I always feel obligated to play the Call of Duty series since I’m an aspiring video games journalist and I think I should at least be able to talk about the most popular franchise in video games right now. So since I recently got a PlayStation 4, I rented Advanced Warfare since I haven’t had any extended time with the newer Call of Duty games. The most recent COD game I’ve spent a lot of time with was Modern Warfare 3, specifically I played through the campaign. So I have some catch up to do, and I plan to rent other games in the franchise in the future, except for Infinite Warfare which I’ve tried via a demo on the PS Store. I played Advanced Warfare on my Twitch channel as the first episode of my new show, Rented Games LIVE, and you can watch the VOD on my YouTube channel or my Twitch channel if you’d like, but I also played some of it on my own time and I thought I would share my initial impressions.
I tried out the campaign, two missions on stream and three on my own time, and one match of multiplayer. I didn’t try out the Exo Survival mode, but I’ll get to that. Not much is different about the basic gameplay compared to previous entries in the franchise, which is both good and bad. Controls are still responsive, and everything runs at 60fps. The new Exo Suit abilities are cool and I like boosting around or slowing down time for more precise aiming. However, I wish there was a dedicated Exo Suit button. I forget about some abilities because I forget how to do them. Also, some abilities, like the dodge boost, are difficult to do, which means I usually don’t even use them. Also, I ultimately can afford to not use some of these new abilities because they don’t change the gameplay so drastically that they are necessary.
The story in the campaign, or what I saw across the first five missions, is fine for what it is, but it’s definitely lacking. There’s pacing problems and that mostly because the cut scenes either focus on one key moment or are montages to catch you up on what’s going on. Considering that the story likes to jump months and sometimes years, this makes it lack cohesiveness. The in-game dialogue doesn’t pick up the slack either since most of it deals with the mission at hand, or is military jargon not pertinent to the overarching plot. The gameplay itself is also lacking in that it’s the same old COD campaign, complete with QTEs, constricting linearity, and the NPCs doing most of the work for you. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad per se. I did have a decent time playing it. However, I’ve done this before, and just like back then, it’s nothing exceptional. Also, Kevin Spacey is in this game and he’s unfortunately phoning it in. Can’t blame him though. His character is not well fleshed out. I decided to watch the all the game’s cut scenes on YouTube and his character never gets better. I don’t even understand his motivations. But I’m rambling. Let’s move on.
Next is the multiplayer. I’ll say right now that I don’t like COD multiplayer because as someone who isn’t good at first person shooters, this series has never done anything to actually teach people how to play it. The campaign definitely doesn’t do the trick. So I typically get frustrated from constantly getting one or two hit killed and not learning why that happened. So I tried one match of Team Deathmatch, and even with the Exo Suit abilities, it was the same shit as before. One hit kills from camping snipers, plug a dude full of bullets but I die because he shoots me in the right spot, the list goes on. I wish there was some kind of training mode in COD. Even fighting games, another genre that doesn’t properly teach its players how to play, has a training mode. I guess playing with bots is sort of like training mode, but it doesn’t teach you how or why things work or don’t work.
Finally, I mentioned that I didn’t try Exo Survival. The reason being that every time I tried to play it, it would crash the game. One time it even hard crashed the console. I tried four times, two on stream, and two off stream. I never got in so I can’t comment on it. What I will say is I liked the zombies mode in Infinite Warfare so if it’s anything like that, I’m sure I would’ve enjoyed it. After the fifth mission in the campaign, I kept getting disc read errors so I’m going to return my rented copy. It’s rented so it’s probably has quite a bit of wear and tear. I still feel like I got a decent feel of the game to form an informal opinion. Overall, I actually did enjoy what I played in the campaign despite its flaws, but I would never pay full price for this. I’ll probably buy this when there’s a sale. I know a lot of people like this series and I can see why, but I just really wish the Call of Duty series would try something different. Like truly different, because this formula is past archaic at this point. I think that’ll be a topic for later though…