Thursday, 27 November 2014

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare PS4 XBONE

Man, back in 2003 I loved Call of Duty, the first entry in the now long drawn out franchise. Compared to later instalments in the series, the original Call of Duty was set during World War 2, and though it didn't have the modern day weapons that later made it into the series, it was and still is my favourite. Another peak for the series was with the release of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, the modern day take on Call of Duty that spawned its own series. Now comes the first entry of what will no doubt be a fifth series within the Call of Duty franchise. As one of the biggest releases of the year, the question is, is it any good? Sadly, as much as Advanced Warfare desperately tries to shake up the gameplay, it just isn't good enough.


Developed by Sledgehammer Games out now on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC comes Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, a game that does change up the series to some extent, but ends up coming across like as if Modern Warfare 3 and Titanfall had a baby. The story to Advanced Warfare is pretty typical, but thankfully due to the fact that it's set in the 2050's, the story often becomes more Dues Ex and less Call of Duty at times. You take on the role of Jack Mitchell, a US Marine who is discharged from duty after losing his arm in battle. However, Mitchell is given a new lease on life in the form of the Atlas Corporation; a huge private military contractor that hires Mitchell and outfits him with an advanced prosthetic arm. The game then focuses on a terrorist threat from a technophobic group known as the KVA. There's plot twists you'll see coming from a mile away, grunts hurling around bad language, greedy rich elites that want to bring the world to its knees and, of course, terrorists. It's Call of Duty storytelling 101, but I guess story in this franchise series was never its strongest point.


What instantly jumps out at you when playing is that in Advanced Warfare, your character can move much more fluidly than ever before in the series. This is thanks to the “Exo-Suit”; an exoskeleton that Mitchell wears which allows him to quickly dash in any given direction, jump twice as high than usual and even come crashing down on the heads on unsuspecting foes, almost like a twisted futuristic version of Mario. However, this new ability to quickly move around isn't just there to make you look cool, but rather it adds a whole new dimension to the game. From dodging bullets to making your way through a map at a neck breaking speed, this game mechanic is the best thing to happen to Call of Duty in years, and fundamentally changes up the gameplay. This isn't the Call of Duty game where you'll take cover, jump out, shoot and repeat that process 100 times over, instead you'll be dashing around, jumping onto rooftops and generally interacting more with your environment. You can also add certain unique properties to your Exo-Suit, some of which enable your character to turn invisible, run faster, run/walk with no footstep noises and even hover in place. Though they don't last long, these abilities shake up gameplay quite nicely.

There's also the nice little addition of upgrading your character during the campaign mode too. Essentially, the better you play the more reward points you get, and these points can be spent on upgrading your character and weapons. Fancy having more health? Make sure you only go for head-shots during the next mission. Want to peer down your iron sights quicker? Take out a bunch of enemies solely using grenades. It adds a freshness to the series that I haven't felt since Modern Warfare, as this, alongside how agile and mobile your character is, partially succeeds in turning it from generic shooter to something new and interesting.

However, that's where the innovation arguably stops, as everything else in the game is pretty standard in the series. Multiplayer is pretty much the exact same as the last two Call of Duty instalments, apart from some new bells and whistles. Granted it's a lot more fun now if even for the addition of the Exo-Suit, but it still feels almost identical to Black Ops 2, Modern Warfare 3, Ghosts, etc. But in terms of gunplay, modes and gameplay that doesn't make use of the Exo-Suit, it's pretty much what you're expecting. From taking part in modes such as Team Deathmatch, Hardpoint, Domination, Capture the Flag and Free-for-all, and unleashing a plethora of weaponry that are essentially futuristic versions of what we've seen in past games, a lot of Advanced Warfare seems like business as usual. Now, depending on how you view the series, that may either be a great or terrible thing.


If you're a Call of Duty multiplayer fan, you'll absolutely adore it. It has more of the same with a little bit extra that adds a whole new perspective on gameplay. However, like me if you're primarily just looking to play the campaign, it'll only last you around 6 hours, and even then there isn't much re-playability to dive into. While I can appreciate that Sledgehammer Games are trying something new here, it still all comes across a little too familiar both in terms of gameplay and narrative.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare isn't so advanced and gets a 3/5.

★★★☆☆

Denis Murphy


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