Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, COD aims to impress - Games Weekly

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, COD aims to impress

The prime minister of Nigeria needs your help. Could this be another email scam? If it is, Private Jack Mitchell is going to be really pissed off. Working for military corporation Atlus, he’s neck-deep in Lagos with a hostage rescue force. The level is Traffic, and it’s a first act corker.

A video feed crackles into Mitchell’s left eye. Why, it’s Kevin Spacey sorry, Atlus president Jonathan Irons. “Get him alive,” he smarms through gritted teeth. “A handshake from me is enough to turn this entire region around.” The exosuited Mitchell boots a door with super strength and bursts into an alley. The wall ahead presents no problems for his magnetic gloves, and after climbing onto the roof, neither do the goons in the room below. With a mute charge to muffle sound, Mitchell drops through the skylight for a vertical twist on the traditional slow-mo breach. In the far corner he plants a harmonic pulse that reads biodensity through walls then blasts the fuzzy figures without so much as a ‘Hey, how’s it going?’

Inside it turns out this was all a diversion, the hostages are being spirited away. A squadmate peels off a portion of fence overlooking the motorway. “It’s now or never,” he grins, jumping onto a speeding bus. This is where the magnetic grip again comes into play, Mitchell clinging desperately  onto the side as a bunch of black SUVs give chase.

The hostage van pulls away, so Mitchell and his mate use their exosuits to hop between buses like heavily armoured Froggers. Finally, after another gorgeous slow motion breach and clear on the vehicle which on reflection probably wasn't the smartest move it plunges into the harbour.

While heavily scripted (superhuman abilities such as double-jumping and wall-climbing are contained within specially designated sections), the sci-fi structure allows Sledgehammer to tightly craft what’s essentially another explosive seven-hour action flick.

They’ve had time too. Advanced Warfare has been three years in the making. “We were given carte blanche,” says Sledgehammer founder Glen Schofield. “It gave us the opportunity to go through the entire game, from the HUD system to the cinematics… We iterated the crap out of [the exosuit]. The height of the jump, the distance of the jump, the speed, down to the inches. It changes Call Of Duty, but it still feels like Call Of Duty.”

Now it’s time to test Schofield’s theory in multiplayer. Alongside returning modes Hardpoint and Kill Confirmed stands the brand new Uplink a frantic and slightly silly sports type game in which opposing teams grab a drone and chuck it through a circular hologram. There’s also the four-player co-op mode Exo Survival think traditional wave based holdouts but with exo suits. Both co-op and multiplayer are enlivened by human augmentation, even if the focus is still very much on run and gun.

Maps are also more interactive, each one with a unique dynamic element. Some are triggered by you, such as the defence system in a Baghdad prison. Some are natural, such as a tidal wave under the Golden Gate Bridge. “They don’t always have to be violent,” says Schofield. Indeed, one features
a crane that alters choke points. “It was a conscious effort to have more animation, and to have things within the world that would normally happen within that world.” Albeit, rarely.

The COD coaster isn't coming off the rails any time soon. But before fatigue can set in, Advanced Warfare has picked it up and dropped it into an exciting and, for once, fresh world.

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