The only problem with Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is that I have to wait three f*cking years for a sequel!
It's Call of Duty man, the one game that everyone loves to hate, but surprisingly people seem to like Advanced Warfare a lot. Maybe its the badass campaign, maybe its the revamped multiplayer with the exo suits or maybe its that Sledgehammer developed both of the modes this time around. All I know is that I had a blast playing through it.
I'm gonna start by talking about the campaign and how, in my opinion is the best the series has ever had. Sure, you can jump in and say that it's a been there done that kind of thing, but it doesnt really matter as the execution is pitch perfect. Yes, you play through the obligatory scenarios like bridge chase scene ending in well, you can guess it, stealth mansion infiltration, city rampage etc. But each and every one of these levels is fantastic, especially if you play through them in Veteran. What makes these levels so much fun is the technology you use throughout them or better say, the whole setting is intriguing.
Set in 2054, you play as Mitchell, a once privateer for the US army now working as a hired gun for ATLAS, the world's biggest Private Military Contractor run by Jeremy Irons which is played by none other than Kevin Spacey. Now since Spacey is in it, you can pretty much understand who's the bad guy and how the story might conclude, but that doesn't mean that you should skip it. In contrary, you should play it first as soon as you insert he disc. Why? Well, as I said the setting is a lot of fun. 2054 opens up the opportunity to use some cool tech and weapons that may exist as top secret projects, but you know, that's highly classified :p
So you get to use future tech like mute charges, explosives that mute sounds so you can clear a room of enemies without being heard by the ones next door. Or you will use smart grenades that seek enemies before exploding or "wallhack" grenades that allow you to see enemies through walls. You will also get to drive hover bikes, pilot a badass jetfighter and other interesting aerial drones. Then you have the Exo suits, which are the coolest things ever added to Call of Duty.
You and pretty much everyone wear an Exo, which transforms its user into a well, super soldier. You can run faster, double jump, dodge by boosting side to side Nd back and forth, climb walls Spiderman style and grapple hook Batman style. Keeping in mind what the Exo allows you to do, please imagine the myriad of cool thing you can perform with it? Well, you don't have to since Sledgehammer has beaten you to it and has included all of the badass moments and more into the awesome campaign.
The future tech is only half of the fun 2054 provides. The other half is the story, what happened and how did ATLAS get so much power. It is all about the power, "Power Controls Everything" as the tagline says. ATLAS, cleverly named after the greek Titan who holds Earth on his shoulders, in the game holds the Earth not on his shoulders, but in its grasp. Bigger and stronger that any any force in the world answering to no government, ATLAS has a dark, but somehow justified agenda.
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And with Spacey or Irons as the head of it, delivering powerful, scary and at the same time convincing speeches only like he can, is goose bumping. But he is not the only one delivering such amazing performances as pretty much everyone in the cast is greatly developed. Gideon the badass ATLAS operative, for me, is the Captain Price of the Advanced Warfare series. He is a rough and tough englishman, with badass levels reaching over 9000. Cormack, the head of Sentinel, is also well written and has a powerful moment that I may or may not have cried... Then there is Jack Mitchell, the one you play as which is brought to life by the fantastic Troy Baker. While you don't get to hear him talk much during the missions, he delivers powerful messages in the incredibly detailed CGI cutscenes. Powerful messages behind the sacrifices of soldiers, the ugly truths of war and many other memorable ones that are worth quoting. It is probably the best story ever in a Call of Duty game well, maybe second only to the fantastic and intriguing one of Black Ops, but nonetheless it should definitely be played.
Now that's all for the campaign/singleplayer part, let's talk about the multiplayer. The short version is that it is really really enjoyable and it feels fresh, but not without its problems. The Exo suits, I can say that have revamped the multiplayer, big time. The matches are fast, fun and really unpredictable. I say unpredictable because they don't play out like they did in the past Call of Duty games. Everybody runs and jumps all over the places, no one camps anymore and that makes the game ten times more fun, at least for me. Getting from one side to the other takes just a couple of seconds and you have immediate contact with the enemy, no more running and hiding in a corner. You just jump boost or fly in, if you like that word, and wreak havoc onto the enemy team. Or you can boost slide then quickly dodge left or right to mow down an unsuspecting enemy in a flash. That's quite fun. What's more fun is outthinking an enemy who performed to you the same move I described by just dodging the other way and blasting him off the face of the earth with the shockwave shotgun or just uppercut him with the same effect.
As I said it is a really enjoyable and fun experience. The maps are well designed, high in verticality with lots of interconnecting paths, interesting flow patterns and some great choke points. This might be the first Call of Duty game where you just can't simply pickup the controller and beast people, it has quite a learning curve to understand how the Exo works and what it allows you to do. I myself didn't have much trouble with it since I jumped into Advanced Warfare after playing a ton of Destiny so I knew my way around double jumps, hover and boost, but while playing online I have seen many players failing over and over jumping to and from a ledge, falling off the map etc. A solution for that or let's call it a "good training" is the campaign on Veteran.
So the Exo is the new part of multiplayer that you might need time to adjust to, but the rest will be very familiar. The loadouts system is very similar to the Pick 10 one from Black Ops 2, but here it's a Pick 13 system. You get to choose between 13 different options ranging from weapons to weapon attachments, perks, wildcards, grenades, scorestreaks and Exo abilities. It is a great system that offers great customization, but one thing that I found out is that there is no "perfect loadout" or the "holy trinity of perks" as there was in Black Ops 2, so you have to experiment and that's quite fun, trying out every weapon, grenade, perk combination etc. I am a good to great Call of Duty player and I dominated with pretty much any loadout I've used. And of course got my ass handed to me by other players using what it looked like totally random loadouts in terms of perks and attachments. Bottom line is that, if you are a great player and know what you are doing, you will kick ass using anything or nothing except the knife if you like to go all ninja!
As for the game modes, the usual are all there, Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed etc. Each one is a lot of fun, if, again, you know what you are doing. If you just rush ahead, you will get mowed down. But if you know where to jump and pause for a second you will get the drop on most of the enemies, for the first time in CoD you might have to strategize. There is also Ground War which is a total clusterfuck of bullets, semtex and scorestreaks, so you might wanna just skip that. Speaking of the scorestreaks, they are great, a giant improvement from the boring Ghost had, but you need to be a total pro if you want to get the highest ones. Thing with Advanced Warfare is that you die, a lot, so most of the times you will stick with the UAV and Care Package customized, also a new thing in AW, so their score do not reset even after you die, think how the Support Class scorestreaks worked in past Call of Duty games. Uplink is a new multiplayer mode which plays out like basketball in some way. A ball/drone/something round will spawn in the map and your goal is to take it and throw it inside the enemy's net, but while you have the ball, you cannot use any gun, just melee and the Exo maneuvers. It is a lot of fun to play, especially when you throw the ball to an enemy who's about to mow you down, stopping him while you shoot him down...yes fun!
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And then there is the biggest arch nemesis of any multiplayer game, the one they call...LAG. The first days I played AW, there was an unprecedented amount of it, making the game unplayable. After a few patches, they have managed to dial it down a lot, but it is still present here and there. Another super annoying problem was and still is the matchmaking, which sometimes will take way too long to find a game and even when it does, sometimes it will kick you out or the match will completely interrupt because "it lost connection to the host" or something like that. It's frustrating when it happens once let alone when it happens three or four times in a row. Of course the famous "Call of Duty bullsh*t" return in Advanced Warfare, where you will get get killed by an ankle shot from a sniper or the one bullet pistol or you will still loose a firefight even when you put three-four bullets before the enemy has started firing at you and more of this type of bullsh*t, but hey we have become accustomed to these things, haven't we?
Other than the competitive side of the multiplayer, there is also a cooperative one called Exo Survival. It is basically the Survival mode from MW3 supercharged with the Advanced Warfare bells and whistles. You along with three other players have to survive weaves of enemies which become harder and harder. It's all right, I guess, I don't know. I personally didn't like the one in Modern Warfare, so I probably won't play much of it in Advanced Warfare, but hey, if you liked the mode in the past, you will probably love it in Advanced Warfare.
Visually speaking, this is the best looking Call of Duty game yet. While it might not be a totally new engine, still the end result is nothing short of spectacular. The future is a beautiful rendered place with sprawling detailed cities, high rising buildings with interesting and not too far out architectural designs, high tech interiors, and then there is the excellent imaging of Santorini, the beautiful greek island, with the perfect amount of "future" blended in, which is fantastic! The same love and mastership has gone into making the character models which look absolutely photorealistic delivering full range of emotions which immerses you more into loving and caring about them. The guns also look spectacular with insane levels of attention to details and sound even better. Speaking of sounds and score, Advanced Warfare gets it perfect. Much like in Destiny, the sound feedback from firing a weapon combined with all of the other sounds plus the epic score, especially hearing them from a pair of badass headphones, is just boner fuel. It look impressive, it sounds even better and it is smooth as f*ck running at a steady 60fps.
Bottom Line: Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is probably the best Call of Duty ever made. The singleplayer while predictable, it is as bombastic and epic as it can get delivering powerful messages about war, politics and sacrifices. The multiplayer is a breath of fresh air, where the Exo totally revamps it and makes it extremely enjoyable and intriguing to say the least, no more spray and praying, you have to rethink the way you play Call of Duty. It is f*cking great! Just buy it. Thanks for reading!