Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Revives the Series [review]

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare featured

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has a compelling campaign, futuristic weapons and that old spark. Puching Zhang reviews.

aNewDomain — The Atlas bots are coming! Throw a grenade! But wait, I have a belt-full: smart, EMP and threat. Which one? They’re coming — whatever — throw throw throw!

Hello, Puching Zhang here, reviewing “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” the latest in everyone’s favorite series and everyone’s favorite company, Activision. Yes, that’s sarcasm — the Call of Duty series has fallen from grace since its completion of the Modern Warfare series and release of “Black Ops II.” While I did enjoy “Black Ops II” and the cool campaign it had, “Call of Duty: Ghosts” had a disappointing, shallow campaign and a highly repetitive multiplayer mode.

But I have great news! Activision has redeemed itself with a new developer, Sledgehammer Games, in this edition of the “Call of Duty” franchise. “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” is a solid FPS. Let’s dive in.

All That Future Warfare

“Call of Duty: Advanced” Warfare takes place at a later point in time than any other game in the franchise. Because of this, the player has access to more futuristic weapons than any other “Call of Duty” game. “Black Ops II” debuted the drone, which makes an awesome return in “Advanced Warfare,” and there are a handful of entirely new weapons, like the multi-purpose grenade.

Instead of having a regular frag grenade, or one frag and an EMP, players have multi-purpose grenades that really allow you to customize gameplay. For example, if you’re being fired at and can’t find your enemies, throwing a threat grenade will reveal where they are. Smart grenades work just like regular grenades, except they home in on their targets like a pocket homing missile, and EMP grenades disable electrical machines, like those pesky drones.

Campaign

call of duty: advanced warfare 1Call of Duty is known for its campaigns. Yes, multiplayer is important, but if that’s all you care about buy a Battlefield game: it can have up to 32 players on a single side. I was disappointed (as were many) with Activision for the lackluster campaign in “Ghosts” — it was confusing and felt cliché, with the troops storming over the entire globe despite the fact that the U.S. is overrun by enemies and likely does not have the will or funding to launch expeditions into Antarctica. (If you just said, “Uh, what?” check out the “Ghosts” storyline here.)

“Advanced Warfare” has a much tighter and realistic storyline. Instead of the usual formula — a protagonist nation or task force fights against an antagonistic nation (usually Russia for non-World War II games in the series) — Advanced Warfare pits the conflict between a corporation, Atlas, and a terrorist organization called the KVA. Of course, for those of you who saw the trailers, Atlas later turns out to be the antagonistic faction in the story, when a twist in the … I commit myself to spoiler free reviews, alright?

No major spoiler here.

With that said, the storyline is genuinely well done. There is ample plot development, the missions build on one another and through small subtleties you can see the moral compass of the company (Atlas) begin to weaken.

The cutscenes were some of the best I’ve ever seen, with movie-like quality effects and good storytelling. The protagonist was as an actual character who interacted within the cutscenes, instead of the filler guy who just moves the story along. “Advanced Warfare” also includes a better antagonist than its predecessors.

call of duty: advanced warfare jonathan ironsThe main antagonist of the game, Jonathan Irons, is originally a supporting character before the unspecified plot twist around mid-game. What makes Irons different is that he’s a benign corporate leader who initially looks like an idealist trying to solve the world’s problems, instead of a madman who kills supporting characters in the game. Irons gives the plot a nice twist with the classic “evil has a good face” trope.

All these factors contribute to a nicely conceived storyline and overall campaign by Sledgehammer Games, reviving the faith of fans in the series from the tragedy that was “Call of Duty: Ghosts.”

Graphics and Multiplayer

The graphics in this game are up to their usual Call of Duty standard, but the inclusion of cinematic cutscenes make the effects even better than previous games. “Advanced Warfare” also included a lot of cool futuristic mechanics, such as jet packs, lasers and exo suits, which gives the game a new setting and a fresh feel.

call of duty: advanced warfare 3This new setting improves the multiplayer greatly — the exo suit adds a unique element to the multiplayer mode, and reminds me of the greatness of “Black Ops II.” The new technologies make veteran players change strategies within the new setting, as well as include some cool new customization options that were lacking in “Ghosts.”

Overall, I would say “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” gets an 8/10. It’s a good game that contains a well-scripted single player campaign. There are epic graphics, a futuristic setting and a revitalized multiplayer that has the flow and fun of games like “Titanfall.”

While a lot of the elements are fairly original, it does harken back to “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” and the futuristic setting isn’t that much of a surprise. That said, I highly recommend buying this game, as Activision is back on track with the series we all know and love.

Until next time, this is Puching Zhang signing off for aNewDomain.

All image credits: Screenshots courtesy of Activision

About the author

Puching Zhang

Based in Chicago, Puching is gaming editor at aNewDomain and our sister pub, BreakingModern.com