Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare – Review

November 5, 2014

It’s that time of the year when the annual Call of Duty game drops and we wonder if things will be any different from the last release. After the somewhat mediocre Ghosts, Sledgehammer Games have developed their first solo Call of Duty, titled Advanced Warfare. To their credit, the game retains the core values of the franchise while introducing a new ‘hook’ – the futuristic Exo suit, which in the style the Crysisnanosuit, augments players’ abilities. The Exo suit is present in each of Advanced Warfare‘s modes, and when linked with an engaging campaign and sold multiplayer design, the latest Call of Duty is an advancement on it’s predecessor’s.

Advanced Warefare‘s campaign takes players to 2054, starting with a bang as you drop into a battle with North Korea forces in downtown Seoul. You only play from the perspective of a single character, voiced by Troy Baker throughout the game, making for a more focused narrative. Events in Korea go sideways, resulting in your character’s discharge from the army. Recruited into the private military sphere, you come under the employ of Atlas Corporation, headed by Jonathan Irons, voiced and rendered in the likeness of Kevin Spacey.

While Kevin Spacey especially steals his screen time, Advanced Warefare‘s entire cast deliver a great and relatable performance. The plot isn’t just the usual Call of Duty sausage-fest either, with a strong lead female character. Levels are linked by brief and informative pre-rendered cutscenes, and you are never unsure of what is happening. Overall, the story is an enjoyable romp, touching on a host of contemporary themes like outsourcing war to private military companies and corporate power.


We played Advanced Warfare on Xbox One, and while it isn’t the most cutting-edge visually, the developers have done a lot to pretty up the game’s aging engine. The most important improvement is the resolution bump, making the game look a lot sharper and models more detailed. The character’s faces should be especially mentioned, with some astonishing realism and digital acting. The various environments also do a great job of making you feel immersed in the action.

The game quickly introduces you to the Exo suit’s core abilities, including a double jump and quick dash sideways. These can be useful for navigating around firefights, climbing up walls and grappling like a speeding bullet between ledges, makes you feel like a real badass. However, the developers have missed the mark with the suit’s other unique features, as you never really have the opportunity to activate them. The few other abilities, such as slowing time for a few seconds and deploying a shield, are tied to your suit’s battery, which does not recharge. You also you have to unlock the suit’s features over the course of the campaign, so it’s not until the end it feels like the exo suit is turning you into an advanced fighting machine.

Advanced Warefare‘s takes players to a range of cool locations, and this time, they actually feel tied to the story’s progression, and not because they might make for a awesome set-piece. Levels follow the usual linear design, but large battlefields and occasional stealth segments ensure corridor shooting isn’t the norm. Drones and enemy exo suits, including hulking machines with machine guns for arms, fill the ranks of usual enemy infantry. Vehicle segments are also more frequent, and astonishingly, are entertaining and do not feel shoehorned in to tick a box somewhere. Highlights including driving a hover bike around an abandoned city and escaping an enemy facility in a futuristic tank.


As we all know, the bread and butter for most Call of Duty players is the multiplayer. Advanced Warefare marks a significant jump for the series, with the Exo suits being a new core feature. Players can jump straight into their favourite modes after building their class with the new Pick 13 system. Similar to Black Op‘s Pick 10 system, players can build their preferred custom load-out, for example sacrificing killstreak rewards for more gun attachments. Players can equip a range of futuristic weapons, and handily test them out in a virtual firing range before booting up multiplayer. Combined with new Exo slots, countless options for modifying the visual look of your character and the constant drip-feed of new weapons and gear as you level up, Advanced Warefare boasts the most in-depth Call of Duty customisation system.

Advanced Warefare‘s multiplayer is very different to previous games and players should have fun learning the ins and outs of the new system. The largest change to multiplayer is the increased mobility, thanks to your Exo abilities. Just as in the campaign, you can double jump and quickly dash. You can activate other Exo abilities, such as becoming invisible or increasing health, but the buff only lasts for a few seconds. A good variety of maps play to the features of the Exo suit, with plenty of ledges and roofs to accommodate your jumping abilities.

While gunplay is exactly the same, you need to acclimatise to the new movement system, and having a good aim is important if you hope to keep up. Whereas the movement system in Titanfall feels fluid and keeping with the style of the game, Advanced Warefare‘s is much more sporadic. Players may either love or loathe the increased movement and verticality. Players may also love or loathe that deaths happen very quickly, probably the quickest in any Call of Duty multiplayer iteration. Gameplay is extremely fast, so nailing the exo suit abilities are important if you hope to be proficient.


Rounding out the Advanced Warfare package is a wave-based more called Exo Survival. The mode is somewhat of a mix of Modern Warefare‘s Specs Ops survival mode and Treyarch’s zombies, but with objectives thrown in. Up to four players begin with basic weapons and Exo abilities, which can be upgraded from supply containers by spending points. Instead of just fending off waves of enemies, one round may see you collecting dog tags littered across the map or fighting against drones. The variety is a welcome addition to traditional survival modes, and from what I’ve played so far, the AI in Advanced Warefare are rather challenging. Fans op of co-op survival will certainly enjoy testing their skills in this mode.

Advanced Warefare proves that an old dog can learn tricks, and more importantly, that Call of Duty games are not immune to change. The decently-sized campaign is bombastic and entertaining, with strong characters and gameplay variety. Multiplayer and the survival mode also feel different, thanks to the significant introduction of the Exo suit. The increased mobility may be off-putting for some players, but the greater majority should enjoy the new spin it adds to traditional gameplay. With Advanced Warfare, Sledgehammer Games have admirably advanced the Call of Duty franchise into a brightly-lit future.



Improved visuals | Solid Campaign | Fresh take on Multiplayer | Kevin Spacey


Exo suits restricted in campaign | New movement system may be jarring for some

Overall Score: