Every year we hear about a new Call of Duty title hitting the market, and just about every year I end up picking it up in hopes that it will be the one that reinvigorates the franchise for me. This year, Activision have given the reins to Sledgehammer Games, a studio headlined by the two guys responsible for the original and highly regarded Dead Space. Combining that with an all-star cast of voice talent, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is looking to be the game that I have been waiting for, a high budget shooter that isn’t afraid of making a few changes.
Set in the year 2054, the world’s military and infrastructure has come under attack and it’s up to the world’s largest Private Military Corporation and military force in the world, Atlas, to come to the rescue. Lead by their CEO Jonathan Irons, played by Kevin Spacey, and joined by former Marine, Mitchell, Advanced Warfare is the story about future soldiers and what it means if the world’s leading force was a privately owned entity.
While at E3 2014, we got to see the first level of the game, called Induction, which set the stage for why our protagonist Mitchell is chosen to use the exoskeleton suite and set the tone for the story ahead. Taking place in Seoul, South Korea, a large military force is dropped into the war zone through pods, but as events play out, Mitchell’s teammate loses his life as the mission goes awry and he loses his arm — which is shown being left behind — as his body is dragged away. A scene that is sure to stick in the minds of many people once they are able to see it.
Not only did the visuals look leaps and bounds better than anything we have seen from the CoD franchise, it was easy to see that a great deal of attention has gone into evolving the series past its debatable stagnant roots. Taking a note from Dead Space right off the bat, there is no overlaying HUD as was found in the previous titles, but instead, all information is displayed as a holograph on your weapon. Although something that can be considered a minor change, it does completely give the game a new look that it has been needing for some time.
Another change that was shown off, but only slightly touched upon was the new grenade system. Instead of only carrying a specific type of grenade, each one comes with a dial that changes its action from exploding on contact (Contact Grenade) to one that hovers in mid-air until it finds its target (Smart Grenade). The most memorable option that many people will have seen already, is the one from the announcement trailer, which will burst out a signal showing off the location of all nearby enemies, also known as the Threat Grenade.
On top of all the new gadgets is the new exo-suit that gives the player the ability to perform super-human feats, such as jumping longer distances, climbing walls and even ripping doors off of cars to use them as shields. Other abilities will be available, as players will be able to upgrade their suit to define how they play, such as adding in a cloaking ability, which will need to be continually charged by powering it down for a few seconds.
Vehicles have been in previous Call of Duty games, but a much greater emphasis has been put into how they are integrated into this world, as none of them will be on rails and are all completely drivable. Moving between a hover bike, a hover tank and an attack boat that can completely submerge itself underwater, it looks like Advanced Warfare will be sending its troops through an array of locations.
Overall, it does look like Sledgehammer Games has really taken the franchise forward, at least in terms of its single-player campaign, as we are still yet to see what changes have been included for its multiplayer component. But, as Call of Duty has always had problems really pushing their stories over the last few iterations, I for one am glad to see that Advanced Warfare’s campaign isn’t trying to share its limelight with erroneous modes or a multiplayer that everyone is going to play anyway.