Call of Duty is a long-running, first-person shooter with a huge fan base. The series has often been criticized because of its lack of creativity and innovation. For years the gaming community has said the series has become stagnant and that newer titles feel like nothing more than a cut-and-paste job with a new coat of paint. In some cases that has certainly been true. Some titles within the series seem like just a replica with a few new guns and multiplayer maps thrown in the mix.
On November 4th, 2014 the latest title in the franchise, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, was release. Developed by Sledgehammer Games CoD AW ushers in a new era for the series. Set in the 2050s to 2060s, AW revolves around futuristic weaponry and gadgets. The game also brings with it several elements that have never before been seen in a Call of Duty title including an exoskeleton suit that gives the player superhuman-like abilities, advanced weapons with unique capabilities, and more.
The campaign story is primarily focused on the Atlas Corporation, an incredibly powerful private military contractor headed by an ambitious CEO named Jonathan Irons. At this time in the world several large-scale terrorist attacks are being executed by a notorious terrorist organization that calls itself the KVA. The United States, and other countries, look to Atlas to help bring their reign of terror to an end.
Here’s the original reveal trailer for the game:
Unfortunately the hero-like MO that Atlas has become known for is nothing more than a front. You soon learn that Irons knew about the KVA terrorist attacks long before they began but allowed them to happen so that he could make Atlas seem like the saviors of the world, thus increasing his power and reputation. Irons tries to have your character and another arrested after the discovery of this information but you escape. Without revealing too much more of the story you basically end up having to team up with the Sentinel Task Force, a specialized international organization created to stop Atlas to take the company down and eliminate terrorist threats.
The multiplayer aspects of Advanced Warfare have certainly upped the ante for the Call of Duty series. Is it absolutely ground-breaking? No, obviously we’ve seen this in Titanfall, but it’s a fresh new concept for a series that badly needed change. Via the exosuit your player is capable of pulling off maneuvers that were previously impossible in previous CoD titles including boosted jumps, cloaking, a shield, and more.
The increased power of jumping gives way to a whole new dimension of combat. Now rather than relying solely on ground-based fighting you can take the fight to the air, sort of. There’s definitely a lot more verticality in the game than in other CoD games but don’t expect to be leaping and bounding over skyscrapers.
I was initially concerned about the introduction of the exo abilities in CoD. I happen to also be a fan of the Halo series and when Halo Reach introduced armor abilities (shields, jetpacks, etc) I wasn’t enthused. In fact, I think those things broke what made that particular FPS series so great. And, being the critic that I am, I figured this would be the case for Call of Duty as well.
To my surprise the exo abilities have been a great addition. They’re useful but they aren’t game-breaking or insanely annoying. Most abilities are easily countered and everything feels fairly balanced. It seems that Sledgehammer did a great job of making sure that these new skills flowed seamlessly into the traditional multiplayer aspects of the game.