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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Review (Xbox One)

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare landed on my desk last week. That night I was watching the Champions League football on the TV when an advert came on at half time. A live action trailer full of explosions, drones, super strength, double jumping and playing Spider-Man. I was watching the trailer thinking “what on earth is this nonsense?” And then it came up. It was a trailer for Advanced Warfare. There were no words to describe how I felt after watching that trailer. Safe to say, I watched the second half of the football and didn’t play CoD:AW that evening.

The following night however I did fire it up. After playing the campaign for a short period of time there was a huge sense of relief that the game is nothing like what the trailer had made it out to be. Yes there are a lot of these extra abilities available to you as a soldier of the future, but they are nowhere near as overplayed as they were in the trailer. The abilities are delivered to you in the form of an Exoskeleton suit of which there are a couple of different types. You’ll start off with a few abilities such as the boost jump, combat stims and overdrive, which is sort of bullet time type ability. Further into the game you will unlock some nicer abilities such as cloaking and a grapple. It’s the jet pack and the homing grenades that make the most difference though, with the former changing the scope and scale of the levels and the later being just, well, really cool.

COD AW_Fission Flyover_1406727932The campaign itself is delivered well, mostly due to Kevin Spacey playing the centre character of Jonathan Irons. After losing your arm and best friend, Irons’ own son, Irons offers you a second chance by giving you a futuristic prosthetic and enlisting you in his private mercenary army. The first few missions are contract missions for Atlas, Irons’ company before the plot takes a twist and you end up fighting a different type of war. For want of keeping the review spoiler free, after the plot twist there is still a long way to go in the game, however I felt that the fun of the game had already hit its peak and then steadily declined towards the end of the game. This was no more evident than in a mission where you end up on a battleship and have to take out two other boats. Two well placed shots was all it took and it was just a massive anti climax to that mission.

Even the end of the game is reduced to a quick time event. It feels as if there should really have been a choice here too, one of those faith in humanity moments, but no. You must follow the quick time event instructions and failure to do so results in death and a retry. Quick time events were used in a few places throughout the campaign, but generally in tasteful fashion. But to have the game conclude that way was a bit disappointing. There’s certainly none of the campaign choices available that you had in the newer Black Ops games, and for those who enjoyed Treyarch’s latest offerings, AW can feel a little linear.

7135_08_0042_s20140903-0031_1412351267The acting was very good, and I can say that because the motion capture was excellent. The pre-rendered sequences are of a fantastic quality as a result. In fact the quality all round is excellent. It adds to the sense of fun when you see clearly a soldier being ripped out of an AT suit with your grapple, bringing him to you “get over here” style before crushing his face into ground in front of you.

Once you are done with the campaign there is of course the multiplayer to keep you occupied. Online multiplayer is the bread and butter now for FPS games, and CoD:AW also keeps the option of bringing in a couch buddy as a guest in split screen when heading online. There’s a wide range of online modes available to play. Of course the usual Team Death Match, Domination, Capture the Flag modes are all there, but there’s plenty more variety with modes such as Confirmed Kill where you have to collect the dog tags of fallen enemies in order to score. A huge amount of customisation is available to players in terms of the character and profile, but also with the classes. You are not limited to just a couple of loadouts so you can set up a wide range for different play styles. The load outs have a point system so that no loadout can be too overpowering. Of course you also get to choose which Exo abilites to use in a load out, though you do have to unlock the better ones as you play.

CoD AW_Riot_Gun Blazing_1407753670Aside from the mainstream multiplayer mode there is also Exo Survival. This is a four player co-op wave survival mode. At the end of each round you get the chance to spend some of your earned points on Exo or class upgrades, or new and improved weapons. This mode, despite being wave survival, feels a little bit more relaxed that the fast paced mayhem of the main multiplayer games, and is great for playing with a group of friends when you know that someone has your back.

Multiplayer has been the main focus for recent FPS games, not just in the Call of Duty franchise. And while the multiplayer will still be the main focus for many players of Advanced Warfare, the campaign gameplay is solid. Despite its short length (6ish hours). You may never play the campaign again, but you probably won’t forget it either. The multiplayer is fast paced and action packed, with the Exo Survival mode giving you that stage to play on with a small group of friends who want to avoid the usual idiots online.

3.5 watch this Spacey’s out of 5

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