Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Sledgehammer Games
Release Date: Nov. 4, 2014


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on June 14, 2014 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare envisions battlegrounds of the future, where both technology and tactic have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise.

Call of Duty is the biggest game on the market today. It may have begun as a shooter set in World War II, but the franchise has been gradually advancing further into the future with each new release. The latest game in the franchise, Advanced Warfare, is probably the most futuristic to date. Set in 2054, it tells of a world where the global military complex is being replaced by private military contractors. The protagonist, Mitchell, is a member of an elite squad of soldiers trained in futuristic warfare and armed with super-advanced exoskeleton suits that allow them to be the ultimate soldiers. Of course, since it's a Call of Duty title, they're going to be thrown into a large-scale dramatic battle between soldiers and PMCs for the fate of the world.

Perhaps the biggest addition to Advanced Warfare are the exosuits. We saw them in two major segments of our demo. The first was a battle on a bridge. This was a straight-up firefight and emphasized some of the things the exosuit could do. The suit has built-in boosters that aren't quite jetpacks but allow you to hop to high locations that are nonviable for a regular soldier. The suit also provides enhanced strength that can be used for bashing enemies in the face and other things. The demo showed Mitchell pulling a car door off an abandoned car and turning it into an impromptu shield against enemy weaponry. The shield only lasted a short time but could be stowed briefly and tossed away with surprising forced. You can also use boosts to dodge left and right in addition to a super-jump for improved dodging and strafing. There is also a bullet time effect, but it's hard to tell how much of that was the exosuit and how much has to do with the innate abilities of a first-person shooter protagonist.

A later segment of the demo took Mitchell into a deep forest surrounded by enemies. As fighting wasn't an option in this case, it demonstrated another of the suit's special abilities: stealth. It renders you invisible to the naked eye, has a surprisingly long battery life, and recharges naturally when deactivated. Such a powerful ability has a number of weaknesses. It's vulnerable to thermal imaging, so if you're not careful, drones can find your cloaked character. There are also sensors in many facilities that reveal you and can temporarily short out your exosuit unless you destroy them first. Noise is an issue, and the cloak drains more quickly when moving.

The exosuit is complemented by a number of other fancy gadgets. You have a ton of advanced weaponry ranging from high-powered assault rifles to a guided laser beam weapon that tears through enemies like butter. Grenades can blow up your enemies, and a new seeker grenade reveals every enemy in the environment and makes it much easier to hunt down your foes when they're behind cover. Another cool addition, although slightly more scripted, is the mute charge, which dampens sound in the environment within a certain radius. This allows you to do things like breach a building without alerting others within it. Those in the radius know they're in danger and will shoot back, but the sound of the fighting won't alert others.

You'll need these advantages, since the enemy faction looks like it's armed to the teeth. Among the new enemy types are flying combat drones that are loaded with weapons or are capable of self-destruction. In the demo, the latter type took out the bridge in a scripted sequence, attaching themselves to the support cables and tearing it apart. One can only imagine that having them explode in your face would be just as bad. There are also enemy soldiers armed with big, bulky, powered armor suits who don't fight but look intimidating enough that you know fighting them would be a bad idea. The end of the demo also involved Mitchell stealing a prototype hovertank from the enemy stronghold. The armored vehicle was armed with a high-powered cannon, machine gun, and an EMP weapon that could disable enemy vehicles. In the hands of Mitchell and the members of his squad, it's an unstoppable beast, but the enemy also has similar models of tanks.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare looks to take the Call of Duty franchise to the next level. The addition of futuristic technology seems to amplify the classic Call of Duty gameplay rather than turning it into Halo or Destiny. There are super-suits and giant hovering tanks, but they're presented with a sense of realism that will be familiar to Call of Duty fans.  

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