Coming back to the fold, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare is one of my favourite FPS games of all time, with a singleplayer campaign and multiplayer that redefined console shooters. But after three more yearly iterations I felt thoroughly fatigued with a franchise whose gameplay had rapidly begun to stagnate. I haven’t purchased a Call of Duty game since Black Ops (Especially after playing through the lacklustre campaign of Modern Warfare 3), so what is it about the newest entry in the series that has me thinking about coming back into the fold?
Developed by Sledgehammer games for the PS4 and X-Box one (with the last-gen versions being handed to an as yet unspecified developer) and running on a brand new engine (Even from the reveal trailer the game looks gorgeous, with beautiful lighting effects and some of the most detailed facial animations I’ve seen) the first truly next-gen Call of Duty game takes the series into the near future. Set in 2054, the games plausible Sci-Fi setting imagines a world where wars are fought solely by PMC’s (Private Military Corporations) and poses the question what would happen if PMC’s started following their own orders? (An engaging topic that’s explored in an excellent documentary advertising the reveal of the game, which you can watch here). With Kevin Spacey and Troy Baker providing voice work for the project, I can only hope this means there will be a greater focus on both plot and character development.
I think the most exciting aspect of the futuristic setting is the technology that’s on display in the reveal trailer (which can be watched here). First and foremost is the Elysium-esk exoskeleton. What’s most interesting is the meaningful impact this could have on gameplay, with the exo-suit providing the player with a new level of mobility (whether it’s been designed as a rival to the parkour in Titanfall or will function more like the Nanosuit in Crysis-enhancing the players jumping ability and strength-remains to be seen). Players will also be able to upgrade the exoskeleton combining RPG elements into Call of Duty for the first time. The trailer also hints at other technologies that exist in 2054, scenes show soldiers using cloaking devices as well as portable cover and it will be interesting to see just how much of this can be utilised by the player in-game. Informed by the robotic concept art of Aaron Beck, the ethos of the games striking visual design combines the familiar with hi-tech industrial influences; nowhere is this more apparent than in the design of the walking tanks and the soldier’s exo-suits.
While this post is only based on my first impressions of the game from the reveal trailer; the games aesthetic, setting and story has already captured my imagination. The question remains though, can Sledgehammer games reinvigorate the singleplayer campaign and create a multiplayer suite to rival that of Titanfall? (What I see as being the most original multiplayer experience around). I for one an cautiously optimistic.