CALL OF DUTY – ADVANCED WARFARE [Review]: Remember the Titans.
War So Advanced, You’d Swear You’ve Been Here Before
The most recent iteration of the Call of Duty franchise, Advanced Warfare, has been generating quite a bit of buzz since it was announced– some good, some bad. The same phrases over and over again from both fans and detractors alike; the same tired complaints of over saturation, of little-to-no innovation, or to straight up re-skinning.
Activision has sworn that this title would be different and would set the bar very high for next-gen AAA shooters to come. Did they deliver? The answer is both a resounding “HELL YEAH!”, and a “What? This again?!”
Allow me to elaborate.
The story is 100% a Call of Duty story, as twists, turns, and huge set piece moments lead to standard water cooler conversations with your buddies. But I dare say — and I prepare myself to be flamed for this — the story is actually pretty damn good. The developer has gone to great lengths to add more emphasis on campaign with this run, particularly with none other than Kevin Spacey himself lending his voice and mo cap for the title’s main character. Whether he’s an antagonist or not i’ll leave up to the player, as he’s very much a shade of grey.
Spacey’s character, a grieving father who just so happens to be the President/CEO of the world’s largest Private Military, provides some much needed gravitas to a franchise who has often been accused of throwing away the campaign in favor of fleshing out it’s Multiplayer modes. Aside from Spacey, the player will find all the usual COD archetypes, the almost flawless playable character, his bulletproof brick shithouse badass British compatriot, and the seemingly one dimensional super villain who will usually end up being the public face of the real threat.
It’s all there– just slightly better and more visceral this time around.
Where the game is actually most like its predecessors, is in the multiplayer. Not much to see here folks! Get a gun, run, shoot, and try not to die through all the same game modes we’ve seen before. A few tweaks here and there, and the addition of EXOskeleton skills (think Halo: Reach, invisibility, super jump, among others). These new additions don’t really add too much to multiplayer, aside from the verticality of the maps.
One will find enemy combatants in places…you’re not really used to finding in a Call of Duty game. The maps are well designed, and can provide players with great joy as well as controller hurling moments after they’ve been repeatedly schwacked by the opposing team who is hiding in the very realistically lit alcoves and corners. I have nothing bad to say about multiplayer, however, as I’ve been playing COD since the first Modern Warfare and it includes all the things I love about the franchise, and ditches the things this Dangerous Disciple didn’t care for.
The medal system featured in the Black Ops franchise is also back, and there’s a definite feeling of progression that enables the player to feel like they’re still making some headway– even if they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel every time the game ends.
Visually this game is the real MVP. I found my jaw on the floor several times during the campaign and had no idea that the cut scene had ended and the gameplay began. Character animations are flawless, the facial animations make you actually feel like you’re right freaking there. I was so sucked in at times, I died because I missed a Quick Time Event (otherwise known as QTE, to which there are several and aren’t blatant; they are far more obscure, thankfully, as a typical giant red square on the screen’s center would normally have taken you out of the action). Immediately, in the first few moments of the game, I exclaimed out loud that Jesus Howard Christ Next Gen has arrived.
Much to the chagrin of out own moody monsignor, this isn’t “TitanLess”. It’s actually a damn good game that renewed my faith a bit in the Call of Duty franchise. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly worth it if you’ve enjoyed Call of Duty before, particularly Black Ops. Saying that, there isn’t really anything about this game that will make someone who has lost all faith come back to the flock. It’s a solid, well worth your time title that isn’t one and done in six hours (although maybe 10; but damn, WHAT a 25% the last act of the game is). If I had to place it among the top of the Call of Duty‘s all around, it’s tied for third with Modern Warfare behind Black Ops and Black Ops II. It’s absolutely more of the same: Just better, smarter, faster, stronger, and more exhilarating than ever before.