Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare review for Xbox One, PS4, PC

Platform: Xbox One
Also On: PS4, Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Medium: Blu-ray/Digital
Players: 1-16
Online: Yes

At this point you should have a pretty good idea of what you?re going to get out of a Call of Duty release. Fast-paced gunfights, generally solid multiplayer, a loud, bombastic campaign, and a whole lot of military jargon being tossed about. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is no different in that sense. Following the release of Ghosts, it?s clearly a better looking game. It seems obvious that developer Sledgehammer Games focused primarily on current-gen platforms, and visually Advanced Warfare benefits from that focus. I have no idea how the game fares on 360 or PS3, but on Xbox One, it looks really great.

But what else does Advanced Warfare bring to the table? The biggest and best addition here is the Exo-Suit, specifically the changes in movement that come along with it. With the Exo-Suit, you?ll be able to make short dashes in an effort to quickly get behind cover, while also allowing for limited double-jumps and the ability to slow your descent from long falls. In addition to quicker movement and more verticality, you?ll be able to quickly cross waist-high objects, move in and out of windows, and climb up small ledges when jumping towards them. Everything on the movement side of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare feels quicker, more precise, and certainly more fun to control.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare_UN SpeechThe impact of this on the campaign-side is a bit limited. You?ll have various sequences where you?ll be required to use the Exo-Suit to leap over high objects or avoid other hazards. There?s unfortunately not a lot of opportunity to freestyle within the campaign, but when it comes to multiplayer it?s a very different story. I think you?ll be surprised by how changed the MP side of the game feels compared to Advanced Warfare?s predecessors. It?s not as ground-breaking as the excellent movement found in something like Titanfall, but it is a step in the right direction for this series.

I also genuinely enjoyed the campaign this time around. A bit of that?s aided by the solid performance of one Kevin Spacey, marking one of the few occasions getting a well-known, talented actor has worked out to a be a positive for a video game?s story. Call of Duty has certainly flirted with celebrities before, but Spacey fits in pretty naturally as the CEO of Atlas, the PMC organization at the center of Advanced Warfare?s plot. The story isn?t going to be confused for high-brow entertainment, but outside of the groan inducing, well-publicized ?Press X to pay respects? bit, you?ll remain entertained throughout the 6 to 7 hour rollercoaster ride the campaign serves up.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare_Seoul DropWhile the framing of Advanced Warfare?s multiplayer is generally similar to the brand formula that began with Call of Duty 4, there?s a few neat perks and additions. The aforementioned changes to movement are certainly the star here, but there?s a decent amount of character customization as well. As you level up and play matches you?ll occasionally obtain care packages, which provide you with new cosmetic items and weapons, typically special variants on existing models. The cosmetic gear items are pretty varied, allowing you to make your online avatar stand out from the rest of the crowd. Weapons are certainly more important, introducing some minor stat changes affecting how the weapon performs. Some might not care for the randomness involved with these care packages, but for me it serves as a decent hook, ensuring that I want to play just one more match to see what might be around the corner.

The competitive multiplayer side of Advanced Warfare comes with a number of modes, mostly culled from past entries in the series. Standard favorites like Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed are present, Capture the Flag and Hardpoint return from Black Ops 2, while Uplink is a new mode for the series. All in all there?s around 12 modes across 13 different maps, which seems like a decent amount to keep you entertained in the coming months. It falls a bit shy of Ghosts when it comes to core content at launch, but the differences in gameplay are exciting enough to make up for that loss.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare_ArsenalHowever, your experience with Advanced Warfare?s multiplayer might be hit or miss. While I?ve had zero issues joining games across all modes, including the cooperative 4-player mode, I have seen a fair share of lag. Even when there?s no noticeable connection issues on my side, or with anyone in the match, I?ve had a number of matches that turned into near slideshows at different points. It?s not consistently an issue, but it?s certainly enough to be annoyance. This comes a week after launch as well, along with a patch introduced yesterday meant to improve this issue. While the patch seems to have cut down on the problem, it definitely has not fixed it entirely.

I?ve still had quite a bit of fun with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, more so than I was actually expecting. The campaign is fun to run through once or twice, and the multiplayer contains that same addictive, fast-paced, solid level of quality that the series has become known for. Lag is certainly an issue that needs to be corrected soon, but when the MP side runs smoothly, it?s an absolute blast to play. It?s nice to see the series turn itself around a bit after the lackluster release of Ghosts, and if we?re going to continue to see yearly releases for this series, then hopefully more will turn out to be as fun as Advanced Warfare.

Grade: B