It goes without saying that any Call of Duty game will likely be a hit in one way or another. The franchise is arguably one of the most successful in gaming history, and yet for quite some time their games have felt rather repetitive and similar when it comes to their gameplay, graphics, and sounds. Recently I attended EGX in London where I managed to get an exclusive hands-on preview with the latest installment in the franchise – Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
After being sat down in front of a rather large screen, I was given the opportunity to use the rather complex custom class-creation menu to fine-tune my guns and their add-ons. It felt slightly clinical and lacked interaction with games likes of Brink and Ghost Recon: Future Soldier providing us with far more interesting takes on the gun-customisation scene. It almost feels like Sledgehammer Games have rushed through some of the small er details that could easily be changed to make them more interesting.
Once in the game one major difference you will notice between AW and previous CoD’s is the fluidity of the movement of your character, and how smoothly he can go from a walking stance to a running stance alongside a major overhaul of the graphics engine that they are using.
Furthermore, the detail in the environment is unforgettable with surreal levels of preciseness surrounding even broken glass. There is also a significant improvement in the level of animation of character models and their faces over previous CoD titles. The animations themselves feel less mechanical and more natural in the way they move and transition from sentence to sentence.
Another beautiful feature is the new lighting system which displays some highly realistic and accurate global illumination properties with light bouncing off all surfaces, creating reflections, glows, and much more. The sun itself allows shadows to appear off all objects which yet again combine together to form an almost lifelike environment.
In terms of the gameplay, I was rather surprised at how intuitive the game felt when it came to running around and shooting. Yes it’s an FPS and at the end of the day that isn’t too different from its predecessors when it comes to the core gameplay, but it’s easy to distance yourself from previous titles by adding in too many features. It was easy to get up and running and after a few deaths I finally began getting into the game, learning how the patterns of movement in the map worked and how quickly my character was actually moving which allowed me to then change my course depending on the distances between me and my opponent.
The soundscape and audible environment are also immaculately designed with versatile noises to fully immerse you into the game along side situational-feedback over the walkie-talkie and versatile noises emerging from the various explosions happening around the map.
From time to time however I did experience a few glitches, one of which got me stuck on top of a gas canister leading me to ask one of the helpers to reset my character. Obviously the game still isn’t 100% finished, but we hope it is close to being finished by now considering the release date is just over a month away. There was also a rather odd running glitch that I kept bumping into which felt more like lag than anything although my network strength signal in the Player list was at full power. My player constantly staggered his position as I ran in a straight line and even other players had issues with killing me as they experienced the same problem.
I was also intrigued by the melee mechanic as on 6 separate occasions I was adjacent to an enemy player and clicked my right stick to initiate the lunge and yet each time it failed to even damage the enemy player. Every so often the jetpack would push me up onto the edge of a building which would then send me flying backwards until I hit the ground and died.
At the end of the day the jetpack mechanic is extremely cool regardless of the glitches and adds an extra element to the game which encourages more tactical gameplay which requires you to think more on your feet. It also means that your surroundings are far more dangerous and unstable as an enemy could suddenly bound out of no where and shoot you down.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised at how Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare performed considering its rather clichéd predecessors of a similar style, even though I can’t help but feel that it’s a Titanfall adaptation of the CoD franchise. However, they have finally broken the record that is the Call of Duty franchise by finally making some significant changes to the core mechanics. All we have to see now is how the diehard community will react to such radical changes, and if it’ll sway the record breaking trend that the franchise has had in the past one way or another.