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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Multiplayer Hands-On Preview – Moving Without Limits

August 11, 2014 Written by Dan Oravasaari

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Every year we see a new Call of Duty title, and every year we ask ourselves the same question.: Is this really going to be more of the same? Well, after playing a few hours of multiplayer for the upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, I can honestly say, yes and absolutely no.

Upon first glance, it is easy to see how stark the differences in mechanics are from the previous entries in the franchise, but after some time to get used to the new system, everything simply makes sense for the series and what was best to push it forward. Instead of simply trying to add on different variations on the same mechanics that we have been getting in different shades of for some time, Sledgehammer Games seems to have taken a look back to the heart of the gameplay and changed the foundation, instead of simply adding on another layer. All without taking away the best aspects of the games before it.

The most obvious change to the core mechanics is the inclusion of “The Exo,” an exoskeleton suit that gives each soldier the ability to double jump and boost in almost any direction, whether you are in the air or on the ground. As well as the added ability to choose an Exo Ability such as turning invisible, or running faster for as long as your battery lasts. This fundamental change has sped up the combat to a point where you are not only getting to compete at a much faster pace, but you are also given a sense of openness that is more liberating in its dynamic freedom than anything we have seen from the series to date. Double jumping through a window, then dashing through the air to cover ground at a pace you couldn’t do on foot, only to feed your opponent a shotgun blast while falling on-top of them is a different sensation for the series — even if it isn’t the first time we have seen something like it.

Continuing the aspect of freedom, Advanced Warfare will also give players the ability to fully customize their soldier from head to toe. Starting with picking between a male or female soldier, players will be able to unlock and change helmets, goggles, gloves, shirts, pants, knee-pads, exo suit and boots. All of which will be able to be shown off in the new lobby system, which will let players cycle between their teammate’s loadout and avatar.

Adding to the unique feel of each combatant, a new Weapon Loot system is in place, where players will be able to get a reward that will contain random items from three different rarities: enlisted, professional and elite, which could be a cosmetic item, and/or one of nearly 350 custom weapons. These custom weapons will have 10 customizations each, varying from a different skin, attachments, and stat bonuses that will play into how well they perform. This works together with the new Firing Range, which can be instantly jumped in-and-out of while adjusting your loadout. Letting players have a chance to fire off a few rounds at a target, instead of having to stick with an unknown weapon for a match.

Instead of the ‘Pick 10′ we have seen in the past, Loadouts are now a ‘Pick 13′, which is spread out over your primary, secondary, attachments, perks, Exo perks, Exo launcher (grenades), wildcards and Scorestreaks. So, players not wanting to load up on streaks are able to spend points on other items, or focus more on specific areas that work best for them.

In addition to the loadout point system, players will also be able to use Scorestreaks in new ways. The first being that each streak will have the ability to become modified, with each new mod adding to the required total needed to actually unlock it in combat. The example for this was the turret, which can receive a rocket upgrade, and/or the ability to become used as a weapon, if the top half is removed from its tripod. But, each addition adds to the cost, making it more difficult to unlock. On the other side of things, some streaks will have co-op features, such as having the Warbird being called in by one player, and another being able to jump in to assist in cover fire.

Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer will also contain 12 modes, some of which we have seen before and a few new ones we haven’t. Not all were on hand during the play session, but Team Deathmatch, Hardline, Domination, Search and Destroy, Capture the Flag and Kill Confirmed have all be announced. Adding to those, there will be a new take on the classic War mode, with Momentum, and Uplink, which is a new mode that has players trying to run, jump, and dash while carrying a ball (Satellite) to try and get it through the opposing team’s goal (Uplink). Not only does this mode feel well thought out, it was also my favorite part of the demo.

Instead of simply trying to run a flag back to your base, there is only one ball in play, and you are marked the second you touch it. But, on-top of that, you won’t have access to your weapons, so you will have to either melee your way around, or be smart and toss the ball so that your opponent, forcing them to put down their gun when they catch it, so you can shoot them.

Overall, I think the number of changes that Sledghammer Games have done with the Call of Duty franchise is refreshing. The game feels very familiar, but at the same time, it is different enough that it could take the series in a completely new direction. But, as we were only able to get a few hours with the game, make sure to tune in as we update you on all new announcements as they come in, as well as a full review, as we get closer to launch.