At the heart of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is a really fun game, probably the best CoD in the series since CoD4. However the game suffers from the CoD syndrome in which a predictable story and lack of engrossing singleplayer affects how good the game can really be. Also I’m kidding about pressing F, there are no QTE’s here.
Much like most other recent Call of Duty’s, Advanced Warfare is a military shooter where the player gets access to many different weapons and gadgets to use all throughout the campaign only to never be used again. One of my biggest complaints in regards to that style of gameplay in the single player is the gadgets are just gimmicky and removes any feeling of choice of gameplay style in the campaign. The big improvement in this game is the player’s exo suit that allows for many different abilities including boosting your damage, having a shield that pops out and being able to use boosters to give you essentially a double jump. I feel like this adds the most to the game in that it makes the gameplay in both single player and multiplayer a lot faster and a whole lot more fun. You can get to ledges you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise and also dodge midair if you need to. This brought an aspect to the multiplayer that was missing in subsequent Call of Duty’s, a speed much like that of the original Quake’s. The multiplayer is a lot more fun that it has been in the past and with the added difficulty of getting kill streak rewards, it now relies a lot more on skill than it used to. The game still suffers in MP with campers in corners like other CoD games but with the advent of the quick boosters it is a lot easier to avoid those players. It also seems like a lot of people haven’t gotten the hang of the boosters yet, even some of the higher level players. While playing myself I noticed a lot of players that just weren’t using the boosters and couldn’t get the hang of it while a select few in the server were absolutely dominating while using them. It seems that it added a bigger learning curve than a lot of former CoD players are willing to learn. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing however.
The campaign of CoD:AW starts out following a couple of marines including your character (Private Mitchell voiced by Troy Baker again) that are getting ready to disembark some ship in order to fight back the advancement of North Korea into Seoul. All during this mission you get the basic tutorial of how to use the exo suit along with learning about the current events of the world. When you finally get to your objective, some artillery bot, your best buddy gets killed and you lose your arm. During his funeral you end up meeting Kevin Spacey’s character, Jonathan Irons, who happened to be your best bud’s father and is also the CEO of ATLUS, a private military contractor. Irons offers Mitchell a second chance including giving him a prosthetic arm and a place in a Special Forces squad. Now this might be spoilers however it should be obvious seeing how Kevin Spacey usually always plays as a bad guy, but eventually Mitchell discovers a plan by Irons to take over the world. Mitchell’s first missions included going after a Terrorist organization called the KVA in which a man by the name of Hades plans to remove the technology of the world. During this pursuit, the KVA successfully destroy a lot of nuclear power plants that displace a large number of population in NATO countries and their allies.
This allows for ATLUS to provide security to the world while they hunt down the KVA. After Mitchell kills Hades he discovers that Irons has a plan to take over and control the world with a biological weapon in his hands. There was a humorous point in which Irons goes in front of the UN to tell them that he has this weapon and will use it unless they obey his control. I will say that Sledgehammer did bring back that which I personally loved in CoD4 and that was stealth “sniper” missions. Those were a nice change of pace to the high action of the campaign and brought a lot more story and character development to the game than a fast pace action “Ramirez do this, Ramirez do that” type of game play with endless soldiers spawning. However the campaign still has those kind of missions and in some instances the pacing is all over the place. You skip around from location to location with no real in between explanation other than an unskippable cut scene. At one point you are fighting North Korea, another you are doing a simulation and walking around a base, then followed up with a few action missions, stealth and action again. The game is short too, only 6 hours, so it never really takes the time to create an engrossing story but instead just gives lots of explosions instead. On top of that at a lot of instances it is nothing but Quick Time Events which doesn’t add much to gameplay other than the game saying “hey you haven’t done anything for a bit, click this button.”
Now the graphics in this game are impressive and are the best in the series but it comes with a technical bug/limitation. As I wrote a week ago or so, the graphics textures are tied to the amount of VRAM a video card has. If you run out of VRAM based on settings being on or off then the game automatically decreases the texture resolution regardless of how much better the memory core clock might be. The 2nd screenshot above was the texture resolution set to low thanks to me not realizing this earlier in the game. The main card in my current computer is a 780ti and despite it having only 3gigs of VRAM it can use that VRAM much faster and more efficiently than say a 670 that has 4gigs of VRAM. But despite all that the game still set the texture resolution to low unless I set my supersampling to 2x instead of the 8x it was original set to. You can see the comparison shots between a 670 with 4gigs of VRAM and 780ti with 3gigs here: http://fg-2.com/?p=2003. Despite this I can say that this is one of the better looking games out there and it feels like they improved on what they had previously unlike what they claimed Ghosts could do. The game also runs well and when I had supersampling down to 2x, with ultra textures and everything up on max, I was able to easily get 80-90 fps.
Now the sound is quite good especially from the two main voice actors Troy Baker and Kevin Spacey. Troy has done his usual great job with his character but Kevin Spacey was so well done that I must give him a lot of credit for bringing his mannerisms and likeness of his past characters to this game. All I could think about all during the game is how much he played very much like his character in Usual Suspects. Calm and collected while all the time creating a façade to his real persona. The sound effects and music aren’t bad however they weren’t anything spectacular either.
Overall this game is a great addition to the Call of Duty franchise and is the most fun I’ve had with a CoD since CoD4. The campaign may be pretty mediocre and predictable but the gameplay itself and how much fun multiplayer is more than makes up for that shortcoming. Despite a few bugs and a lack of dedicated servers this is in my opinion a must play for those that like high action multiplayer