Just When I Think I’m Out...
I don’t hate the Call of Duty series, but I must stress I don’t love it either. That was not always the case, but around the time of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 I felt things were becoming stale in some aspects, and outright bad in others. It’s not that the series was making changes I didn’t like, the problem was that other than multiplayer map size which fluctuated greatly, the gameplay overall felt the same despite even attempting jumps into the future with Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Last year after Ghosts though, I’d had enough. I was finally done with the series... or so I thought. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare managed to pull me into checking it out. Was it an actual call to duty? Or the result of effective marketing?
War For Profit
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the third attempt at a more futuristic title in the franchise, but this time it treads water into something rarely touched in the war side of the FPS genre. Often the theme is playing as a nameless (or otherwise forgettable) protagonist or protagonists in the name of their country rather than actually bringing to the front any moral foreground. It puts us in a role of good guys versus bad guys. This isn’t the case in Advanced Warfare, as very early on we see the protagonist Jack Mitchell go from being a U.S. Marine to a mercenary for the Atlas Corporation.
Atlas, headed by Jonathan Irons, becomes a major player on the world stage as they show time and time again a level of strength and tactics to get missions done, and on the darker side without the political red tape that would occur should global military forces attempt the same things. It works much to the benefit of the company, and for the countries that hire them, but with power comes great responsibility and it’s a sword not many can wield properly. Kevin Spacey executes his role as Irons perfectly, and the supporting cast this time around is actually likeable and don’t seem like they’re phoning it in. Sadly enough though, the moral gray area does fade away into the typical good guys and bad guys formula as the game progresses.
While the overall story is a much larger step up over the previous games, along with new enough gameplay to freshen the experience, the return to form makes the story slightly less interesting with the very memorable moments being sprinkled at the beginning, and at the end. As for difficulty, I’ve found Advanced Warfare’s campaign to be the easiest Call of Duty on the Veteran difficulty to date but it’s not a bad thing. The difficulty in the past games have come from the eagerness by the enemy to spam grenades when you’re in cover, it looks like they’ve finally decided to step away from that.
On the gameplay side of things, there have been a few changes that if nothing else push a breath of fresh air into a series that has changed very little since 2007. These changes are almost entirely centered around the Exosuit, which in itself tries to be a star in the game. The tweaks to existing gameplay as well as much of the new features from the campaign carry over into the online, making it a familiar experience in many ways but a new one in others.
Better campaign than previous installments, changes to gameplay offer a slightly new experience while not completely changing up the formula, weapon balancing seems better for the most part, Kevin Spacey’s debut into the game world does not disappoint.
Exosuit feels clunky at times, lower weapon variety may cut filler but also gives less to choose from, peer to peer lobby hosting can still offer levels of unbridled frustration especially when it comes to Kill Cam observation.