Author Topic: Review: Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare Is Traditionally Solid  (Read 2550 times)

snowden

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Review: Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare Is Traditionally Solid
« on: November 19, 2014, 03:39:36 PM »
Review: Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare Is Traditionally Solid

With the disaster that was Ghosts and accusations that the franchise is stagnating, can Advanced Warfare give some new life to the Call of Duty franchise?

Quick Rating
Worth The Time?     Yes

Things Loved           The campaign is solid with many worthwhile moments, good level design and enough juxtaposition. Great character performances by the actors. Missions in the campaign that border on excellence. The Exo suits bring some much needed variation to the gunplay and introduce verticality and fast movement to the traditional gameplay of the franchise. Excellent visual presentation. Multiplayer is buttery smooth and is improved with the inclusion of the Exo suits. Mutiplayer cosmetic items you achieve through normal play are a nice little addition. Exo Survival is good fun with friends.

Things Hated           While the campaign is solid, it does suffer from the usual linearity as well as annoying button prompts that break immersion. The voice acting of the main female character is cringe-worthy. Campaign is too easy. With the exclusion of the Exo suits, there really isn't much innovation to be found and it still plays like just another Call of Duty game. No new multiplayer modes that take advantage of the Exo suits. Exo Survival isn't as deep as it should have been. Quickscopers.

Recommendation     Call of Duty fans have already bought it, but for other people, it is still worth picking up although at a reduced price.

Name: Call of Duty Advanced Warfare
Genre: Quickscopes
Players: 1
Multiplayer: Online
Platforms: Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, PC
Developer: Sledgehammer Games (Singleplayer), Raven (Multiplayer)
Publisher: Activision
Price: R499 (PC), R699 (Xbox 360, PS3), R799 (Xbox One, PS4)
Reviewed On: PS4

People like to give the Call of Duty franchise some flak because of its horrid fanbase, yearly releases and lack of any kind of innovation. The franchise has been marred in controversies and shady pricing models for years and it always seemed like we were just not getting anything new anymore. With that said, Advanced Warfare had a lot to prove in order for it to be taken seriously. The futuristic warfare theme has been done already in other games and even within the franchise itself, so Advanced Warfare had to really bring the thunder. This is, of course, for the people that long for innovation within the franchise. Most Call of Duty fans are just satisfied with some new multiplayer, but that also runs the risk of becoming stale. Let’s see if Advanced Warfare proved itself in this year’s iteration of the long running franchise.

First up, the campaign, the thing about 60% of Call of Duty players will never even touch. This time we are in the far future of 2050 and war is still happening all over the place. War technology has flourished and now soldiers are brandishing wearable super armour called Exo suits that make them immensely strong, able to jump huge distances and use jetpack-like capabilities. At the forefront of this innovation within warfare is the Atlas corporation, a private military corporation that invests a substantial amount of money into developing and implementing new technologies as well as training soldiers to fight in private wars or operations. Over the years, Atlas has garnered vast wealth and now has control of the largest standing military in the world. You already know how this is going to turn out since there is a PMC involved and they never just exist peacefully.

You play as Mitchell, a soldier for the US fighting with his best friend Will who is also the son of Jonathan Irons, the CEO of the Atlas corporation. Things go wrong on a mission, Will gets killed and you lose your arm. After that, Irons recruits you for Atlas and you accept his offer. Irons gives you a new robotic arm and you then get sent into the field to do missions for Atlas. That’s the premise of Advanced Warfare and it does sound rather cliché and overdone, and it is. Until some of the later missions when some twists get thrown in and suddenly the story becomes a little more unique. The story isn’t going to revolutionize anything within gaming narrative, but it’s a solid offering that provides some great moments.

You’ve probably already seen the “Press X to pay respects” thing floating on the internet and it is true that all of the button prompts that you are given throughout the game do cheapen the impact of some of the moments within the campaign. It would have been a bit acceptable if that was the only instance of this happening, but it continues on throughout the entire campaign with button prompts for nearly everything and your teammates screaming at you if you don’t do it within 2 seconds. It sadly cheapens the entire experience and breaks the immersion quite significantly.

The missions themselves play out quite well with each one offering a different gadget to use or some form of angle to keep them interesting. A good point to note is how the missions offer some good juxtaposition from high octane action moments to more slowed down missions to let you catch your breath. That is needed in a military shooter campaign since you don’t want to just mindlessly shoot people the whole time.

The performances of the voice actors are stellar with Kevin Spacey being excellent as Irons while Troy Baker does what he’s good at playing as Mitchell. However, the main female soldier, Ilona played by Angela Gots, does not deliver such a good performance with her lines read in a monotone voice that makes you cringe every time you hear it. She is supposed to be Russian, but her stilted accent and monotone voice does nothing to capture your attention. A much better job could have been done there. Another annoying aspect is how Mitchell is fully voiced in cutscenes, but not in gameplay making these awkward scenarios where people are directly talking to Mitchell and he does not respond at all. Their choice to go with a silent protagonist wasn’t a very good one and it just ended up making the experience lesser than it could have been.

While there is some variation within the missions, they all play out rather linearly with not a lot of deviation from the set path. There were a few missions where you could have chosen your own route and done what you wanted to, but they were rather short-lived and weren’t repeated in later missions. If more of those types of missions were available throughout the campaign, it would have been a far better experience than it is. There were glimmers of hope that could have signified some innovation within the franchise, but it was sadly never realised. The campaign is also rather easy, especially with all the high tech weaponry you have available to you. I played it on Veteran from the start and I died a total of roughly 30 times throughout the whole game.

The most important facet of potentially the whole game is the implementation of the Exo suits. These suits allow you to do things that weren’t possible in the previous games such as double jumping, wildly dashing throughout the place, climbing 90 degree walls, using grappling hooks and more. It offered some much needed variation in the combat since you can shoot a bunch of guys on the ground and then double jump to a building’s balcony for a more strategic position. The suits also come equipped with various abilities such as a deployable shield, Overdrive which is essentially bullet time, faster health regeneration, a sonic pulse that disorients enemies, invisibility and so on. There are two kinds of Exo suits namely Assault and Specialist with the Assault having all of the offensive capabilities and the double jumps and the Specialist having all of the support and tactical capabilities such as cloaking and Overdrive.

As I’ve said, these suits offer variation to the already traditional gunplay and make for a more fun and frantic experience. It introduces verticality to the whole experience and offers more options for how exactly you want to shoot a bunch of soldiers. Does it innovate? A little bit, but not to any mindblowing degrees. It gives a new spin to the traditional formula, but at the end of the day it is still just the same running and gunning we have come to expect. However, it is still a very welcome addition to the franchise and one I thoroughly enjoyed.

This leads me directly to the multiplayer. It’s like you would expect from a Call of Duty game with all of the traditional features coming back such as class creation, the progression system, all of the traditional modes and so on, but with the inclusion of Exo suits thrown into the mix. This made the multiplayer a lot more fun since you are constantly on the move and it all feels more fast-paced and exciting than usual. There are still the quickscopers and the filthy campers, but that’s hardly the game’s fault. The maps on offer do have high grounds and multiple levels so you are required to use your Exo suit to its full capabilities if you want to succeed. There are also map specific kill streaks that you can find in care packages such as the ability to activate an offensive personnel system in one map and a tsunami in another. It gives some good flavour to the matches.

The weapons on offer are fairly balanced and work like you would expect with each fulfilling their respective roles. You also have the option to use an Exo ability that is limited to what you can do in the campaign, but still offers some form of bonus. These are things like speed boost, extended healing, cloaking and so forth. This offers a new avenue to explore within the multiplayer arena. You also have the option to play so called “classic” playlists that take away the Exo suits if you prefer your quickscoping pure. Overall, the multiplayer is still fun and the netcode is good with matchmaking being quite fast and little to no lag on an average line speed. Call of Duty veterans will still enjoy it and with some fresh new features, it can be quite fun for others as well. However, there aren’t any new game modes available which was a bit disappointing especially with the potential of the Exo suits.

There is also a survival mode called Exo Survival which is much like Modern Warfare 3’s survival mode, but with the added Exo suit capabilities. You can purchase new weapons with upgrade points you get from completing a round as well as upgrading your Exo’s capabilities. It’s fun for a quick game with a friend when you’re feeling like shooting an unending horde of enemies. It’s not as deep as say the zombie modes in the Black Ops games and there is no story to follow or secrets to unlock, but it still offers some good entertainment if you have some friends.

I also need to take a moment to praise the game’s graphical fidelity on the new-generation systems with everything looking shiny and pretty as well as some moments that take your breath away with elaborate skyboxes and excellent lighting. It’s got all the eye candy you can hope for and is definitely worthy of calling itself a “next-generation” title. The CGI cutscenes in particular look gorgeous with you constantly questioning whether this was live-action or not.

Advanced Warfare is certainly not going to change the gaming landscape or provide the franchise with some much needed innovation, but it’s still a solid offering. The multiplayer is great and the campaign is satisfying barring some issues. If you need your Call of Duty fix for the year, you can’t go wrong with this one. For others that aren’t really into Call of Duty, you won’t find a lot different here, but I’d still recommend you pick it up since it is good value for money.

The Verdict
Advanced Warfare is an overall solid offering with a satisfying singleplayer campaign and fun multiplayer. There are some faults with the campaign such as the annoying button prompts and the restricting linear nature, but it still offers some good moments. The Exo suits offer some new avenues to explore within the gameplay and offer some variation in the multiplayer arena. The game is still good value for money and one that Call of Duty fans will no doubt enjoy.