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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4)

November 7, 2014

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4 version)

UntitledWhat’s Good:
-Sharp and smooth visual design.
-Near future setting offers up a good amount of fancy gadgets and weapons.
-Exo Suit abilities (Dashes/Double Jumps) make movement fun.
-Multiplayer unlocks are level-based again.
-Multiplayer map design is no longer a cluttered mess.
-Objective gametypes return to multiplayer!

What’s Bad:
-Player health pools are still too low.
-Silencers are still mandatory in multiplayer.
-The worst melee attack you can imagine.

What I thought: “It’s no Call of Duty 4, but it’s a (double) jump in the right direction.”

Single Player:
Little is done with the Campaign to differentiate Advanced Warfare from previous games from a structural standpoint. Following suit from Ghosts last year, the player choice moments from Black Ops 2 are no where to be seen here, and the story, while perhaps a little more personal than some seen in the past just from the fact that you play the same character throughout, isn’t as exciting or full of twists as I would have expected. It’s pretty predictable stuff.
The missions are generally good though, with a few pretty memorable moments thrown in there for good measure, and while this story’s characters aren’t all that unique, there are fair performances from the talent behind them, with the most obvious mention here being Irons, the head of Atlas, played by Kevin Spacey.
You work toward completing Exo Challenges while playing each level (such as “head shot enemies” or “collect intel”, and at the end of each mission you are given upgrade points used to increase your combat abilities. These range from boring stuff like increased sprint distance to more helpful upgrades such as increased reload speed and additional health.
The Campaign is of average length for the series, and by the time I was feeling like gunning down the typically poor AI soldiers was getting stale, it was ready to be wrapped up.

Multiplayer:
Hardpoint. Uplink. Momentum. Capture the Flag. There are objectives again!
While Hardpoint and Momentum are variations on the Headquarters and War gametypes found in previous games, Uplink is similar to Sabotage where both teams are fighting over a carriable objective which players seek to either toss into the enemy goal, or dive through while carrying it (for more points). It’s a very fast-paced gametype, and compliments AW’s increased player movement options in a cool way, even if some of the maps are perhaps a tad on the small side to make the gametype fun.
These gametypes supplement the more boring, existing modes (TDM/Kill Confirmed/Domination/etc) in a multiplayer which, while not surpassing the best games in the series going backward, does enough differently to set it apart in a meaningful way.
The things you hate about Call of Duty multiplayer still remain; you will still die in but a few shots (most commonly from behind), you will still quite often die immediately upon spawning, you are still severely handicapping yourself if you’re using a non-silenced weapon, which is a tremendous disappointment, and while the game includes the above-mentioned objective gametypes, time will tell how long you will be able to find matches for them in this game’s (Mercenary-less) matchmaking.
Advanced Warfare slightly expands upon the Pick 10 system found in Black Ops 2’s multiplayer, but now adds Killstreaks (which can now be customized, with the trade-off being they require a longer streak) to the point total, extending it to 13 points. Thanks to this, you can take four Killstreaks into your match if you would like, and since there are new Exo Suit abilities to think about, the system feels even a bit more open-ended and full of interesting choices than it was in BO2.
Not that anyone will be using anything but silenced weapons with all of the anti-uav/tracking perks, but the options are there anyway. There is a weapon attachment in AW which will cause those using silenced weapons to appear on the minimap when they fire anyway, but that alone is little reason to alter your loadout from the sort of cookie-cutter classes which were ideal in previous games.
The maps in the last few Call of Duty games, save for maybe Black Ops 2, suffered greatly from becoming more and more complex, and sporting more and more nonsensical clutter in the environmental design. Thankfully, picking enemies out in the distance is far, far easier here. The maps are generally a lot more spaced out to allow room for dashes and double jumps, and while there may be a few instances of maps with sections sporting multi-floored buildings, getting around the maps and spotting players within them is much less of a problem than it has been in recent years.
The Exo Suit abilities do not completely change the multiplayer. While they are well-suited for traversing the maps in fun ways, for the most part they aren’t as useful in combat as I would have previously expected. You may get lucky and dodge a stray shotgun blast here or there, or use the dash to duck around a corner away from a firefight, rather than confuse or out-maneuver your opponent within one, but they are a fun addition nonetheless.
I put enough time into the multiplayer to hit first Prestige, and feel like I’ve had my fill for now. I look forward to seeing whether the solid map design continues into the DLC offering.

Other Modes:
Supplementing the two big modes is the now standard cooperative versus AI mode, which with Advanced Warfare is more similar to the one found in Modern Warfare 3.
Waves of enemies of varying difficulty come at you and you’re tasked with fending them off. Between rounds you are able to upgrade your weapons and/or Exo Suit, though unlike with the survival mode found in MW3, you are limited by which Exo Suit Class you choose (of which there are three) which determines which class of weapons you are able to purchase and upgrade.
From time to time there will be additional objectives placed on the map for you to accomplish, which can either produce a buff or hindrance to your team depending on whether they are completed or not. These range from standing in a specific spot while you take down enemies, finding and disarming bombs placed about the area, among others.
Much like the Survival mode found in Modern Warfare 3, there is a fair amount of enjoyment to be found here, but these modes were never quite my thing, and I don’t expect to spend a ton of time with this one either.

Overall:
The Call of Duty series and I have a complicated relationship. There still exist in each installment, things I enjoy about the series, but from a fundamental gameplay design standpoint, the bad has outweighed the good to a degree to which I was hopeful but hesitant about jumping into this year’s game.
The “I don’t know, just add more stuff! More stuff!” design philosophy from Ghosts doesn’t come through here, and that is a tremendously wonderful thing. The increased movement options have sort of forced the map designers to tone back the complexity in their map layouts. Simpler maps = better maps, and save for maybe one or two, those found in Advanced Warfare are easily the best I’ve seen from the series since Call of Duty 4.
The campaign does its job as a big dumb action movie roller coaster, the cooperative mode isn’t overly complicated, and the multiplayer is still flawed, but manages to be interesting regardless.
There have been seven games in the series since then, but Call of Duty 4 is still the entry to beat, and while I don’t feel like Advanced Warfare has toppled the King, in my opinion this is the closest the series has come, and it makes me curious what Treyarch could be doing with their upcoming entry.

From → Games

2 Comments
  1. Sorry folks on the feed! I have resized and reuploaded the box art graphic at a smaller, less obnoxious size. It may take a few hours to update.

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