told you there was an impressively innovative new FPS franchise boasting colours never-before-seen on the warfare palate?

That’d be pretty groovy, right? Unfortunately, I’m not here with that information. Sorry! Instead, I’m here to tell you what the deal is with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.

Now, maybe I set you off on quite a negative path there, but don’t fret! Advanced Warfare is actually really quite good.

From the very opening cutscene of the game, it became apparent that Sledgehammer had really stepped it up a notch. Graphically, AW is a lot like a pretty human coming home from a night out in Wakefield – everything you care about is perfect, but there’s always those lingering background issues that make you cringe ever so slightly when they crop up.

As far as Advanced Warfare’s story goes, there’s nothing that strays too far from the dusty old path we’ve walked... erm, 17 times before? Maybe? That’s not to say the campaign isn’t fun, it’s just... come on guys, I’ve chased down an international terrorist time and time again. Can’t we have a killer bunny or something next time?

What makes this instalment stand out from the rest is the introduction of ‘exo-suits’ thanks to Advanced Warfare's future setting. These exo-suits throw a few very potent new spices into the Call of Duty curry pot. I like to call these spices 'JetBoostyJumperer', 'ExoSuitShieldyThing' and of course 'SlowMotionShootingHelpyThing'.

As you’ve probably already figured out, the exo-suit makes quite a big difference in the way we play AW in comparison to any other CoD title – the main difference being the introduction of vertical traversal with the JetBoostyJumperer.

Alongside the exo-suit, AW introduces some interesting new grenades and weapon attachments – the most useful of these being the 'Threat grenade'. As a threat grenade hits the ground, a red pulse is triggered, effectively “painting” any nearby enemies, allowing you to see them through walls and other cover.

The problem with Threat Grenades, is that they make me feel a bit like a crack addict – when they’re gone, I just don’t know what to do with myself. Where will the next ammo supply box be? Can the enemies drop some? I wonder if my AI squad could spot me a few. Can I swap you my secondary weapon for some? Why should I have to keep my eyes peeled for enemies hiding in rubble? IT’S NOT FAIR.

Luckily for me, there’s also a weapon sight called a Target Enhancer – effectively, this does the same thing as a Threat Grenade, but only when you’re aiming in the vicinity of an enemy.

As we’ve come to learn over the years, Call of Duty’s online multiplayer mode is the most favoured by consumers, leaving the campaign (as usual) a bit short. That’s fine though, because the exo-suit hasn’t just been introduced to mix-up the way we play the campaign - it’s added a whole new aspect to the way we compete against other players on the multiplayer battleground.

In previous CoD multiplayer games, we were particularly limited by mobility capability. In Advanced Warfare, however, the exo-suit completely changes that. Run around a corner to find two enemies ready to unload clips of ammo into you? No problem! Boost backwards and run around a nearby corner.

Admittedly, the new manoeuvrability takes some getting used to, and you’ll probably find yourself dying unnecessarily quite often to start with. Once you get the hang of it though, you’ll find yourself throwing out everything you knew about CoD multiplayer and adapting to different situations in completely different ways.

As well as the standard exo-suit boost jump, you’re able to add “Exo-abilities” when customising your character. One of my personal favourites being an accelerated health regeneration ability.

Your exo-suit will completely change the way you play objective-based game modes, too. For example, in Search and Destroy, your objective is to collect a bomb and plant it at a set spot while the opposite team tries to stop you. Kit out your character with silenced weapons, perks that hide you from overhead UAV radars and an exo ability that turns you invisible for a short while, then ninja your way around the map using your boost abilities and you’re golden.

Now, as we’ve come to learn from previous CoD games, there’s always that one extra mode aside from the campaign and the online competitive multiplayer, and AW hasn’t forgotten about that. The third game mode in AW comes in the form of Exo-Survival.

In Exo-Survival, you basically fight through waves of enemies. Your main objective is to survive, but some rounds have a secondary objective – they range from collecting all dog tags that spawn on the map, to defusing bombs to fighting off giant robotic enemies.

At the end of each round, you’ll receive upgrade points which you’re able to spend on new weapons, weapon attachments, exo suit upgrades etc.

“Should I buy Advanced Warefare?”, you ask? Yes. The small change to the usual formulae really has made a big difference in the overall enjoyment of the game.

The campaign has some neat new equipment to make shooting down hordes of enemies a little more interesting while the multiplayer, although it’s essentially the same as before but with more manoeuvrability, feels like a fresh challenge to conquer. As for Exo-Survival, I haven’t had much time to properly test the higher waves, but from what I can tell, it’ll be a nice cooldown when you don’t fancy your chances against player enemies.

+ Exo-Suit brings a fresh feel to an old franchise
+ Multiplayer is different… in a good way!
+ New equipment keeps campaign interesting
+ Graphically impressive

- Campaign is still quite short
- Story doesn’t stray from the usual path

SPOnG Score: 9/10

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