Your every-year CoD or something special?
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is the latest instalment of the Call of Duty franchise. To make a change, this year it has been created by Sledgehammer games rather than the usual Treyarch or Infinity Ward. That doesn’t change that it has been published and managed by Activision however. This year, we’re going back to the future. This game is set in 2054 and based around the operations of a private military company called Atlas which now supplies the effective military force for almost every country in the world other than USA. You play as Mitchell, an ex-marine who was injured and lost an arm in warfare in Seoul, Korea whilst serving with Jonathan Iron(the leader of Atlas)’s son. He dies on the mission (not a spoiler since it is in the gameplay revealed at E3) and so Irons takes you on, gives you a highly advanced prosthetic arm and introduces you to the Exo suit.From here you follow his order and fight the KVA, a growing military force threatening not only Atlas, but many countries. There are many plot twists and surprises as you’d expect. In the end, the game sets itself up for a sequel in three years (following the new development cycle) by saying “this was just the beginning”. Not that the game was really a cliff hanger, it rounded itself off pretty nicely, just that ominous line probably means that there are more coming. The campaign was okay, for me it was very much predictable but it wasn’t bad. I played it on Veteran as always and didn’t find the majority of it too much of a challenge, apart from some sections where I: a) didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing, b) got frame drops or c) was drinking during a quick time cutscene. I’d say I enjoyed this campaign more than others, maybe a little more than Ghosts but not as much as some of the earlier titles.
The performance of the game has really been my biggest issue. My PC isn’t top spec (AMD FX8350 Black and GTX660ti), so when you optimise it, you hope you’re getting the best for your PC. However, I get a hell of a lot of frame drops and near crashes but I can’t really tell if it is my PC, the game or something messing up. Since I’ve seen very little reports of such things, I’m guessing it is my PC, most likely the RAM since the game is fairly RAM intensive. The game looks amazing. I was running it on high and it looked great, so I have no idea how good maxing it out would look. The cutscenes especially, sometimes I was having trouble deciphering if it was graphically created or if it was live action. I’m going with proper cutscene due to the amount of development stuff I’ve seen behind it. The AI in the game isn’t too bad either, only once did I find a friendly AI walking into a wall, and once an enemy, but that’s to be expected because AI is incredibly hard to program not to run into everything. The sound design and sound track are also well made, and add a certain smoothness to the game.
Multiplayer is a big part of the new Call of Duty. Sledgehammer wanted to bring the franchise back to its fast paced origins, and to do this they added the Exo suit. This gives players an array of abilities, but also advanced and faster movement to allow for outplay potential and to be able to jump around the map, up buildings, you name it and chances are you can do it. That being said, there is a few problems with what they’ve done. The Exos are fine, but I find their abilities fairly useless and rarely used them in the campaign, let alone online. They also have done something terribly wrong with cover. In Domination and Hardpoint, there is far far far too little cover on the objectives, so if you go there, you will probably get shot from someone so far away it wasn’t a fair trade. This makes taking the objectives a lot harder unless you have your entire team lock them down. The spawns are better, but still not great. Multiple times I’ve spawned with enemies in too close proximity to me. Overall, they have made it faster paced, but in some cases they’ve taken it a little too far. The map design (other than low cover) is surprisingly good, though they did drastically over play that levels were going to have game changing events to swap things around. They really aren’t that impressive or effective but nice try. The supply drop aspect is really cool, although I don’t really agree with having weapons be buffed on the off chance you get it in a random drop, since that really isn’t affected by player skill. The customisation however is really good. Having that much choice on how your character looks means that you don’t feel like you’re the same as the next guy and that is really something. The 13 point system in class creation works well, and the customisability of the scorestreaks is really good, I just think that they should bring the point streak levels down because you need 8 kills to get a base UAV in domination, which is a little high for what has previously been a 3 kill streak reward.
Exo Survival is essentially Seldgehammer’s take on the Survival or Spec ops kind of game mode in MW3. You face waves of enemies in multiplayer maps, with increasing difficulty and in groups of difficulty on selection. This time, you have three different classes with individual scorestreaks, gun types and survivability. This ads some variance, but can be annoying. Thankfully, you can swap classes when you feel like in the middle of the game. This is done by going to the Exo upgrade box. Here, you can change class or spend points you earn from completing rounds to buff your suit. There is also a weapons one, where you can buy new or upgrade existing weapons. What’s weird about it is that the hardest difficulty map, Riot, when you survive the 10 rounds, a cutscene happens which basically shows chemical warfare induced zombie looking things which kind of suggests they are bringing out a zombie mode in the near future, that or something similar to one, which would be cool.
Overall, I liked the game. The campaign was immersive, the multiplayer rewarding and the Exo Survival fun. It has somehow brought Call of Duty back to what it used to be, by making it more advanced. I will say, that in some aspects, they have put too much in, and need to improve a few aspects, but overall a solid game. And for the price of £40 on Steam, I would definitely recommend it.