Every year Activision sets aside a large portion of its staff to release a new game, one that lacks originality but is made up by including re-skinned weapons and assets. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is no exception to this trend. Originally promising intense new combat via exoskeleton battle suits and a compelling story with Kevin Spacey, this game fails to exit the shadow of its past iterations in this aging franchise. After the poor release and reception of last years Call of Duty: Ghost one would think Activision would finally decide to change its formula when it comes to making “Innovative” and “Blockbuster” games. In my opinion Call of Duty hit its high point with either Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, every addition to the franchise has continued to show that the franchise lacks innovation and new ideas.
Gameplay in Advanced Warfare isn’t anything new. Any past player of the franchise will have no problem stepping into this game, and if you’ve played one, you’ve played them all. The exoskeleton does add some new aspects to the game such as increased jump height and free running skills. Yet this isn’t anything gamers haven’t seen before, this kind of game play is anything but new. For example Titanfall, a game I wasn’t even that impressed with, had far superior free running and gameplay compared to Advanced Warfare. The game is far more fluid than any other Call of Duty, but that isn’t saying much. What keeps Advanced Warfare from being a noteworthy addition to the franchise is Activision‘s lack of common sense, since developers need more time to make a successful game. Previously, two-year cycles were given to developers when they were given the task to create a sequel. Now the developers have three years to make a new game. The problem is that this isn’t enough time to make a truly revolutionary and innovative game. As one of the largest publishers of video games in the world, Activision should strive to put more resources into the development of their stale titles.
When it comes to graphics Advanced Warfare isn’t ugly, but when compared to other games that have come out or are about to come out, it simply lacks the next gen touch. The differences between last gen and next gen are only noticeable when you pause the game and compare frame to frame because when you are in the heat of battle in this generic shooter the last thing you will notice will be the anti-aliasing and lighting in the game. This handicaps Advanced Warfare from being a noteworthy game. When juxtaposed to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain or The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Advanced Warfare is a sad excuse for a game when it comes to visuals. It simply can’t compare to rival games. This is the outcome of Activision’s decision to use the same in house game engine on both last gen and next gen versions of their game. For the first time in 7 years Call of Duty finally has a new game engine. The previous engine, in use since 2007′s Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (my favorite of the series), was showing age and entering the end of its life cycle, which was quite noticeable with last year’s disaster of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Many other developers are shifting away from the last gen, which is good for next gen games since porting it to last gen handicaps the game on the next gen which simply isn’t fair. Ubisoft already made two different Assassins Creed games for each generation; this gives players the best version of the game that they can get on their platform, yet Activision is too greedy to do this. They are too busy milking money from consumers who honestly deserve better than this.
This game, however, isn’t all bad news: the story in Advanced Warfare is the best I have played since Modern Warfare 2, the story shows a grim future for the world. In the year 2054, the world’s military is run by Private Military Corporations, and the player works for Jonathon Irons, the CEO of Atlas voiced by Kevin Spacey, the largest military power on the face of the planet. The player is joined by Jack Mitchell, voiced by my favorite veteran voice actor Troy Baker, a former marine who has joined the PMCs since they are now the most effective fighting force on the planet. The campaign shows a bleak future where wars are fought by people who are driven solely by wealth and political gain.
The campaign does a great job of introducing future tech such as exoskeletons into the game. The future tech is a nice addition yet the vehicles feel clunky and unpolished. Personally, I believe the Call of Duty franchise should stay away from vehicle combat. However, the story is executed with amazing precision; Kevin Spacey provides a performance that rivals that of many cable television shows, which is great for the story telling in the video game medium. The campaign isn’t the longest, but unlike the recent Call of Duty games, this one is actually worth playing.
Multiplayer is everything you can expect from a Call of Duty game. For the first time ever, skills and perks are logically explained. While in previous iterations of the game your player character can reload at unrealistic speeds and have infinite sprint is finally answered for, the solution to these unrealistic game play ideals is… exoskeletons! The exoskeletons provide more verticality and speed to the game, adding some much needed life to this dying franchise. Skills and perks are integrated into your own personal exoskeleton, which finally solves the weird mystery regarding your soldiers amazing physical prowess. The maps are fun, and they share ideas and play styles from the last games maps. All in all, the multiplayer is great if you seek repetitive game play, yet this game is still a lot of fun to play since it isn’t that difficult to be good at. So if you feel like gunning down your friends in an online match, pick this game up.
Verdict: 7.5/10* What makes my review different from writers at IGN, Destructiod or Polygon is the fact that, unlike them, my job doesn’t depend on the success of a video game or the industry in general. I can give my honest opinion without receiving any backlash from publishers and developer. This gives me the ability to give an honest opinion, one that isn’t cropped by large corporations or overarching editors. In other words I don’t have to comply to untrue reviews from these large companies.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare suffers from the failure to break its own mold preset by past iterations. It still retains its casual game play which makes it such a good series yet it disgraces its past noticeable iterations by lacking innovation and true change. Sure, Advanced Warfare has game changing “exoskeletons,” but it absolutely cannot bet compared to the great games in the franchise such as Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2, which were hallmarks in the FPS genre. With so many other Call of Duty esque games on the market, Advanced Warfare fails to distinguish itself from these “knock-offs,” some of which honestly deliver a better package than this. As a consumer, it’s up to you all to choose whether or not to buy this game. If, as a consumer, you were to not buy this game, you would be showing your disapproval in the industry and would force innovation and change in the game industry. This would provide gamers with better quality games than this one and other poor excuses for games. In the end, consumers make or break the video game industry, and honestly any industry that is noticeably successful. You can blindly buy this game and fuel this corporation’s greed for money or you can pass on it and buy a decent game.