Written by: Corey Bonanno, Special to CC2K
With the passing of another year, we readied our hearts and wallets for the next installment in the Call of Duty franchise. Last year’s Call of Duty: Ghosts saw a dip in the series, both in quality and fan approval. This year, Sledgehammer Games–a studio that has worked alongside other Call of Duty studios–has been given the tools to create their own unique twist to a played out franchise. Advanced Warfare is a graphical accomplishment boasting a fully realized cast with advancements in the way Call of Duty will be viewed going into the future.
It is the year 2055, and of course, the world is in a constant state of war and chaos. Like most Call of Duty games set in modern or near future timeframes, private military corporations are dominating a booming war economy. Kevin Spacey puts on a great performance as Irons, the head of Atlas, which is the worlds largest military force. For years, the governments of the world have relied on the advanced tech and highly trained soldiers of fortune that Atlas provides. With this, a majority of the western powers have put their own military might into remission, weakening their own defenses. This creates the perfect scenario for the ambitious and politically jaded, Irons, to make a move on creating his own order to the world without the say of the UN and the world’s governments.
The formula is exactly what you would expect from Call of Duty, jet setting around the globe following your commanding officer. Eventually your benefactors betray you and your group of ethnically diverse super pals with a plot to destroy the world as we know it. Yep, the same recycled storyline, but this is the best the series has created in quite sometime. Advanced Warfare finds itself right besides the one that started Call of Duty’s amazing trajectory, Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
Of course the bread and butter of the series has and always will be it’s multiplayer. Much of the same game modes and match types are available to players, but what makes this year’s title a whole new experience is the addition of the exosuit abilities. The mobility given to players in the multiplayer adds a level of strategic complexity Call of Duty has never seen before. In a split second you can be anywhere you need to be, launching upwards and taking a rooftop position creates dynamic and vertical playing fields unlike any other. Watch your back, and watch the rooftops, players can be anywhere within moments.
This creates a successful tension for each and every match. Learning the maneuvers and mechanics behind the exosuit gets off to an intimidating start, but once you get the feel for the twitch based action, there is no going back. You begin to feel the power and agility when you grasp what the exosuit can do to each encounter. Nothing is quite as empowering as slide dodging out of cover and loosing a shotgun slug into someone’s chest and then launching yourself behind your next target for a swift melee finisher. It is the multiplayer fans know and love, there is no doubting that, but what has been tweaked and innovated may make future Call of Duty titles hard to stack up. Some of these advancements may turn out to be a double edged sword.
When the Call of Duty studios consisted of Treyarch and Infinity Ward, both studios had a unique flare to their titles, but this created an inconsistency between the titles year after year. Certain aspects of the studio’s games became specific to their specific games. One year, Call of Duty would have the fan favorite–Zombies mode–and the next it would be replaced by Special Operations modes or wave based survival. The addition of a third studio will only further the gap between each studios specific game attributes, modes, and overall mechanics. Thanks to how well, Sledgehammer has done with creating their own voice to the Call of Duty name, I can’t picture the next Call of Duty not having the free-flowing and intuitive mobility that comes with the addition of the exosuits. Advanced Warfare has created a class of its own that cannot be undone.
There is also a co-op survival and wave based game mode in Advanced Warfare, the Exo-Survival mode. Consisting of a four player cooperative team, you and your squad take on wave after wave of AI enemies. Each wave brings its own flair. Whether it is simply AI human targets, the agile drones, or the heavy mech suits, there is tons of content and ways to take on each scenario. Between rounds, players spend currency earned from eliminating targets and providing team support to upgrade their weapons and exosuits. This allows for a team to play to their strengths and build a diverse squad focused on several varieties of load-outs and skills. Though Exo-Survival is a pretty well worn game mode that has been included in many games over the years, the addition of the exosuits keeps the gameplay exciting and fresh.
Call of Duty has created a whole new universe for the series to reinvent and reinvigorate a tired franchise. With last years Call of Duty: Ghosts, fans were left jaded and unsure about the future of Call of Duty. Advanced Warfare is the reason to yet again put faith in what has become the king of shooters. Call of Duty is, and from what has been seen, will continue to be the most formidable force in innovating the world of shooters for some time to come. Nothing lasts forever, and the series will one day fade, but for now enjoy what is not only the best Call of Duty game to date, but a great video game overall.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare 8.5 out of 10