Saturday, 13 December 2014

[PC Game Review] Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Platform: PC (Steam)
Released: 2014
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Sledgehammer Games, Raven Software
Publisher: Activision
Buy on Steam

It should be firmly established by now I am a huge fan of this franchise, having been so ever since I played Modern Warfare 3. The consistent quality, high production values and solid gameplay keeps me coming back to each new iteration. So it's about time I give my thoughts on the most recent one, Advanced Warfare, which promises to reinvigorate the franchise with some new tricks. Is this truly a game changer, or just advanced bullshit? Let's take a look!


The campaign in Advanced Warfare sets up a story in a near future where Jonathan Irons (played by Kevin Spacey) offers a new chance for Mitchell, a soldier who loses his war buddy and best friend as well as his arm in a sabotage operation that goes horribly wrong. Armed with a new robotic prosthesis and working for the biggest PMC in the world, Atlas, he becomes part of Iron's closest elite. However he soon finds out that there is more to Irons than he first realizes and becomes part of an intricate plot to stop Irons from committing mass genocide of innocent civilians on American soil.

The campaign lets you upgrade your new Exo suit's abilities between missions, as you earn points for certain objectives, such as enemy kills and gathering intel. It gives the campaign some replayability as you can replay earlier levels to unlock more upgrades, offering a sort of New Game + option.
The Exo suit is introduced in full force during the campaign and you are introduced to all its concepts, including boost jumping, slamming (buttslam!) and dodging, so the campaign works as a nice training mode before jumping into multiplayer in that sense. 

Several missions focus on driving vehicles as well which gives a nice variety to the action. Riding a hoverbike, piloting a combat jet and manouvering a giant combat exoskeleton are just a couple of the sweet toys you get to play with in the campaign. You also get some stealth missions that actually manage to feel like proper stealth missions and using the exo suit to enhance them in a very interesting way.

Night vision balls... I be trippin' them...


Multiplayer is probably more expansive than ever in Advanced Warfare. The mode features more customization options than ever. You can now fully customize your appearance in the game, choose your gender, head, shades, helmet, gloves, pants, jacket, loadout, you name it. You can customize your guns in a much deeper fashion than before, re-using the slot system from Black Ops 2, as you now can customize your attachments and choose between more skins than ever. The variety of weapons is also through the roof as you have laser weapons to add to the mix now, as well as more akimbo weapons than before, which I absolutely love!

A new feature is that each round of multiplayer you play has a chance of giving you a loot drop crate. These crates contain entirely random loot, ranging from temp bonuses to unique clothing items and even unique gun variations with special attributes. I often found myself getting these loot crates when I was doing particularly bad in a round and it's nice to have incentive to keep playing despite not doing too hot.

Hiiiiiiighway to the DANGER ZONE!

You can also choose between several special Exo abilities, such as getting a temporary speed boost, getting temp health regen boost, hovering in the air or getting a shield. You're also equipped with a grenade launcher, meaning you no longer have to specifically throw grenades, you can just launch them from your arm which I find much more satisfying. There are also several new more tactical grenade types, including the Threat grenade which lights up enemies wherever it hits. 

In addition to all the classic modes you've come to expect from CoD, there's a new uplink mode that plays out pretty much like a futuristic handball match with guns. Grab the ball, get it into the enemy's goal without getting shot. The first team to score 10 points wins the match. It's a mode where it's not so much about getting kills but just getting the ball. Otheriwse you have your standard TDM, KC, Hardpoint and Domination matches.

Surprise, motherfucker

The levels are now fully designed with the exo suits in mind and this results in a lot of levels offering very vertical gameplay and encounters. It brings a new certain intensity to the franchise that definitely makes this a much more hardcore experience in multiplayer, especially if you play with people who are skilled with the exo suit boosting. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on rooftops...
The emblem editor is thankfully available within the game again so editing your emblem no longer needs to be done via an app like in Ghosts. Your clan and clan tag still needs to be edited via the app though...

In addition to the standard multiplayer there is a new co-op mode called Exo Survival, which I sadly found a bit disappointing. The mode, which is pretty much just another co-op horde mode, doesn't really offer much reason to play it other than for practice since you can't really do much other than choosing what class to play and then upgrade guns as you play the match. It doesn't get boring though as you always have secondary objectives to do and it does get really intense on higher difficulties. However, for me the mode is too barebones to offer much in comparison with the main multiplayer.

One technical issue I'm suffering a bit from is that I get some bad client lag during the start of matches. Not sure why but it seems to be a sync issue. Nothing that ruins the experience but it is a minor annoyance.

Tearing up ALL the shit!


Advanced Warfare might just be the most gorgeous Call of Duty yet! The new engine truly is capable of some spectacular graphics and the facial capture in the cutscenes is near uncanny valley levels of perfection, giving the cutscenes some true cinematic flair since the actors can be very expressive with their models. The game also just looks really pleasing to look at, with popping colours and lots of nice lighting effects.

Especially during the single player do the graphics come to their right, offering tons of eye candy during the grand scale set pieces and the game feels enormous in scale. Detail on the guns is splendid and I adore their futuristic style that fits perfectly into the game.


Voice acting is absolutely superb, especially Kevin Spacey as Jonathan Irons. His performance is bone chilling and emotional, all at the same time, giving the character he plays a very much needed strong presence in the game. The guns all sound very good to use and have a nice punchy sound to them. One thing I noticed is that the game has a lot of high frequency metallic sounds which does get a bit annoying to me after a while but I tend to just get used to it. It's nothing that makes the game worse, but I couldn't help but notice it. The only downside is that much like most high value productions nowadays the music isn't much to speak of and is rather forgetable and I mostly keep it off.

Imma firin' ma lazooooor!

All in all, Advanced Warfare is the most fun Call of Duty so far and feels the most complete. It offers a new take on the franchise and taking a note from Titanfall, gives it much more vertical gameplay. I strongly recommend picking it up, regardless if you're a fan or not. It might not do as much innovation as most people are looking for, but what it offers is the same solid CoD experience with new toys, and to me, that's all I wanted.

STORY: 10/10

SOUND: 8/10