Anyone who has seen my posts knows how I feel about some of the additions to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. However, I feel that people may think that I completely hate the game which could not be further from the truth. Truth is, I really like a lot of things about this game. Let me go in depth and talk about the specifics that I like/dislike before I give it an official rating. There are a few minor spoilers in this, you have been warned.
The amazing visuals are the first thing you notice about this game that REALLY leap out at you. I think overall, these are probably the greatest graphics I've ever seen. Especially the things that require detail like faces, equipment, guns and some things in the environment. Some out-of-map trees and buildings are kind of mediocre but I'm not going to knock on the overall graphics for that. I can't sing enough praise for the visuals in this game, fantastic job.
This is a difficult category to judge because no one knows what weapons are going to sound like in 40 years. The best way to judge this I guess would be analyzing explosions. I think overall Advanced Warfare sounds okay but nothing special. For some reason, Call of Duty just has never seemed to care about audio, at least not as much as Battlefield (who easily has the best sounding game out there). By franchise standards, they're decent. By every other FPS's standards, they still need work.
I know a lot of people cast the single player of many first person shooters to the side and only focus on the multiplayer. I however, still value a well-written story as much as anyone so I feel that it's important to include it in the review. After all, Call of Duty's multiplayer experience has always been based heavily on the single player storyline so I view it as a huge point in these games.
Let me first say, when I first heard about the whole "Superpower for hire" theme they were going for with the PMC story, I thought it was genius. I was completely on board and couldn't wait to see where they took it. I still think there are so many roads they could take with a PMC-related story and make a truly great campaign out of it. On top of that, it seemed that since this was the first game coming from the three year development cycle announced by Activision for future Call of Duty games, I felt with all that extra time they'd be able to construct a better story. To my surprise... none of that happened.
Apart from Kevin Spacey being in the game, it's hard to find any redeeming qualities in the campaign. Hell, you know it's bad when even Kevin friggin' Spacey's character is as bland as the teacher calling "Bueller..." in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Every character in the game is extremely boring and personalities are non-existent. Jack Mitchell is the main protagonist voiced and motion captured by Troy Baker, who is basically the Christian Bale of video game performances. Like Kevin Spacey, the writing gave him NOTHING to work with. The only "unique" thing about him is that he lost his arm in an explosion at the beginning of the game in a mission called 'Induction'. I guess since that happened to him we're supposed to like him?
Speaking of that mission, it's a perfect example of the rest of the campaign. It feels tacked on, a lot of it doesn't make sense (just listen to the first conversation between Will Irons and Jack Mitchell, it sounds nothing like a conversation between two supposed "best friends"), and overall you just don't care what happens to anyone, least of all your fellow comrades.
Some of the significant characters apart from Jack Mitchell include Jonathan Irons, the leader of a private military called "Atlas" which is apparently the strongest military in the world. From the beginning, you can tell he's the bad guy and that he's basically going to be a second rate Hitler. He's also Will Irons' father. Nothing too original. Others include Will Irons, apparently Mitchell's best friend (even though it doesn't sound like it from their first piece of dialogue) who we're supposed to care about because he says, "See you on the other side" twice in the same mission. Ilona, a female Russian PMC who we're supposed to care about I guess because she's a female? Gideon, a British PMC who we're supposed to care about because he's British. And Cormack, a black PMC who we're supposed to care about because he's... nevermind. The point is, the only difference between ANY of these characters is their nationality. Their personalities are all identical. There is no character development, the writing is mediocre at best, and even great talents like Troy Baker and Kevin Spacey can't hide it.
I think I've made my point with the characters, it's safe to say they're extremely boring and there's no reason for us to like them. I'm going to move on to the actual story which is also, extremely underwhelming and underdeveloped. I don't want to ruin it for those who haven't played but trust me, you're not missing much at all. As a whole, there are just so many moments when it feels like the developers said, "Just add any old thing in there and call it good" like Jonathan Irons declaring war on the entire world... something I'm still shaking my head over. On top of that, there are numerous throw away missions like 'Induction' (given to us purely just to make us like Will Irons) and another where the Golden Gate Bridge blows up basically just so that you can see the Golden Gate Bridge blow up. There's also a section of the game where Ilona goes missing for no reason only to have her pop up later with no explanation. Not like anyone cares about her anyway I'm just saying it's stuff like this that made the story feel so underwhelming and random.
I'm going to keep this short as possible. The Survival Mode in Advanced Warfare is nothing more than a copy and paste of Modern Warfare 3's survival mode. It's nothing terrible, but also nothing to brag about, it's just kinda there. Zombie maps will be released as DLC which I have two problems with...
- It's not even Sledgehammer's idea. Treyarch brought us this mode and so many people love it so I'm not going to give this game any credit for basically just adding it to their game.
- We have to PAY for it. We have always been given at least one Zombies map for free so it just feels like a cash grab that we have to pay for it now. This better not be a trend followed by Treyarch (I highly doubt it will be).
Overall, both the Survival and Zombies modes were copied and pasted from other games so in the grand scheme of things, that doesn't say a lot of good things about the game. At least Infinity Ward tried with Extinction in Ghosts.
Finally! "The reason we all buy Call of Duty games". This is the only aspect of this game that shines. First I'm going to start with the main selling point of the game... the exosuit. When I first saw the exosuit in the reveal trailer, I rolled my eyes. I immediately shot down the idea but eventually I talked myself into giving it a chance. I thought, "maybe they're going to do some really cool things with it". But, just like so many other aspects of the game, I was disappointed with the end result. Here's why...
The boost jump and and juke move that the exosuit enables are by far the most utilized feature of the exosuit. These also happen to be the most childish and gimmicky features of the exosuit. For anyone who doesn't know, exosuits are real... but right now they're mainly only being used for lifting heavy objects... and that's about it. Obviously by the year 2054, exosuits will have come a very long way, but they will NEVER, in NO CIRCUMSTANCE be used to jump 20 yards into the air or to juke enemy fire. Sorry, not happening.
The really sad thing about the exosuit in this game is that the only things that are believable, realistic and cool about it are the things that are extremely limited and discouraged. All of the Exo Abilities in the game are either ineffective, have too short of a life span or in some cases... BOTH. Take the Exo Cloak for example, it's a very believable concept considering they're already working on something similar in real life and I think it's pretty cool. But in the game, it's not very helpful unless you're standing completely still next to a background that perfectly blends you in. To make it worse, you only get it for 12 seconds TOPS with the perk that lets you extend the life of an Exo Ability. I just find it sad that something so cool and believable like the Exo Cloak is so limited whereas gimmicky things like the boost jump and bullet juking proves to be way more effective.
All in all, the things that make the exosuit childish and gimmicky are the only things anybody uses and the things that would make the exosuit believable and cool are hardly used at all.
Apart from that, the multiplayer experience is pretty fun. They really took character customization (a feature I LOVE) to a whole new level. Allowing you to customize everything from your helmet to your shoes. There is so much cutomization in this game and I love it. It adds so much more life to the game and it's that kind of stuff that keeps you interested until the next game comes out.
The weapons are beautiful, they look incredible and like I said, it's hard to judge sound in this setting but I think they're okay. Every weapon has it's own characteristics, I can't think of any two guns that are identical off the top of my head. The weapons seem balanced, I think they did an excellent job with the weapons. The loot system was a big addition that I hope stays. There's something so cool about getting a rare item and being able to show it off online. There are some things about the Supply Drops that I don't like (temporary items seem pointless to me) but overall I like seeing all of these shooters have a loot system. Counter Strike has unboxings, Battlefield has Battlepacks, now Call of Duty has Supply Drops. I like the addition and I hope it stays, it could use some improvements though.
As far as maps go, I think they're okay by franchise standards. Instinct, Riot and Defender are the most enjoyable for me to play, the rest are kind of "meh". I'm kind of sick of the dynamic maps though. The way Call of Duty does them is just too gimmicky for my taste so that's a feature I wouldn't mind seeing go.
In the end, multiplayer is a blast but it does have it's fair share of flaws.
Once again, multiplayer holds the game up. Between all of the additions, good and bad, the multiplayer experience is a lot of fun. The campaign was disappointing in a lot of aspects and had almost no redeeming values. The Survival and Zombies mode (which we have to pay extra for by the way) was essentially copied and pasted from other games so that's also disappointing. In the end, I have to give this game a rating based on all three categories.
Without further ado... I give Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare...
Keep in mind that all six of those points are there purely because of the multiplayer experience. If I were to judge the game purely on multiplayer, I'd bump it up to at least 7/10 but when I review a game, I've got to take everything into account. Thank you to everyone who reads this, sorry for rambling on so much and I hope you enjoyed this review!