Monday, 10 November 2014

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Review - Something New and Interesting for a Stale Formula.

By Sam Coles:
Over the years I think a lot of gamers have felt the fatigue of the Call of Duty series because they come out annually with little to no change, but I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the latest game in the series Advanced Warfare from the guys at Sledgehammer Games in conjunction with High Moon and Raven Software.
The campaign’s story is that you play as Private Jack Mitchell played by Troy Baker who seems to be in every game at the moment, but I digress. You first start out in the marines pushing back the North Koreans out of Sol South Korea and then you are then injured and are given a second chance by the PMC Atlas. The president and ceo Johnathan Irons played by Kevin Spacey hires you and gives you advanced prosthetics so you can fight for his army. Yeah the story isn’t special and the twists you can see from a mile off, but it’s presented so well with its direction and graphics with the facial animation which are fantastic that it will hook you.
The campaign took me around 7 hours to finish and that was even on the veteran difficulty and it wasn’t particularly hard but that maybe because I upgraded my exo to the max by the end of it that I was able to with stand a lot of gun fire and sprint fast. That isn’t say that you won’t go up against tougher enemies because you will you’ll get soldiers in harder armour and other mercs in mech suits that are equipped with mini-guns and missiles, let’s just say that the campaign gets more intense in the later stages. In the campaign you’ll do little challenges that will award you with skill points you can upgrade certain elements for your exo such as increase reloading speed or sprint etc. but unfortunately it’s a bit bare bones and except for the reloading I don’t really notice the upgrades in practise.
The graphics are amazing especially on the current gen machines (PS4, Xbox One) they are nearly bridging on photorealistic and you can tell who the actors are and you will recognise some of them especially Kevin Spacey he has been put in the game fully. The production value from the graphics and voice actors are high it’s paced like a blockbuster movie. The game runs at a native 1080p on the PS4 and runs at 60 frames per second for the most part it does stutter in some cutscenes, but in gameplay I’ve not noticed any notable frame rate drops it performs really well most of the time.
Gameplay is similar to other COD games especially in the campaign but you have the added exo-suit but unfortunately it is used in the scripted events in the campaign which Call of Duty is known for. In multiplayer on the other hand the exo-suit comes into to its own because instead of camping in corners and sniping in this game, players will be running around the map dodging shots and out smarting you in gunfights. It makes it immediately fresh compared to the stilted gameplay of the other games it has feeling of the old school shooters such as Quake and Unreal Tournament where it’s all about map control and not your loadout.
The multiplayer still has the standard slew of perks and different equipment although there are some interesting weapons as the game is set from 2054 onwards so get a laser heavy weapon and a portable rail gun as a pistol which is a one shot kill (mostly), The variable grenades are interesting where you get 3 or 4 grenades in one which can range from stun, EMP and frag. You can get different exo abilities which can vary from silent footsteps, a shield or speeding up your run speed which all run on a battery which regenerate over time. Pick 10 system returns from Black Ops 2 in the form of Pick 13 where you can equip 13 weapons, perks and abilties which is always usefula and a great way to plan the perfect loadout
You can customise the look of avatar for the online mode where you can give him or her ostentatious exo-suits which you can unlock more through loot drops. Loot drops are new to the series these are similar to free to play games such as Warface or Blacklight Retribution, but like those game you’ll have a time limit to use the special weapons and clothing items. On the other hand though these drops have special abilities such as your first few bullets may do more damage, but take a penalty maybe with slower fire rate with the first few shots, let’s just say if you can keep them it would make the game unbalanced.
The game modes aren’t terribly inventive except for a couple such as Uplink where you have to take a satellite to enemy base and throw it into the uplink, think of it as a faster pace version of Giff ball or American Football. It makes you think on your toes because once you’re in possession of the satellite you can’t use your weapons but you can turn the tables on your enemies by throwing it at them to make them catching it and you can then gun them down. In general though the game modes are the usual Team Deathmatch, domination etc. but with the added exo abilities it adds a sense of verticality and new strategy to the game.  

Overall this is the first Call of Duty game that I’ve enjoyed in years and is an excellent first attempted from the guys at Sledgehammer Games for their first standalone COD game, if you have a PS4, Xbox One or PC give this game ago I have played it on the last gen and it does not perform as well and the graphics (obviously) are not as well optimised. If you’re looking to play on your current gen machine give this game a go because it may surprise you.

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