Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Review

Call of Duty heads into the future – and in a greater direction.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition with Bonus Exo-skeleton - Only at GAME

Into the future

Previous Call of Duty games presented situations from the past or present, spanning World War 2 to Modern Warfare as we know it today. There were futuristic touches along the way (like being able to guide a dog in Ghosts via tablet), but the series managed to keep its feet firmly planted in certain areas. That is, until now.

With Sledgehammer Games' Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the series heads into the near future, with a number of touch-ups making soldiers capable of more than ever before. With the introduction of Exo-Suits - which automatically become armed over the course of each mission – players can do everything from melee attacks with an instant riot shield to double jumping in order to gain an advantage on grounded foes. There's more than that, of course, but these additions provide key elements to the game, in both single player and multiplayer, that give the series a much-needed boost.

Enter the Spacey

Advanced Warfare's single player campaign means something again, after Ghosts spent too much time in the doldrums. Most of its energy comes from its featured star, Kevin Spacey, who portrays Jonathan Irons, the no-nonsense leader of the private army known as Atlas. Your player, Mitchell, gets recruited by this group and immediately goes head-to-head against a terrorist organisation wreaking havoc across the globe. What follows is a head-on battle with plenty of twists and turns, as well as plenty of action.

Sledgehammer provides breakneck pacing throughout the game's campaign, whether you and your fellow soldiers leap across buses in moving traffic or wreak havoc on a swarm of incoming drones. The game barely lets up to give you a breath, and even when you think everything's calm, it picks right back up again.

The storytelling can be suspect at times, especially midway through, but it never grows dull, mainly due to its set-up. In addition, there are plenty of intense moments throughout, whether it's grappling up the side of a building or using bionic gloves to crawl your way around a skyscraper.

On top of that, Advanced Warfare runs at a beautiful 60 frames per second throughout, with barely any skips or glitches to speak of, and the explosive effects feel like they came right out of an action film.

The audio is equally superb, between a consistently moving action score and quality voice acting from the likes of Spacey, as well as Troy Baker, who plays Mitchell.

Bring on the gameplay

Of course, the gunplay shines, with a variety of weapons at your disposal, from rocket-powered grenade launchers to assault rifles that highlight your enemy's every move.

The grenade system is awesome as well, as you can select functions for each one before you chuck it – and they all serve a purpose. Our particular favourite is the EMP, which can drop a group of drones. The homing grenades are great fun, too, and ideal for weeding out snipers in buildings above.

Then there are the Exo-Suits, which we mentioned earlier. With the different load outs available, you can do quite a bit with these, like launching Sonics to throw off enemies, opening up the riot shield and more. Both load outs are worth messing around with, and even if you think you prefer one, both are equally powerful.

Invite friends and foes

Along with the solid single-player campaign, Advanced Warfare also brings the multiplayer. In addition to the return of several classic modes, including Hardpoint and Capture the Flag, there are a couple of new additions, including Momentum, a new take on the classic War mode. You can also customise your soldier a variety of ways, and change their load out with both Pick-13 (weapon selections) and the new Create-An-Operator system, where you can change skins, gear and once you unlock them, zombie options.

Multiplayer remains bigger and better than ever. The matches we took part in didn't lag, and the various options available let you class up in a number of ways, all while using whatever weapons and skins you're savvy to. It's also fairly laid out, so newbies won't get crammed into a room with veterans and automatically die.

In addition, Exo-Survival provides a hearty co-op mode, where you and your friends can take on waves of enemies before eventually unlocking a new Riot map, complete with zombies. It's a shame that a full-fledged Zombie Mode wasn't included, but the unlockable undead customisation more than makes up for it.

Report for duty

In the end, despite some questionable storytelling and the lack of a Zombie Mode, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is easily one of the best entries in the series to date, and a must for fans. It's also proof there are still ways to reinvigorate a franchise, provided the right team is on the job. In this case, Sledgehammer Games and Kevin Spacey lead Call of Duty into the future.

GAME's Verdict: 9/10

The Good

  • The presentation is easily the best in the Call of Duty series to date
  • Gameplay remains strong throughout, and the new additions rock
  • Superb multiplayer

The Bad

  • No sign of a full Zombie Mode, at least not yet
  • You don't use those bionic gloves often enough
SKU: Reviews-317779
Release Date: 05/11/2014