Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
This isn't your granddad's Call of Duty!
OK, since the franchised only started back in 2003, I guess I should say this isn't your older brother Leon's Call of Duty. Because what started as a WWII first-person shooter has now battled its way through Modern Warfare and on into the high-tech future of massively armed global conflicts.
Now, if you're relying on the movies for any idea of what war might look like some 40 or 50 years down the road, you might have the notion that it will be all about super-duper computers, outrageously obliterating weaponry and armies full of remotely controlled new-age warbots. But Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare says that ain't gonna be so. It's version of futuristic armed conflict is still all about the bravery, blood and guts of very human soldiers ... along with super-duper computers and outrageously obliterating weaponry.
A World at War ... With Kevin Spacey?
This game's single-player tale focuses on a world that looks pretty familiar. There are military conflicts scattered around the globe, and America is still the primary (if politically dysfunctional) powerhouse it is today. In this version of things, however, private military companies are being hired by governments to fight their wars for them. In fact, one company in particular, called the Atlas Corporation, controls the most well-equipped and largest standing army anywhere.
Gamers play as a U.S. Marine named Jack Mitchell. We follow him through an opening skirmish in Seoul, Korea, where Mitchell not only loses his lifelong friend Will Irons, but he ends up losing his left arm, too. Mitchell's fighting days aren't quite over yet, though. Will just happened to be the son of the man who owns Atlas Corp. And while at his boy's funeral, Jonathan Irons approaches Mitchell to offer him an amazing new robotic prosthetic arm and a second chance at being the soldier he was meant to be.
From there Mitchell works his way through a series of covert and overt missions that will impact the future of nations all over the planet. Of course there's a dreaded terrorist in the mix. He's named Hades, and he's making some massively deadly moves. And, well, the charismatic Jonathan Irons (voiced by and modeled after actor Kevin Spacey) isn't quite the upright good guy he claims to be.
Next-Gen Gamer (I Mean Soldier)
Being a Call of Duty game, though, it's actually what happens in those dozen or so campaign missions that's of importance here. That's where the game gives us a real sense of what it means by Advanced Warfare. With typical CoD speed and battlefield precision, each mission features a unique next-gen warring gadget that adds a dash of "future feel" to the proceedings.
An exoskeleton suit, for instance, lends improved strength and the ability to leap and dodge in the midst of fire in ways that gamers never could in past franchise games. And a prosthetic arm's built-in grappling hook lets you dart around corners and zip up to rooftops as you home in on enemies or latch onto and disable overhead aircraft with Superman-like ease. Threat Grenades, when thrown, highlight all enemies in a given area, allowing them to be pinpointed even through solid walls.
In a way, then, those gadgets and gizmos turn you into that new-age warbot I mentioned before. You become a beefed-up battler who can better plant explosive charges, provide suppressing gunfire, man that gun turret, fly that jet, gather that intel, kick down that door, blow up that watercraft, and do everything else that would normally be required of an advanced Call of Duty soldier.
All those cool, newfangled doodads don't change things all that much when it comes to the messy side of things. In that bloody sense, this game is pretty similar to your older brother's version—only this one comes with a new next-gen console's crystal-clear detail. (Which means you see every drop of briny blood and bit of brain matter.)
This is still and always will be a game of intensely furious firefights with realistic-feeling gunfire and many, many frenetic kills. As f- and s-words (and other vulgarities and profanities including Jesus' name) fly, enemies fall all around you, screaming in pain, burning, getting blown to bits by huge explosions. And all you do about it is lash out with everything from grenades and shotguns to energy weapons and rail guns. Men are kicked, punched, rifle butted and hit by speeding vehicles. In fact, leaping on to a speeding truck or hovercraft (from, say, a speeding bus roof) and taking out the driver or pilot by splattering his brains on the windshield is now a regular option.
Up-close stealth kills involving a snapped neck or a slashed open throat are doled out to both friend and foe. We see tied-up men brutally executed, a painful torture scene, some blown-open bodies with exposed organs, realistic-looking corpses with ripped-up flesh, and a visceral skirmish that leaves a man's arm laying in a pool of blood as his body is dragged away.