Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a first-person shooter and the latest instalment of a long series that slowly went downhill, but developer Sledgehammer Games have managed to revive the franchise by doing something new whilst at the retaining all the things that first made Call of Duty the defining shooter. The release date is technically today, but servers opened 24 hours early for all players.
The game ships with three modes: a single player campaign, a co-op mode and the main star of the show, the multiplayer. The single player campaign is a 6-8 hours long and the narrative is still one of the main criticisms, however Martin Robinson at Eurogamer states: “Kudos to Sledgehammer, though, for keeping the narrative through-line clean, for involving you in the theatrics and for crafting a story that is at least coherent, even if it does all fall a little flat… It’s hard to care, though, when the toys excused by the setting are so fine, the gadgets so joyous to play with. You’re no longer a soldier lost in the noise of war – you’re a superhero, cutting through the fury with superpowers of your own.”
The co-op campaign isn’t talked about much and the general consensus seems to be that it is good but not great. Arthur Gies at Polygon summarizes it as ” a wave-based survival mode taking place on the multiplayer maps, where you earn points to buy better weapons and upgrades for your exo. There are wrinkles that mix things up a bit. For example, some waves have objectives that need to be completed to avert additional obstacles, like a glitched-out exo. It’s all competent enough, but it lacks the distinctive identity that powers the zombies mode in developer Treyarch’s Call of Duty games.”
The multiplayer is where Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare shines. The exosuit is the most talked about new feature. Jeff Gerstmann at Giant Bomb talks extensively about the game in his review and concludes it with: ” It’s the best multiplayer the game has seen in some time and the whole thing totals up to a satisfying, if familiar experience.”
First person shooter fans are probably already playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. It is not a title or a franchise that was made for me as much as I enjoy shooters. I don’t move fast enough, think fast enough, my muscle memory is terrible and it takes me a lot longer to learn and improve at much smaller increments. Advanced Warfare is game that plays in three dimensions not two, offers and requires player mobility as Polygon’s review states: “There’s less safety, less predictability, and it combines with some of the best map design the series has seen — hiding places never have total cover, and corners are hard to find. Sight lines exist all over, but there’s just as many means of breaking out of a field of fire by using a boost or performing a running slide.”
There are two new features to help out new, inexperienced, rusty and clumsy players. The first is a virtual arena. “… a press of a button in the pregame lobby will take you and your loadout more or less instantly into a virtual arena where you can fire on targets and get to know your guns without feeding yourself to the wolves.”
The second, highlighted by IGN’s review: “If you’re rusty, you can jump into the Combat Readiness Program before trying out true multiplayer. It’s a noob-friendly environment where there are no kill cams, no post-game scoreboards, and a mixture of nameless bots and players. Anyone who racks up too high a body count gets locked out to avoid discouraging new players, making it a much more casual-friendly zone where you can kick back and enjoy yourself without pressure.”
If you’ve ever wanted to try a shooter, or have done in the past and it didn’t go well, despite Call of Duty’s reputation of being the shooter that defines shooters, of ruthless multiplayer matches where anyone below the threshold dies over and over, these two features, combined with a solid coop campaign, even if the story is a little weak and a good co-op mode, could make it a more accessible shooter than any of its predecessors.