E3 2014: Three Things I Learned After Seeing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Fun with technology.

by

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the first game in the blockbuster shooter franchise to be led by Sledgehammer Games, a relatively new studio in the Activision stable of developers. As such, this is the best opportunity in years for the series to bring a fresh perspective to its familiar formula. If you saw Microsoft's press conference yesterday, then you probably have a good idea of what Sledgehammer intends to do: focus on futuristic technology, present the occasional moral dilemma, and maybe even have a character lose an arm every now and then. And after having seen some additional gameplay behind closed doors at E3 2014, I can add a few more bits of information to that list.

Those fancy toys aren't just for show

Call of Duty has tinkered with new gadgets and equipment for a while now, but Advanced Warfare is the first game in the series that seems to be really committed to making that stuff a fundamental part of the game. It begins with your basic sense of movement. In the Seoul level I saw, which involved a big shootout against drones and foot soldiers on a war-torn urban street, the player was constantly leaping about with a boost jump mechanic to gain new perspectives on the battlefield. he would take cover behind a tipped bus only to double-jump up onto the roof to unload a few rounds, then take a gargantuan leap forward to hide behind a more modestly sized car. That boost pack sure does come in handy.

All the while he was employing fancy new weaponry. As the player proceeded through the devastated streets of Seoul circa 2054--turns out the North Koreans are getting ready to invade their neighbors in about 40 years--he was constantly toggling between crazy new grenade types. There's the smart grenade, which is essentially a heat-seeking missile you chuck into the air and let it find the enemy for you, and the IR grenade that automatically tags enemies and renders them a bright red silhouette, which can come in very handy for shooting at targets hiding behind penetrable surfaces.

None of those gadgets are terribly crazy on their own, but strung together in rapid succession they create this sort of rhythm and general sense of motion that you've never really seen in earlier games. All the double-jumping up to high perches and tagging hidden enemies with an IR grenade--it was fast and chaotic in the way Call of Duty has always been, but presented in a way that feels very slick and fluid. Add in the fact that you're not just facing human soldiers, but packs of menacing drones that practically feel like a swarm of killer bees and the whole thing feels that much more crazy and futuristic.

It's not afraid to slow things down and get a little creepy

The second level Sledgehammer showed off was quite a departure from the first one. This was a slow and atmospheric sequence, in which two characters began in a dark forest without any weaponry to speak of. They had to rely on their cloaking shields to sneak by enemies, because even though they could quietly take down a foe or two and steal their guns, they were still no match for the enemies patrolling the area in walking mech suits.

And so, the player snuck through the dark forest, avoiding enemies and darting away from scanning beams that would expose their cloaking shields. I'm pretty sure they went a good 15 minutes without firing a single gun. This section really let you appreciate the atmosphere too, with its moonlight trees and creepy, foggy surroundings. It was a huge change of pace from the level before it, and seems to underscore a dedication to mixing things up throughout the campaign.

You still don't seem to have a lot of control

And here's what leaves me a little bit cautious about Advanced Warfare. As much as I enjoyed the futuristic gadgets and the way the game feels confident enough in its sense of atmosphere to slow things down on you every so often, there's almost always another character nearby shouting orders at you as you're guided along from one very clear objective to the next. I'm all for big cinematic moments and the value of a carefully crafted campaign, but after a while you start to wish for a little more player agency. Keeping to that very overt way of guiding the player just seems to conflict with the newfound freedom of those futuristic gadgets.

At any rate, I'm still curious to see more of Advanced Warfare. I suspect there are plenty more gadgets to check out, and crazy levels to behold. It may not be as open-ended as I'd like, but it does have some very cool things going for it.

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Discussion

86 comments
Subterfuge71
Subterfuge71

Looks fantastic. I really hope they don't mess things up by having another very short single player campaign.

trackles
trackles

that EA wants a quiet word with Activision

lionheart1981oz
lionheart1981oz

WOW....as much as I hate to say this but im really looking forward to this years COD unlike previous COD LOL


This is a real overhaul, graphics, gameplay etc


I almost shat my pants watching this as its so damn good. I am ready to give COD another chance.

hellknight40000
hellknight40000

The visuals do actually look great (I'm assuming that demo is running on PC?), but the gameplay still looks just like... standard CoD. I haven't bought a Call of Duty since Black Ops, and I don't know if this will change my mind. 

AyatollaofRnR
AyatollaofRnR

Seems like it might have the standard COD roller coaster kind of campaign. Mind you done right that's not a bad thing.

djsimpson95
djsimpson95

Derping in COD is not as fun as in Battlefield

PyreofKoL
PyreofKoL

The visuals look good. I loved the detail on Ghosts and this will probably be the same quality, but...it's just hard to get excited. I got Ghosts simply to have something to play on my X1 when I first got it and traded it in later toward Titanfall, especially after the whole "only two players locally" thing. Advanced Warfare has an interesting looking new direction but I don't know if it'll be enough to make this worth going after, especially with so many good single player experiences dropping in the weeks preceding the game. 

ParanoidPaal
ParanoidPaal

Wow, this game looks gorgeous. Very impressive graphics for sure. Glad to see CoD get a new engine. Seemed to run on the same engine (albeit slightly modified from each game) since Call of Duty 4.

badlalo59
badlalo59

I remember Glen Scofields image in the 1st Dead Space.

justicar_1
justicar_1

It looks very interesting, even though I'm not a fan of the COD series. I still don't consider it high priority on my list of must have games.

nazgoroth
nazgoroth

From one side... it looks interesting, from the other. Every other cod before this looked interesting as well... and they pretty much all sucked.

edussz
edussz

I'm a COD hater nowaday... And I gotta say... It actually impressed me... Liked the futurist feel... We'll see...

warriors30
warriors30

The game looks amazing but I don't know if I need to play it...the jetpack grenades looked cool though.

aquoon_0nly
aquoon_0nly

I'm gonna be hated for what im gonna say but: 

sometimes when i read a book i DONT wanna decide what the protagonist is gonna do, i like to read and be surprised. 

Sometimes i want free will, other i wanna hear/read/seea good story just there, happening, like a tale or something.

This is why i disagree with his last comment, 

some games are better off with scripted-campaigns

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

If you look very closely underneath the article, at .0005 font it reads:

"Ghostwritten by Activision."

LordCrash88
LordCrash88

The stuff shown during the MS conference looked extremely boring...

OneStrong2
OneStrong2

One thing I learned: it looks nearly the same as any other call of duty. 

Trickymaster
Trickymaster

I really like the graphical improvements. It looks more next-gen to me now. I wonder if they can keep it at 60 fps. The pace of the game seems to have changed a little. They seem to take it slow. CoD fans might get mad about that.

aquoon_0nly
aquoon_0nly

If it's a open sandbox its bad because it doesnt have a story, 

if it's linear with a story it's bad because it's not free to do what you want.

You cant have both in the same game mode.

4kgamer_lmxxx
4kgamer_lmxxx

This threads tells me two things:


1. People are going to continue bitching about COD for as long as it exists.


2. Millions of COD fans are going to continue playing COD games as long as they keep coming.


My point: Play what you enjoy and stop bitching about things that doesn't concern you.


P.S. I'm not a COD fanboy or hater. 

Bowser05
Bowser05

The last CoD I bought was MW2...and that was for 10 bucks. That being said, this one is certainly catching my eye. Let's see what happens, but I'm definitely hoping this turns out more exciting than the last few entries. Sledgehammer, I hope you pleasantly surprise me!

Nubino
Nubino

shitting shitting bashing every single comment is same because people are limited with the brain to make difference between developers and developers..'its same about titanfall,crysis,halo etc..'-really? come on..of course every game is a pretty similar to others,because the world of developed games on the field is huge..i'm not a call of duty fan so much,neither battlefield,but i have a reason to make a difference about those games,and this game.Many games are similar but at the end differrent..call of duty have always been more arcade shooter with fast play,instead of more tactical..that's why haters were born,because that was the mark of the series which they put in every year,but now it's a bit different..you wanted the f***ing difference , now you got it and let's spit before its even fully shown.Learn to appreciate the things.

ops31337
ops31337

If you play COD you are no longer considered a gamer.

Razor10000
Razor10000

cod singleplayer is always good but not reason enough to buy the game. all i want to know is if the multiplayer is different, because if it´s the same copy paste multiplayer, then it´s another cod game to skip. 

Niner0
Niner0

The campaign will be lackluster, as it always is with shooters like this. I'm interested in how the multiplayer pans out, haven't liked the multiplayer component since MW2, and that one was not as good as MW1 (which was so full of cheaters at the time that I played MW2 anyway).

FLEEBS
FLEEBS

People compare this to Crysis and Titanfall, but I see more similarities to Halo, personally. Minus the Covenant, of course.

greaseman1985
greaseman1985

I'm not a Call of Doody fan but I don't agree with your third point.  You don't get the freedom to do whatever the hell you want to do in the games because when you're a soldier in the military you don't get to do whatever the hell you want to do. I know the whole open world do whatever you want at your own pace crap that is overtaking all aspects of gaming is all the rage now, but for all the hate CoD gets, its refreshing to still have games that do follow a linear path and keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.

pezzott1
pezzott1

Since MW1, this is the first COD game that has my attention. Really considering getting this. 


People are comparing this to Crysis but this exoskeleton is actually VERY similar to a existing military mechanically augmente prototype.


btw awesome graphics... only thing its missing is large maps and vehicles in its multiplayer. :P

ascendedcobra
ascendedcobra

Well it looks like a lot of toys I would love to play with in real life. This kind of tech could already be in development for real. I for one am glad that they are putting future tech in. Makes it more interesting to me. I mean there are dozens of games that keep it real. Thats why we play video games...to do stuff you can't do in real life.

mikethemonster
mikethemonster

Looks promising, but I'm usually not that into futuristic sci-fiish games. I used to like CoD a lot (up to BLOPS II) (i thought Ghosts was a better game, BLOPS II was too fast paced). Not that I hate CoD, I just prefer a more realistic feeling storyline (like the MW series). This just doesn't look like CoD, but if they gave it a other name i'm pretty sure it could've spawned it's own series... And the fact that people are comparing Cod AW to Crysis Killzone Titanfall and Halo is kinda uncalled for. It's like saying all sci-fi games are the same. Hope MP is better than BLOPS II and Ghosts.



siphr
siphr

Oh look at that yet another DLC bundled and sold as a new CoD game. Yay!

Arsonaire
Arsonaire

Definitely a more attractive offering than B Hardline.

kjobo
kjobo

It looks much better than ghosts. That's one thing that turned me off on cod. They recycled the same engine for 8 years. This looks like a total overhaul.

chris120379
chris120379

Agreed, just give us some amazing characters, a nice storyline and a bunch of cool weapons to beat the living crap outta the enemy. And please, next gen graphics.

smackdowner360
smackdowner360

@OneStrong2 Your blind then if thats what you think?I hate cod havnt bought a cod game since 2007 but advance warfighter looks amazing.What ive seen so far is next gen finally and cant wait to see more.

4kgamer_lmxxx
4kgamer_lmxxx

@aquoon_0nly Actually we can have it both ways. Far Cry 3 accomplished that and Far Cry 4 seems to be aiming to top even that.


I'm not saying that COD needs to do that though, COD fans like it the way it is right now, so the devs shouldn't risk it with any major changes in gameplay style.

nickske1
nickske1

@Nubino They cannot appreciate things, because for them there can only be 1 game and ALL the other games are either stupid, boring, too expensive or a rip off. It's like they cannot have fun playing other games. I really don't look at others anymore. If a game looks fun for ME I will play it, I don't care what other people say. And I think we have A LOT of potentially good games coming up. Perhaps this one included.

TacticaI
TacticaI

Please, like you paid for somebody's else's game, kindly shut the hell up.

cmartin254
cmartin254

@ops31337  Why? Because you don't enjoy the game series?


Hey guys if you drive a Chevy Corvette on the track, your not really a driver... 

CaveManCobb
CaveManCobb

@Razor10000 "Always good". Sure. I can tell you the plot of every COD single player in the same breath. 

dancthorpe
dancthorpe

@Arsonaire Why? It looks exactly the same as MW3 but with Neon guns. Helicopter crashes at the start of a game have been done to death. Its a re-skin if anything, Hardline at least tries out an entirely new arena.

aquoon_0nly
aquoon_0nly

@4kgamer_lmxxx infamous you can do that too, but only one at a time, play the missions or go havoc around the city. but it is really hard to find a game that do this and do it good

ccusick
ccusick

@nickske1 @Nubino Maybe GameSpot can put in a filter so that the thread will only display comments made by users over a certain age that I select?  

People over a certain age no longer think it's fun to bust on "your mom" just like potty humor goes away after elementary school.   Boys will be (fan)boys, but ..... Can I filter them out?! Please?

xenus_13
xenus_13

@dancthorpe @Arsonaire Yes, this is a more futuristic CoD and that is the selling point here but I agree...it is still just CoD from what I've seen. It doesn't pretend it is anything else. I don't however, think battlefield has come leaps and bounds either from the gameplay I saw for hardline. Just same battlefield game with cops and robber skins. 


If they made it a bit more personal like on the same level as Payday series and then add some expansion...game worth getting. But seeing a 32 player game with buildings falling and loads of destruction...for a cash heist...nah. I can't buy into that. Property damage alone would cost more than the loot.