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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (Video Game Review)

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be the eleventh major installment for what is quite possibly the most popular first-person shooter franchise in the history of video games. The upcoming title will be entirely developed by Sledgehammer Games, and the release will be built on an all new engine created from the ground up exclusively for next generation consoles and PC. We were lucky enough to go hands-on with the full version of the game before it reached store shelves and test out the game's new campaign, Exo-Survival cooperative multiplayer and competitive multiplayer modes, and we were blown away by the new title. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is easily the most exciting first-person shooter game we've played this year.

The new campaign for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare takes players to the year 2054, where a global terrorist attack has left many of the world's greatest military forces crippled. The KVA is the organization responsible for the attacks, and it will be up to private military corporations, or PMCs, to fight back against the group. Players will take on the role of a dedicated solider named Jack Mitchell, as he initially takes on the KVA then later the members of the Atlas Corporation, which happens to be the most powerful PMC in the world headed by Jonathan Irons. Troy Baker lends his voice talents to the character of Jack Mitchell, while the highly talked about Kevin Spacey takes on the role of Irons. The all-star voice acting cast compliments a good storyline for the franchise and some of the most interesting protagonists since the campaigns seen in the Modern Warfare trilogy, and the campaign is full of exciting encounters like fans would expect from a Call of Duty single player campaign.

The single player campaign in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare offers a dramatic narrative full of intriguing characters in one of the darkest storylines to ever appear in the series. The amazing voice-over talents in the game have taken the story to an all new level with Kevin Spacey delivering one of his best performances yet as the merciless villain Irons. The game starts out with Kyle Cormack, Jack Mitchell and Will Irons tasked with regrouping with Demo Team One to destroy the havoc launch after a massive attack from enemy forces. Players will travel around the world from Santorini, Greece to the Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco, California to complete mission objectives and Exo Challenges to unlock additional upgrades. The Exo Type you employ will differ for each mission depending on what is required to complete the objectives which may range anywhere from the Specialist to Assault. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare manages to keep gameplay entertaining and fresh with a versatile amount of missions types that go from controlling aircrafts to underwater diving.

The multiplayer component of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will still be what drives many gamers to run out and preorder the game or purchase it day one. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will add a new multiplayer cooperative mode for up to four players or two players in split-screen sessions. Exo-Survival will feature several variants with similar goals to attempt to outlast endless waves of enemies in consecutive rounds. The mode is most comparable with Spec Ops mode from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 with some major changes. Exo-Survival mode will feature maps that alternate across the different multiplayer maps featured in the game when players are able to survive for a certain amount of rounds. Additionally, random objectives will appear from time to time that challenges players to perform tasks such as collecting dog tags from fallen enemies or gathering intel from a specific location all in an attempt to gain bonus upgrade points. Players can upgrade their soldier from a variety of different armor enhancements, attachments, perks and more between rounds, and there are also class specific upgrades that can be gained through playing the mode and earning experience points.

Exo-Survival is a constantly changing experience that challenges players to quickly adapt to new situations and regroup with teammates. The game throws all sorts of enemies at players starting with the common grunt soldiers to later rounds that feature attack dogs, airborne drones, exoskeleton equipped soldiers and even massive mechs. The new enemies, changing locations and randomized mission objectives always has players on their toes, and it's a good bet that players will enjoy the mode far more than previous cooperative modes for the Call of Duty series simply due to the randomized nature of each match.

Multiplayer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has changed a lot in how players will prepare for matches, but the majority of game modes the series has been known for still remain a huge part of online play. Free-for-All, Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, Domination and other longtime favorites return for the newest outing, while newer game modes such as Kill Confirmed, Search and Rescue and Infected make their way into the Sledgehammer Games release. The title also includes some new modes based around the exoskeleton armor and the different abilities the suits grant players in online matches.

The biggest change for online multiplayer in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has the be the new create a character variant. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare builds on Call of Duty: Black Ops II's 'Pick 10' system with the all new 'Pick 13' system that now includes three killstreaks that can be added or dropped for online characters. The new system doesn't completely revolutionize online multiplayer as the Pick 10 did when it was first introduced, but players will still find cool new ways to build characters including becoming more powerful on the battlefield by dropping some killstreaks or even outfitting their soldier with up to four different killstreaks at any one time. One big change is the way players can customize their killstreaks when creating a custom class to make the rewards more offensive or defensive oriented before entering an online match. The new title offers up a ton of great possibilities for the genre despite the occasional glitch or lag experienced in the game. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare offers up a darker tone and atmosphere than Call of Duty: Ghosts which alternatively will attract players who enjoyed past titles like Call of Duty: Black Ops and the game’s Zombie mode.

We were definitely impressed with how amazing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare looks when running on next generation consoles. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is easily the best looking game the series has ever produced. The new animations for flying through the air, jumping high above the ground or dashing through open doors or windows looks fantastic with highly detailed character models and environments that are a blast to explore. The new maps all seem to be crafted with certain vantage points and escape routes in mind. Players can take advantage of the strong level design with a variety of new abilities that are easy to control and feel natural to anyone that has ever played a futuristic first-person shooter game before.

Fans who haven't preordered a copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare can still act to gain early access to the game with the Day Zero Edition that includes early access to the game and Double XP the day before the game hits store shelves for the rest of the country. The Day Zero Edition also comes packed with exclusive weapons in the AK-12G Assault Rifle and Crossbow-B2, Advanced Arsenal Bullet Brass exoskeleton variant and the EM1 Quantum energy weapon. Players can also preorder the Atlas Limited Edition version of the game to gain instant access to the BAL-27 Assault Rifle AE, Atlas 45 Pistol AE, Atlas Gorge Multiplayer Map, steelbook casing, supply drops and other bonus in-game content. Pro Editions are also available for the Atlas console release and digital download on PC to gain access to the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Season Pass at no additional cost.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has raised the bar for the first-person shooter genre. The game is one of the most exciting releases the genre has seen, and the incorporation of futuristic technology into online battles is nearly seamless and yet makes for a much more exciting experience that is unlike anything Call of Duty fans have seen. The game's single player campaign is a fun way to spend around 10 hours, and the campaign is actually longer than some of the more recent campaigns for the franchise. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer is more exciting than ever with plenty of new changes that will dramatically change the way players create their characters and fight during combat. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a challenging new title that is well worth the purchase price with its challenging campaign, fun multiplayer and exciting new additions like the exoskeleton.

In the end, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare is a great title that offers up a ton of possibilities for players during gameplay with the addition of the exoskelteon and the virtual lobby. We especially loved the addition of the double-jump in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and is something we have wanted to see in the series for quite some time. The single-player campaign has also saw a dramatic improvement with longer gameplay and more challenging quick time events. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare takes on a very serious and dark tone which may not appeal to everyone, and alternatively we enjoyed the more light-heartedness of Call of Duty: Ghosts. But gamers looking for a grittier and more fierce style of gameplay will frankly be ecstatic over the changes made in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. The strong attention to detail and new features add a more diversified style of play for hardcore Call of Duty fans and will ultimately be a must-own title this holiday season.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is now available for preorder from most major retailers and can be purchased for the MSRP of $59.99 on PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Drug Reference, Intense Violence & Strong Language. For more information on the game, check out the official Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare website.

Game Features:
  • Online Multiplayer 1-16
  • 'Pick 13' Multiplayer Custom Classes
  • Preorder Day Zero and Atlas Editions
  • DLC Support
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

Game Information:
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Publisher: Activision
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One (reviewed), Xbox 360 & PC
Release Date: November 4, 2014

Score 9.6 out of 10

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