A new system for Call of Duty is the supply drop system, where random items are bestowed upon players after earning them in game. These include different weapon variants that change the guns attributes as well as gear to customise your soldier. It’s a tried and tested system of adding a bit of variety to the game, and I think it certainly helps with the replay value of the game – as the more you play the more chance you have of getting some of the cooler loot which appeals to gamers. These also allow you to find guns that really suit your playstyle which adds a new layer on to your class selection. While these are useful, you also earn character customisation items to change your character’s appearance. For lots of gamers this will provide some interest, but for me it is an unnecessary extra. I’m hoping to see less of myself in the game than I am of the guns I’ll be using, so can I not just get more of them?
Advanced Warfare‘s focus was always meant to be on gun on gun action, and I think Sledgehammer managed to do very well in that department. Not since Modern Warfare 2 has there been a game with such fast-paced combat as Advanced Warfare, with high powered weapons and good hit detection combining to provide a great experience. There is also a good range of different guns available, with assault rifles (favourites: BAL & AK12), SMGs (favourites: KF5, & ASM1) and heavy weapons such as the EM1 laser rifle all serving their purpose nicely.
Scorestreaks are relatively few and far between in Advanced Warfare compared with its’ predecessors. The focus tends to be on gun on gun encounters, which while fun, limits the Pavlovian excitement that players get for earning the top rewards. None of the scorestreaks are particularly satisfying to use, with nothing comparing to the upper end killstreaks from Modern Warfare 2, for instance, where you could rain death from above in an Apache helicopter or AC130 gunship.
There are the usual Call of Duty game modes available in this game, almost unchanged since Modern Warfare 2 but with a few new twists. A welcome addition is the Momentum game mode, a revamped version of War from World at War. Here, there is a series of five flags on the map with one active at each point, with the goal being to capture the flag and push on towards the enemy’s base. Teams can capture flags quicker by building momentum, which is done by getting kills. This game mode works really well in Advanced Warfare, although it does lack a bit of the grandeur that came with the mode in World at War with a certain historical context and of course the use of tanks! The newest mode in the series is Uplink, which acts similar to how Sabotage worked in earlier games – with a single objective that can be scored in the other team’s goal, similar to basketball or football. These are new and interesting to an extent, but Advanced Warfare lacks the drama that other Call of Duties gave me on a game-to-game basis – where winning and losing really meant something. Whether that’s my fatigue with the genre coming to play or the game’s fault, I can’t tell, but there’s no game modes in Advanced Warfare that I LOVE to play.
The multiplayer as a package is good, but there isn’t the same fun factor to it that existed in the earlier titles for me. Earning scorestreaks is harder than ever, and without that the ADD nature of FPS shooters falls down a little. Titanfall understood this with its mechs, but fell down with its class customisation. Advanced Warfare does the opposite. Individual games don’t quite have the same drama to them, especially in the case of the Domination game mode, which now features a halftime switch of sides which kills the flow of the game in my opinion. The exo-suits provide a new way of experiencing the game, but also make it even harder to pick up – which for someone like myself just coming back to the fray has meant that the learning curve has been particularly steep, and something that likely won’t endear it to the newcomers to the series (of which there is always some). Advanced Warfare is not a cure for all of Call of Duty‘s ills.
All-in-all, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is the first in the long-running series to change things in a tangible way for a long time. The exo-suit provides a new dimension for the series, but also has its drawbacks too. It’s fun to play, but doesn’t quite pack the same punch that the older titles did for me. Advanced Warfare has proved Sledgehammers mettle in the FPS market, but the questions and doubts over Call of Duty‘s continued success still remain.