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March 27, 2015 / Jett

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Review

After mining World War II for everything it had to offer, Call of Duty got a huge boost by moving into the modern era. Years later, in a time where present-day warfare feels like old hat, the franchise moves again to the only logical next step: the future. Sure, for those keeping score, Black Ops II was a half-step in this direction, though Advanced Warfare leaves all semblance of the present behind with futuristic guns, gear, and movement options that represent the most dramatic change to the core formula. Can Activision score another touchdown off of the same era-switching play?

Set in the year 2054, soldiers are now equipped with Exo suits that give soldiers additional abilities. For the first time in the franchise’s history, characters can double jump and air dash. Jumping rarely came into play before, but it’s now a pivotal part of the campaign and multiplayer. I really like how it makes traversal more fun and efficient while shaking up the way that the series is played. Combined with the air dash, it can help you at times bolt out of an otherwise life-ending situation.

The trade-off , particularly in multiplayer, is that the double jump is really hard to abuse as a defensive or offensive tactic. Shooting people while airborne is not easy, while getting shot out of the sky isn’t that hard if someone that is actively tracking you. It’s a great tool to have, though certainly not one that is going to break the balance of the game. Some of the other Exo abilities include shields, cloaking and more, all of which appear in both primary game modes. Based on the way I spec my character out in multiplayer, I don’t really use them, but they’re required in the campaign.

Speaking of, the Call of Duty single player experience has always been a big draw for me. The stories are always dumb, but the action sequences can be some of the best in the business. Advanced Warfare, even with Kevin Spacey, isn’t going to win any awards for its plot or dialogue, though it has one of the best campaigns for a Call of Duty game in quite some time. Making full use of the futuristic toys they’ve created, a lot of the action felt fresh. It’s not perfect, as some firefights reach an odd stalemate for too long, and the quick time events are hard to read and react to, but overall, it’s really good.

Last year’s Ghosts was a real disappointment for me in terms of multiplayer. I felt that the level design and spawning system were huge disappointments, as most firefights ended with being shot in the back or getting shot immediately after spawning. Not only has Advanced Warfare cleaned that up, but it also has some great levels that make full use of your Exo abilities. I’ve never been good at CoD multiplayer, but this year’s multiplayer suite felt really fresh and well done. I checked out of Ghosts multiplayer almost immediately, but Advanced Warfare has managed to hold my interest much longer.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare isn’t as revolutionary of a step as Modern Warfare was for its time, though it certainly delivers a much-needed kick in the pants to a stumbling franchise. I really enjoyed my time with this one and think it’s the best in the series since Black Ops II. I’m normally not someone to get excited for the next Call of Duty game, though I will be for the next Advanced Warfare.

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