Call of Duty: Advance Warfare

Call of Duty: Advance Warfare is more about what we love about the series, and does it with cinematic flare

By Grayshadow, Posted 12 Nov 2014

The latest chapter in the Call of Duty franchise seeks to reinvigorate the franchise. Set in 2054 America, where powerful mercenaries and cybernetic enhanced soldiers dominate the world, Sledgehammer has created a new science-fiction territory for the series. Remaining loyal to the fast-pace run-and-gun shooting and addictive multiplayer, Advance Warfare attempts to build on the strengths of what Call of Duty such a monumental hit.

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You play as Jack Mitchell, a dangerous but loyal soldier with a lackluster personality. The real star is ATLAS President and CEO Jonathan Irons, played by Kevin Spacey. The academy award-winning-actor steals the spotlight every time he makes an appearance, delivering intense dialogue each time he’s on screen. These characters, and the rest of the cast, are brought to life with incredible character models and facial animations. Everything from pores, hair, and skin creases are shown in such detail that you can easily decode each character’s mood before they say anything.

What makes Advance Warfare stand out from the moderately received Call of Duty: Ghosts is pacing. Instead of juggling multiple roles like in Ghosts, you only play as Mitchell, allowing for a more fluid story. It’s a single story that suffers from predictability and a bland villain, but doesn’t attempt to become something it’s not, an action-pack adventure filled with powerful explosions and large battles.

Despite the amazing technology shown throughout the game you’re only allowed to use certain marvels in specific missions. The biggest advancement being the Exo-suit, a mechanical suit that enhances the users speed and strength, as well as give them access to cloaking and advance healing. Each mission equips you with three to four pre-assigned Exo-suit abilities. You can level up your Exo suit between missions by gaining points through collecting hidden intel and killing enemies. Though they’re all fun and useful in various ways, having access to a finite amount of abilities for specific missions is crippling. To have such an extraordinary tool at your disposal only to access a fraction of its power is bewildering.

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The modern weaponry changes the flow of the missions that would otherwise be stale military missions. Threat Grenades highlight enemies through walls and directed energy weapons burn through armor turns tired stereotypical missions into a new experience. However, similar issues that existed in past Call of Duty games continue to plague Advance Warfare, such as AI movement that can appear off at times and companions unable to shoot a target within arms distance. These hiccups are noticeable, but not enough to spoil what is one of the best Call of Duty campaigns in the franchise. The ending won’t leave you lamenting on much, but regardless you’ll have a good time reaching the end.

The power and mobility of the Exo-suit transfers to the multiplayer, giving the player more control of their movement than ever. The Exo-suit adds a new layer of both defensive and offensive capabilities, allowing enemies to go airborne and dash in mid-air with a click of the thumbstick. Suits also come with power slots that can deflect grenades, boost health, increase speed, cloak, and more.

Maps also offer their own hazards. Dynamic changes such as deploying turrets, opening new areas on the map, and massive tsunamis that kill any who don’t take cover force the player to constantly observe the environmental changes happening. Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, and a new mode called Uplink, where one player carries a “satellite” and must toss it into a specific floating glowing orb, are all enhanced due to the Exo-suit’s abilities.

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Like past Call of Duty games, the leveling system has you collecting new upgrades, such as guns and attachments, by completing challenges and finishing matches. Advance Warfare accelerates this by including supply drops full of cosmetic items, new weapons, and temporary perks like XP boosts. By using a specific weapon, you increase the level of that weapon to unlock. Despite the large magnitude of items and skins, it never feels overwhelming. Instead it encourages you to continue playing and testing new items.

Black Ops 2’s Pick 10 system has been updated to the new Pick 13 system. Instead of adhering to a specific set of kill streaks, you can remove them for an extra attachment or perk. If you’re unsure about a specific item, Sledgehammer has included a new virtual firing range. With the press of a button, you’re instantly transported to a firing range to test out your new gear without fear. It’s useful and something that should be incorporated into load-out-based multiplayer shooters.

If you’re still worried about entering the competitive field, you can jump into the Combat Readiness Program. In this mode, players face against other nameless players and bots where no kill cams or post-game results exist. Anyone who manifests a high kill score is automatically locked out to avoid discouraging new players.

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Exo Survival is the third mode offered in Advance Warfare. In this cooperate game type, a mixture of random enemies flood the map in hopes of killing you. Surviving a round yields currency to spend on upgrades for weapons and your Exo-suit. It’s in this mode where the map can prove to be more formidable than the AI opponents, separating each of the 13 available maps into 4 difficulty tiers. For example, in Terrace, leaving the easily defendable lobby to collect dog tags scattered around the map requires players to split into 2 teams. Gathering all the icons before the 90 seconds are up without proper communication can leave you stranded without anyone to watch your back.

Sledgehammer has found a new starting point for a new generation of Call of Duty games. Coupling the new mobility system around the campaign and multiplayer modes greatly adds a new level of depth that this 11-year-old FPS needed. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare is more about what we love about the series, and does it with cinematic flare.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Activision, Square Enix
Developer(s): Sledgehammer Games, High Moon Studios, Raven Software
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Action
Release Date: 2014-11-04

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