With an Xbox gamer tag known as “Jason of Duty” – it might come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of the Call of Duty franchise right from its very early World War II days; despite being disappointed with the past two games, (Ghosts, Infinity ward – Black Ops II, Treyarch) I am pinning all my hopes on Sledgehammer Games delivering a fresh new take with their own original title this year. Based upon everything I witnessed during Gamescom 2014 in Cologne, I am excited to say that I am very impressed with Advanced Warfare! If you didn’t know already it is the first Call of Duty to use a totally brand new (as in brand new, not IW’s updated crap) engine since Call of Duty 2 and looks every bit a true next-gen title as you should expect!
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare had an extended campaign premiere during the Xbox Gamescom ’14 briefing which showcased vivid scenes of the Golden Gate Bridge being blown apart with intense thrills that appeared to replicate the over-the-top action packed drama experienced from past Modern Warfare games in the franchise. Although this is Advanced Warfare – it appears that everything learnt from Sledgehammer’s co-development in Modern Warfare 3 on last-gen consoles could have made the transition into their own game as I sat there during the conference in awe. With my jaw dropped I knew upon first impressions that this was a Call of Duty that could make gaming history and I was hooked into every minute of the chases and fire-fighting gameplay on screen as the bridge was rapidly being destroyed. The game looks set to make you feel the drama of the character with a journey of hope, comradeship and defeating all the odds for what is your ultimate test of survival.
Although a hands-on single player chapter was not playable at Gamescom 2014, we was able to get some decent gaming time with the Advanced Warfare Multiplayer on Xbox One consoles as we played a competitive Team Deathmatch mode swiftly followed by a Capture-the-Flag inspired game of Uplink on a map named Defender. Before I talk about Uplink itself, Team Deathmatch is exactly what you would expect – two teams fighting out for the highest score on a map, so no change there. Uplink, on the other hand has been built with competitive teamwork in mind, because it is about collecting a single Drone and escorting it to the Uplink. It seems to be a combination of Capture the Flag and Demolition from previous Call of Duty titles as one team member must collect the drone from the half-way point in the map as the rest of your team defend you on your way to the Uplink to drop it off. The player with the Drone is identified on the map with either Kill or Defend marked upon them (depending what team you’re on) and the Uplink is at either far end of the map. It’s quite a fun and fast gameplay mode, but with the new Exoskeleton suit, playing multiplayer has now completely changed within Call of Duty and for the better! You can literally be killed by anyone in any direction – it’s the biggest and most needed change in the history of Call of Duty.
With the Exoskeleton suit new strategies have to be thought through since enemies can climb buildings, jump higher, acquire tactical playing abilities such as shields, and it all seems to distance the age-old tradition of sitting in corners with Sniper Rifles – finally “Camping” might have been wiped out in Advanced Warfare! This new feature for Call of Duty has been seen in other games before; (before everyone starts chanting Titanfall clone) keep in mind that development for Advanced Warfare and Titanfall was around the same time period – and both have copied elements from Bungie’s developed Halo games! It is hard not to think of Halo: Reach when anything jetpack styled and futuristic soldier suits are concerned, but the underlying core of the gameplay is still a familiar Call of Duty territory albeit a new futuristic step in time.
The map, Defender whilst playing Uplink was of a medium size and is best described as an abandoned bunker featuring open gameplay for close-quarters fighting. The Golden Gate Bridge is clearly seen in the distance and the whole atmosphere of the map is giving the impression of a washed out bunker destroyed completely by water as you battle within the remains of it both internally and externally as you choose. The map played for Team Deathmatch was BioLab and is part of a snowy futuristic enemy base of a medium size. It features verticality for fast paced close quarters fighting with areas that only your Exoskeleton suit could take you with a range of internal and external buildings for scouting out enemies and surprising them around lots of corners. This is a very typical Call of Duty map that requires you to go all out guns blazing and played out just great for Team Deathmatch. Graphically both maps looked very detailed and gameplay was extremely responsive and fluid.
In terms of customisation, this too has undergone somewhat of a radical change, but once more for the better only because Sledgehammer Games appeared to have thought about the gamer and not over-complicated the whole selection processes as both IW and Treyarch are known for in their most recent titles. This year we do not have endless screens and button presses to confirm add-ons, but the return the Pick 10 system from Black Ops II is now a Pick 13 instead allowing the selection of a combination of up to 13 items from weapons, their attachments, perks and wildcard rules to suit your preferred gaming style. Whatever the fuck Infinity Ward did with it in Call of Duty: Ghosts thankfully is not present, Pick 10 worked well for everyone and it’s such a great feeling of relief to see it returned in a more enhanced way forward. You can additionally customise your player’s suit from the gloves, helmet, and full body sets as well as completely spruce up your weapons. It really is all about you now in multiplayer as you get to style yourself, your arsenal of weapons and take reign on the battlefield as you see fit.
With just a taster of what to expect when the full Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare game launches on November 4th 2014, it has given new light at the end of the tunnel to reassure us that the Call of Duty we know and love is about to be resurrected again. Both Black Ops II and Ghosts never really lived up to expectations and whilst one had an over-complicated campaign that never lived up to its predecessor and the other a dire experience with a dog – I’m confident that Advanced Warfare will bring it back home this year for the Call of Duty fans who are yearning for the action, drama and intense on-the-edge-of-your-seat sequences of events that make you feel like you accomplished something major upon level completion.
We should have a full review up nearer to release, but for now enjoy the latest Multiplayer trailer below: