We’re almost to the point where the creators of “Call of Duty” have run out of ideas. Where else can one go after the events of the previous titles which have explored modern warfare as well as ’70’s secret wars? Well, the future of course. Though the day may come when there’s not much left to harvest for this franchise, “Call of Duty” is getting ready to make its world even more destructive in very creative ways with this year’s release, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
I saw two levels from the new campaign mode of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, the first of which was one of the most explosive and destructive things I’ve seen in a video game. Called “Collapse,” the level saw the player manning a new vehicle called the pitbull and chasing after some fugitives in San Francisco. The player followed them all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge where they were forced to exit the car and proceed on foot. Enemies kept popping up and our souped-up solider main character was easily able to dispatch them in gameplay that seemed not that different from what players have come to know.
After finally catching up to the van they were previously chasing, the player opened the back to reveal a whole slew of drones which attached themselves to the cables of the bridge, and exploded. This is where the level gets its name. The bridge began to fold into itself, showcasing impressive destruction that one would normally find in a Michael Bay film. It was hard to tell at one point as the game stopped being playable and started becoming a cut scene, but at no point do the graphics ever falter.
The second level we were shown was called “Bio-lab” and was described to us as “If Collapse was an 11, this is a 4,” as it was a more stealth based mission. This level also showcased why the game is called “Advanced Warfare” as our player was shown to be equipped with some futuristic technology including a cloaking device, not unlike the Predator. Another new gadget we were shown, that still doesn’t make much sense to me as of this writing, was called the “mute bomb.” This device muffles the sound in a specific area, allowing players to dispatch enemy soldiers without alerting anyone else nearby. It’s one of the few bits of technology in the game that I don’t think fits. “Advanced Warfare” is set far enough in the future (2058) that I can go with exo-suits, exploding drones, and cloaking technology, but sound bubbles still seems a little out there to me.
As the players snuck through the Bulgarian forrest, they eventually rendezvoused with their team and made their way into the actual Bio-lab where presumably some not-so-safe chemicals were being produced. Inside the player and his squad found what they were looking for but in the process alerted the base to their presence. Once again the firefighting of “Advanced Warfare” is largely no different than previous “Call of Duty” titles. One change though is the grenades with one new type that when thrown, it maps out enemy locations in the specific area it landed. It’s one of the more useful bits of gadgetry the player is equipped with.
Then things got really loud as the players stumbled upon another new vehicle for the game, the Hover Tank. It took all four members of the team to drive the gigantic machine, but the primary player manned the weapons. Equipped with a machine gun, that seemed capable of tracking down targeted enemies, and, as you can imagine, a giant missile launcher, the tank made the destruction on the previous level look like child’s play. This is the crux of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare that I find puzzling. Clearly advancements have been made in the game’s graphics, as well as new additions to the gameplay, but when 90% of whats going on is indecipherably mixed with continuous explosion sound effects, what’s the point?
There’s no denying that what was shown for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare was impressive visually, and I know this will make me sound like a curmudgeon, but it just appears to be noisy, riotous, and a largely fun free experience. Longtime fans may find solace in its non-stop explosions and gunfire, but from a casual POV it looks like more of the same, only prettier.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC on November 4.