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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Review

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  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Review

    The best Call of Duty game in years.

    Look, I'm going to level with everyone right now. Due to how I've been feeling lately and a general lack of sleep, I'm going to forego the usual lengthy review here. Let's face it, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is still a "Call of Duty" game at heart. You probably already know what to expect as a result. This one just happens to be first game since the first Modern Warfare that I had fun playing.

    The single player campaign offers up a slower pace compared to its predecessors, even if it's still "fast" when compared to other games out there. The visuals are gorgeous, especially when you see the absolutely incredible virtual representations of Kevin Spacey and Troy Baker. There were plenty of times playing through the single player campaign where I felt as though the game looked as good, if not better, than Battlefield 4's single player campaign. The only real drawback I ran into happened during the pre-chapter cutscenes. The audio would usually desync only for the cutscenes during the first load of the level.
    Despite the slower, more enjoyable pace of the game, it still suffers from some of the usual Call of Duty pitfalls. The game still has plenty of cases where a big on screen indicator constantly reminds you to "FOLLOW" an NPC to advance the story or kick off the next scripted sequence. It also continues the rather annoying trend of having NPC after NPC yell at your character or yell your character's name to do this or do that. If you don't do the task immediately, they just keep on yelling at you.

    Multiplayer is some of the best in years. The use of the Exo suits adds a tremendous amount of depth to the game and injects a dose of "freshness" into the multiplayer that has been largely unchanged for years now. I'm honestly going to be disappointed if future titles don't have enhanced vertical movement or Exo suit type abilities, because these seriously feel like a positive game changer. The maps look decent enough, even if the overall visuals are scaled down significantly when compared to single player. They seem to be larger than previous years, but that may have a lot to do with the increased emphasis on vertical gameplay.

    I understand that there is some confusion on whether or not there are dedicated servers set up for Advanced Warfare or not. The last official word is that there are dedicated servers but people have seen telltale signs of a P2P connection show up while playing. In my time spent in multiplayer, I haven't seen a single "host migration" yet and the pings appeared to be solid for those I've been playing with. Compared to Ghosts' multiplayer where I experienced a "host migration" several times in the first day of release, it's been a solid experience with Advanced Warfare. Again, there are a lot of unknown factors at work here but in my personal experience on the PC, things have been solid.
    Speaking of the PC version of the game, there are a number of graphical options that you can enable, disable, and tweak. I was actually quite impressed to see a number of various caching options, AA options, general graphical options, and more. The only issue encountered with changing these options are that the game had to completely reload the level any time new settings were applied. This meant that you had to sit through another load of the level and you ended up re-watching most, if not all, of the pre-chapter cutscene.

    There really isn't too much to say without getting into the nitty-gritty of the game. I had fun throughout the single player campaign. Yes, it was only about six hours long but I enjoyed almost every moment I had with it. I also haven't had this much fun in the multiplayer for a Call of Duty title since my time with Modern Warfare. The increased mobility and abilities really open up the gameplay and I now cannot imagine future Call of Duty titles not having these fun additions. This is the first Call of Duty game in years that I really don't have any issues recommending at full price, though you can easily find it on sale at a few retailers already if you keep a look out. Sledgehammer Games entered into the Call of Duty franchise with guns blazing. I just hope they can keep that strong momentum going with their future releases.

    + First campaign in years that is enjoyable from start to finish.
    + Single player campaign is visually stunning.
    + It's very surreal any time you see virtual Kevin Spacey or Troy Baker in a scene. The technology at work here is honestly impressive.
    + Exo suits and the abilities they bring to multiplayer are honest game changers. Future Call of Duty games need them or something similar as the new vertical gameplay elements are great.
    + Single player campaign is much slower paced compared to the previous games.
    + The futuristic setting is a breath of fresh air compared to "modern" war games. This includes the use of fun, futuristic weapons, gadgets, Exo suits, grappling hooks, and more.
    + Plenty of modes in multiplayer.
    + Plenty of customization options in multiplayer, including (but not limited to) emblems, weapons, and loadouts.
    + Bonus co-op wave based multiplayer mode included. It wasn't one of my favorites, but it's nice that the content was included for those that enjoy it.
    + No real multiplayer connectivity issues to report (though your mileage may vary).
    - Lack of any real, meaningful character development.
    - Story leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
    - Time to kill (TTK) is very, very low in multiplayer, which may be a bad thing for some Call of Duty veterans.
    - Still adheres to the usual Call of Duty staples. Examples: Forced to "FOLLOW" the indicated NPC, pressing a button to execute a quick time event, etc.
    - The time limited multiplayer gear unlocks seems gross to include in a game that isn't F2P.
    - The "press (button) to pay respects" scene. Just… no.

    Related Information
    Title: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
    Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 (High Moon Studios), Xbox One, Xbox 360 (High Moon Studios) (Multiplayer was co-developed with Raven Software) (Reviewed on PC)
    ESRB Rating: M for Mature 17+ for blood, gore, drug reference, intense violence, and strong language