'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' Sets Its Sights On World Domination

November 7, 2014

Every holiday season shooter fans have one gift that they can always count on receiving: a new Call of Duty game. Over the last eleven years Call of Duty has gone from World War II to futuristic battle fields, all the while pushing the genre forward to help establish itself as the premier shooter every year. While the franchise has bounced around between different developers (to varying degrees of success) there are some cornerstones of the game that rarely falter, and this year's entry reinforces the best elements that the series has to offer. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare uses big, Hollywood talent to tell a compelling story, while evolving gameplay on both the single and multiplayer fronts to reinforce its position at the top of the shooter ladder.

Developer: Sledgehammer Games/High Moon Studios/Raven Software
Publisher: Activision

Advanced Warfare is Sledgehammer Games first release as a lead developer. While that could mean any number of things for CoD fans, fear not, they aren't coming into Advanced Warfare totally green. They co-developed 2011's Modern Warfare 3 with Infinity Ward, so they know what it takes to make a solid shooter. Even though CoD already has a long and storied past, that's taken the series to space and back, Sledgehammer were able to bring some fresh eyes to Advanced Warfare which helped them create a game that should surprise even the most diehard fans.

Advanced Warfare takes place in the not so distant future, where global stability teeters on the brink every day. At the beginning of the single player campaign, you're introduced to Private Jack Mitchell who, during a battle with North Korea, loses his arm and best friend. Soon after, Mitchell is discharged from the Marines, and is offered a position Atlas Corporation, a private military that is run by his deceased friend's father, Jonathan Irons (portrayed by the remarkable Kevin Spacey). Irons outfits Mitchell with a new, high tech, prosthetic arm, and a new lease on life, helping out whichever country can foot the bill. Atlas has seemingly infinite resources, and the world's most advanced R&D unit. Mitchell and his squad mates are suited up with the latest technology that all ties into an exoskeleton that helps them maximize their effectiveness on the battlefield. From there, the story unfolds as terrorists and megalomaniacs try to unwind the fiber of society for their own personal gain. In short, it's still the same Call of Duty that you know and love, but Sledgehammer have upgraded it, giving it a fancy new suit (and a mess of new toys) to wear to the party.

Multiplayer in Advanced Warfare feels both familiar, and fresh at the same time. While the match types include everything that you would expect at this point, it's really the exoskeleton and the load out that separates Advanced Warfare from other releases in the series. The suit changes the battlefield by opening up new places to go, and different ways to get there … since you basically have a mini jetpack strapped to your back. Matches instantly become more vertical, forcing players to adapt, and create new ways to play. Outside of the competitive multiplayer, Advanced Warfare also features a new co-op mode, Exo-Surival, that puts teams to the test by pushing their exo suit skills. Success in both these modes will lead to more weapons and customizations, which opens the door to a nearly endless amount of personalized gameplay.

As per usual, Call of Duty is everywhere this year, landing on both last gen and current gen systems. So, if you have a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, or a PC then you can jump in and find out just how good of an actor Kevin Spacey is, even in video games.

Advanced Warfare isn't the first game in the Call of Duty series to give players a glimpse at war in the future, but it may be the one that does it the best. Bridging the gap between man and machine, Advanced Warfare opens up a lot of new gameplay concepts for the series, that should help make those hours and hours of multiplayer not feel stale. Outside of the gameplay itself, both the single and multiplayer modes feel like they have grown and matured. The story of Atlas Corporation is actually compelling, while not being convoluted, helping you move through what is typically the less enjoyable half of a Call of Duty game while being entertained. On the multiplayer front, a world of fresh options and customization help broaden that experience, keeping it familiar yet offering up a host of new things to do.

At this point in the Call of Duty franchise, it's getting challenging to keep cynical fans happy, but Advanced Warfare makes strides towards appealing to both diehards and jaded fans to bring them back to a superior shooter experience. After eleven years, and a host of developers, Advanced Warfare could have gone very wrong, but Sledgehamer took the reigns, and it feels like they have righted the ship a bit. While it's still a Call of Duty game, and it suffers from everything that comes along with that, Advanced Warfare is a worthy entry into the series, and it should please fans, both new and old.