Developed by:Sledgehammer Games Published by:Activision Genre(s):
  • FPS
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1-2 (2-16 Online) Release date:November 4, 2014 Reviewed on:XBox One

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

    It’s that time of year where production in the US drops drastically. Grown men take off of work and children try to get out of class to play Call of Duty on launch day. And who could blame them – Call of Duty is arguably the most anticipated game every year based on sales. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer Games’ first opportunity with the franchise since co-developing Modern Warfare 3, has already generated a high number of “sick days”. That said, can the newcomers at Sledgehammer compete with the CoD veterans Infinity Ward and Treyarch?

    The major issue gamers have with this franchise is the lack of major innovations. Outside of some new bells and whistles, year after year we get mostly the same shooter; some feature more changes/new modes than others. Advanced Warfare is posed to change all of that though with the inclusion of the Exo-suit, an exoskeleton that is worn by soldiers heading into battle. The suit allows for new movement options and abilities that really change the way you play. It also functions differently in each mode so to get the full experience you’ll want to play everything. We’ll speak more on the Exo-suits a little later, let’s get to the game. Advanced Warfare takes place in the year 2054. Players will take control of marine Private Jack Mitchell as he joins a battle against North Korea. Jack with his friend and squad mate Will Irons fight their way through enemy forces to complete their mission but not without suffering major losses. Jack loses his left arm – which results in him being discharged from the military – while Will loses his life. While attending the Funeral for Will, Jack is approached by Will’s Father Johnathon Irons, CEO of the most powerful private military contractor, Atlas Corporation. Johnathon offers Jack a second chance, a chance to be a solider again…

    Although I haven’t seen a plot quite like this, the twists and turns are predictable to a fault. That didn’t make the story bad (it was pretty immersive) as the campaign offered up tons of fun. Going back to the Exo-suits, this mode introduces gamers to these new mechanics. At the start of each level in the campaign you’ll see an overview of what your particular Exo-suit can do. One suit might have the overclock ability which slows time while another one in a different mission might have the stim ability, granting you a health boost for a limited time. Nearly all of them will house some sort of movement perk like the ability to boost jump and dash abilities. It also allows for slight customization; things like sprint duration, reload speed, even the amount of damage you can take before dying can be upgraded. Upgrades are made using points that are earned by completing specific campaign challenges. These upgrades allow you to build towards your play-style, even while using different suits per level.

    The levels themselves are action packed. Whether it’s an explosive shoot out or stealth missions that rival Modern Warfare’s classic “All Ghillied up” level, there is enough to keep you playing till the end. This is especially true considering the new Exo stuff. Although the campaign is great and one of the best the Call of Duty franchise has to offer I can’t say it’s flawless. There are a couple of issues that seem to haunt the franchise in general and some minor issues unique to Advanced Warfare. One common issue happens to be the finicky checkpoint system that makes it easy to get stuck in endless loops. On one mission you play the role of a support sniper off in the distance. Your goal is to provide cover fire and keep your team alive as they try to complete their mission. I managed to get a checkpoint just as a member on my squad died which resulted in the game restarting from that checkpoint and failing directly afterwards. The only option was to restart the mission from the beginning.

    Another issue I had (specifically with AW) was the difficulty spike that occurs late in the game. I generally play all my CODs on the hardest difficulty so I followed suit and decided to play this one on veteran as well. For roughly 80% of the campaign I felt like it was much easier than other entries in the series. Toward the end of the campaign though, I ran into red Exo-suit wearing enemies with about double the normal amount of health. Once these enemies started popping up the rate I was advancing through the campaign slowed drastically. This didn’t ruin the game of course; it was just a sharp contrast to the previous missions that could lead to frustration. The last thing of note (which wasn’t just present during the campaign) was the sound of the guns. I don’t know if Sledgehammer was going for a more futuristic sounding gunfire or what but what came across was this plastic, stapler feel as opposed to real guns and bullets.

    Outside of the guns, Advanced Warfare sounded great. The music did a great job of setting the atmosphere, which changed drastically depending on what was happening on screen. The voice acting was top notch as well; this shouldn’t be a surprise with actors like Kevin Spacey on board. The game also didn’t disappoint when it came to the graphics, resulting in arguably the best visuals seen in a current gen game. For most of you though, none of this will really matter as majority of your time will be spent in multiplayer. The good news is that this is still Call of Duty, and at the same time something new!

    Let’s start with what made Call of Duty the powerhouse it is…you know, besides the blockbuster campaigns and kill streaks. Before actually making it into a match you’ll notice some new things. The popular pick 10 system from Black Ops 2 has been upgraded to pick 13. Weapons, attachments, perks, Exo abilities, scorestreaks – all of these things use points like before.  What’s cool about this, beyond having more points, is the fact that you can save score streaks to a particular loadout. For instance, if you’re using a risky loadout with high scorestreaks and things aren’t going your way you can switch to another one with easier to obtain streaks. It basically offers up more play styles that can be switched at a moment’s notice.

    Sledgehammer was really big on customization. Your solider has a plethora of options ranging from helmets, gloves and boots to cosmetic changes to their Exo-suits. New items can be unlocked via completing challenges in the multiplayer, campaign, or through my favorite addition, supply drops. Supply drops work similarly to chest you would see in Counter Strike: GO (sans the need to purchase keys) and come through time played and challenges. They drop can have 1-3 items of different types and rarity, most of which are cosmetic. Some provide other bonuses such as variants to existing weapons. For example let’s take the starting assault rifle the Bal-27. When you open a supply drop there is a chance you can get the Bal-27-.308 variant that increases range but loses accuracy and handling.

    Like always, there is a vast amount of game modes in the competitive multiplayer portion of the game. In your basic playlist you have returning favorites (Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed, etc.) but, the game modes that really caught my attention were Momentum and Uplink. Momentum is an updated version of the game mode War way back in Call of Duty: World at War. Here the goal is to capture all of the other team’s flags; you start by capturing a neutral flag usually toward the center of the map and then push over to a new flag deeper into enemy territory. It can get a little crazy trying to stay on the flag and almost always leads to a lot of action. Uplink is a brand new mode to the series. The objective here is to grab a ball in the middle of the map and throw it (or jump with it) though the enemy’s goal. It’s almost like a modified version of basketball…but with guns.

    Regardless of which MP mode you play, the experience will be different due to the Exo-suits. Verticality is a huge factor with players jumping over walls and on buildings. The single use Exo abilities also changes things up; quickly pulling up a shield or cloaking can change the tide of a firefight in seconds. The end result is a faster paced CoD that feels fresh. There are some issues with MP though, one being gun balance. Currently the assault rifles seem to be superior to all other weapon types. Then there’s the inconsistent connection problem, making things difficult for everyone. More often than not I felt cheated when I died; not that I’m super good or anything, but when you’re solider runs around a corner only to be “pulled” back into the open (read: I never made it to the corner), it can be frustrating.

    Even though it has its problems, Advanced Warfare is a great game. The campaign is one of the best I’ve played in terms of story and pure fun, the multiplayer is great as long as the connection holds up, and the Exo-suits significantly changes things for the better. Throw in Exo-Survival, a co-op mode that is the ultimate time killer, and you have one of the best CoD’s on your hands. Sledgehammer showed that even though they’re the new developer on the block (in terms of CoD) that they can hang with the vets!

    Last Gen Difference: We got to play through the last gen version of Advanced Warfare and have come to much of the same conclusion. Interesting enough, the connection seems to be better on the Xbox 360 than the Xbox One. That said, the sounds of gunfire and explosions are worse – they sound hollow in comparison. We recommend the last gen versions (if you don’t have current gen systems) because outside of visuals, it more or less the same game. It gets a nice 8/10 which is still worth your time!



    There are some bugs that have to be ironed out, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the better experiences you will have with a Call of Duty title.



    This game is one of the best looking games to be released in this generation so far.



    While the voice acting provided by Troy Baker, Kevin Spacey and the rest, the guns sound fake. Think rapid firing staplers and you’ll understand where I’m coming from. The music was great though!

    Replay Value:


    When your long done with the campaign you’ll still come back to either do your 15th prestige or Exo-Survival. It that’s not enough, I’m sure the four DLC packs will keep the game in rotation.

    Final Score:


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