This review pertains to PS4 version, the Xbox One version can be found over here
Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is brought to us from Sledgehammer games for their first entry in the three year cycle of the Call of Duty franchise. With the newest entry Sledgehammer games have gone out of their way to deliver an interesting first run for their time with the franchise and has honestly left me to beg the question where should you start with the game. Taking us away from the traditional spiral of boring campaigns and empty promises Sledgehammer games steps out for their time in the sun with great pride and an amazing accomplishment.
Usually Call of Duty games draw a fine line between the two key components they offer, often this comes down as an average single player campaign to play then often the usually great fun multiplayer. It is rare that the single player campaign presented in this franchise does anything more then be a small distraction you play simply because it is part of the game. I am proud to say though that the single player campaign is honestly well worth your time.
Advanced Warfare paints a different vision of the future then what we have seen in the past entries, instead of our world at war or world falling apart where you get thrown into a world of major technological advancements. All war segments involve around this new idea mostly presented through the exo suits that soldiers wear in combat. These new suits enable better skills then the standard soldier and make us make them more physically capable. It in turn made for a nice change with each mission giving you a different set of abilities to suit the area given.
Though it wasn’t just the new exo suits that made everything better it was also that each level was actually interesting with plenty going one that was really fun. Sure I had to face the common issue of follow the big guy with a follow mark over his head which annoys many of us but outside of this the campaign delivers a series of interesting story risks which in each level continue to be vastly impressive.
One of the most interesting moments for me personally came from a more stealth based level where I had to avoid enemy sight and stay hidden, it was fun and satisfying quickly darting between bushes or grappling to the nearest rooftop at the first opportunity. Even better was that in the instances when I did make a mistake I always knew why, this section was never unfair. Just like this each level continues to be original and rarely doubles up again in ideas with a level I had already been through, one off sections like where I had to drive a hover bike at fast speeds through Detroit were satisfying and gladly one offs. Along with this there was also a fun section where I had to run along the top of buses trying to catch an enemy which was also enjoyable, easy enough to say that is just a small selection of great sequences and they just continued to get better the further the story progressed.
Part of what makes the game seem more appealing in its campaign is also the brilliant performances handled by its cast, more particularly this is thanks to the performances presented by Troy Baker (Joel from The Last of Us) and Kevin Spacey. Baker does a great job at playing the main character Mitchell who is a gruff, yet reserved character after suffering a personal loss, though he is a very dangerous and loyal soldier. Likewise Kevin Spacey perfectly nails the role of Jonathan Irons the President of the Atlus corporation, on a personal level I did want the character dead but this wasn’t because he was bad (though he was) it was more for justice purposes considering his own decisions but in most instances he was strangely likable. This in turn is mostly likely because of how even in the worst moments he still sounds so confident in his speech. Likewise a good portion of the rest of the cast deliver great performances all the way through making the story all the more enjoyable.
The only part that let the campaign down was a recurring issue in the franchise, the very ending. Like always it left me underwhelmed and a bit unfulfilled after my six hour run through the story. Just like in Ghosts the ending just wasn’t good and left the game on a very cheesy note and unsatisfied by my antagonist’s end. It is a rare thing when I would be so willing to return to the single player campaign but Advanced Warfare honestly satisfied me with its campaign even with the slight annoyances.
Still even with the great campaign the real meat for the game still remains its multiplayer, which might I say is better then ever. Brought to the table with this years entry in the Call of Duty franchise is a well refined multiplayer experienced armed to the teeth with new ideas and excellent maps. From the range of maps provided with the standard release it was hard to find a map I didn’t like or could even fault, I was pleased to find our maps weren’t just things I had seen countless times before, instead I saw plenty of originality which mostly is all due to one of the games main new mechanics.
Sledgehammer games has piled on a boost jump ability in the game which allows us to get to new heights and play on maps in an entirely new way. No longer are we stuck on a single plain only heightened by ladders or certain obstacles, this new jump allows us to use rooftops and other raised things in the environment as a key part of our battle strategy.
Even better to top things off is the great variety of maps made available with no two ever feeling alike. A personal favourite of mine is a broken prison where I got to run around the prison and its grounds, I found it be quite interesting and it made great use of the boost mechanic. Likewise in the case of interesting maps, another made use of an Aztec type location with a series of mining operations going on. On top of this there was a really good place that I liked more because it goes against the standard nature of its environment, in this case it was a place of peace and tranquillity which I liked more because of the choice and how different it really is. Also interesting was a spa place that was a really nice place to fight, beyond this is a series of other really good maps that are different and each in their own way make great use of the multiplayer’s newest mechanic.
Main stays like Team Deathmatch and Free for all return but in this entry we also have two new modes to play, and personally I think one is absolutely brilliant and the other just doesn’t stand as that much fun. The new Momentum mode can only be described as a chaotic version of Hardpoint crossed with capture the flag, though I will not say it is that simple. Momentum is a team game about trying to claim bases and stop the other team taking them, in order to capture them you have to kill enemies and keep them away while you capture the base, quite simply this is one of the most fun modes I have played and it is has so much going on.
Uplink on the other hand is a very slow game that works as a combination of basketball and in a sense capture the flag. Your basic objective is collect the ball from its holding place and throw it into a base, by placing the ball in this base you score points for your team, then from here your job is to also ensure that the opponent does not score points. Sadly though this mode just was not that entertaining and was far two slow and quite uneventful for my liking.
On of my biggest pleasures with this entry in the franchise was the inclusion of local multiplayer, I know it is a small thing but it is nice that Sledgehammer didn’t go the way of other games and drop the local in favor of online. The multiplayer only supports two players but it provides the perfect space to have fun with friends and family, playing locally is also often more fun because you can laugh with your fellow player and even offer other fresh ideas of your own with that other person.
Of course the online is still the strongest way to play, and there plenty of players playing many of the games available. On a personal note I would not recommend playing online unless you truly feel like you can compete, but either way playing online is satisfying and offers a decent challenge. New modes like uplink are far more enjoyable online, however momentum is equally enjoyable and chaotic whether you choose to play online or locally. Basically in the long run you can just choose what way you think would best to play certain things as online and even mostly local play brings as much enjoyment across many of the games modes.
Sledgehammer games has delivered what is most likely the best Call of Duty game to date, the game is literally littered with brilliant ideas and a fair portion of originality. I was pleased to be able to experience the well refined multiplayer experience which was more enjoyable then both of the franchises last two entries combined. Even more pleasing was the addition of an actually good campaign and for once I am proud to say if nothing else Advanced Warfare should be played for its campaign, however it is hard not to love just about everything about the game and would easily recommend that any shooter fan or just adult gamer play this game.