Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Platform: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Genre: Shooter, Action
Below we’ve prepared a synopsis of our official Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare review that delivers some of the main points in our assessment. Essentially the game feels like a rushed cash-grab in terms of its campaign, with Sledgehammer Games missing out on a myriad of key FPS aspects along the way.
The game’s multiplayer is a completely different story and pushes the bar forward in terms of mechanics and content, and keeps that authentic Call of Duty action gamers have come to know and love.
Campaign: Devolving the FPS formula
In an attempt to reinvent the campaign FPS formula, Sledgehammer actually pulls out key pieces of the FPS dynamic. This makes for an awkward and ungraceful shooter, breaking down hallmarks of any truly memorable experience.
Advanced Warfare has the air of a brief blockbuster action flick with all of the explosions and he-man bravado of a Michael Bay film.
Much like an action film, the game considerably lacks substance. The plot is a thin veil for blind shoot-em-up madness wherein players are walking Terminators that annihilate all on-screen baddies.
As empowering as this sounds, the experience is actually jading and provides a rather serious case of disillusionment for players, who are led to believe they are nigh-invincible future soldiers.
Apart from the annoying factors, Advanced Warfare does have some innovative features.
The exosuit’s pneumatic jumps are quite handy in campaign and multiplayer, even if they are a bit clunky and awkward. You can juke and dash in all directions by pressing L3–a poor button map for this function if there ever was one–which is immensely useful after double jumps.
Multiplayer: Exhilarating FPS Combat
A good shooter empowers its players with the tools they need to shine. Advanced Warfare‘s multiplayer does this much more completely than the campaign–if anything the campaign feels like something tacked on, like an afterthought to the competitive online experience.
Players can customize their loadouts to a tee, allowing up to three different perks to be assigned along with two exo abilities and full scorestreak assignments. Essentially you can become the warrior you want to be, while unlocking a huge assortment of goodies as you progress.
With the new Pick 13 system (built off of the previous Pick 10) players have 13 points to spend across the board on weapon attachments, perks, exo abilities, killstreaks and more, making it sort of like an RPG system.
The best thing about the game’s multiplayer is that it expands upon the already mighty FPS formula. Everything is fast-paced and as it should be. The HUD is perfectly designed, and the minimap is as dynamic as ever.
If you die you can jump right back in the action with instant respawns–something that keeps everything fresh and invigorating for all players.
And the exo abilities make you feel something close to a FPS juggernaut.
Conclusion: An Unbalanced Package
At its core, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare feels like a lazy game that cashes in on its revamped multiplayer. The campaign could have been so much more, and it had so much potential, but ultimately failed to live up to its weight.
Sledgehammer had a chance to break the linear mold with something creative and distinct, and instead they’ve delivered a watered down product that’s just more of the same.
The graphics are quite pristine and the in-game cutscenes are amazing examples of high-fidelity gaming, but often these polished environments will get in your way while fighting as well as serve as labyrinths to get lost in.
Multiplayer is the only reason to pick this game up, and its a superlative example of what FPS matchmaking should be.
The multiplayer is expansive and is the strongest point of the overall experience, providing a huge assortment of loadouts, killstreak specials, exo upgrades and more–all designed to buff the mode’s already frenetic in-your-face action.
If you’re looking for an engaging story that takes you on a journey into the future, you’re better off passing on this one.
Read our full Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Review over at VR World.