'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' Multiplayer: How the Exoskeleton Changes Combat

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Multiplayer - Helicopter Attack


As promised, Activision took the stage in Cologne, Germany to give Gamescom attendees and livestreamers their first look at the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer in action. These multiplayer reveals have become an major event for Call of Duty over the past years, and Advanced Warfare's multiplayer debut was no different. Coming off the official reveal of AW a few months back, we had questions and new developer Sledgehammer Games had answers.

Of course, one of the major concerns we had going in to the reveal was the exoskeleton, and as a result Sledgehammer made it a major focus of their presentation. As you can see in the trailer above, the exoskeleton adds some fundamental changes to Call of Duty multiplayer gameplay, making players faster and more agile.

While some will be quick to write-off the exoskeleton as a Titanfall rip-off, the suit seems to offer more movement options than have ever been seen in a Call of Duty game before. Players can boost jump, boost dodge, boost jump, boost slam, and boost slide their way through the terrain, taking out enemies all along the way. The exoskeleton adds a new verticality to the multiplayer, but also makes matches faster-paced and seemingly more frenetic.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Multiplayer - Helicopter Attack

Additionally, the exoskeleton includes its own set of battery-powered abilities, like the trophy system (for destroying up to two mid-air grenades), a cloak, a shield, or a grenade launcher. Much like with the movement options, the exoskeleton's abilities help players on offense and on defense, albeit with some limitations.

The Pick 10 system has also been revamped into a new (gasp!) Pick 13 system for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Once again, players will have their pick of the litter, filling in up to 13 slots in any number of different ways. Like with Pick 10, Pick 13 doesn't require players fill every slot, but gives them the option to forgo certain items (like Scorestreaks or grenades) in favor of taking on a second attachment or another Scorestreak.

Speaking of Scorestreaks, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has added customizable scorestreaks to the mix for some added variety. Now players can tweak Scorestreaks, like the turret for example, to include new features like rocket ammo or the ability to rip the turret off its base. However, while players can customize their Scorestreaks to be more powerful or useful, that, in turn, also boosts the associated cost for unlocking the streak. So while it might cost 500 points to unlock the vanilla turret, unlocking a rocket turret might cost 600 points.

Customization also extends to Create-an-Operator system, which allows players to deck out their multiplayer combatant however they like. Call of Duty: Ghosts touched on player customization a bit, but Advanced Warfare seems to take things even further. No female soldiers were shown during the presentation, however.

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One of the big additions that might fly under the radar is the Virtual Firing Range, which can be pulled up at any time and lets players test out any weapon combination. Giving players a way to seamlessly test weapons — either mid-match or before initiating matchmaking — can make things a lot easier, especially with a reported 350+ weapon options in the game.

After getting much of the heavy lifting out of the way, Sledgehammer Games briefly touched on some of the new maps and modes that will be making it into Advanced Warfare. They were only ready to show off four maps today — Biolab, Riot, Ascend, and Defender — but each seemed to support the verticality of the exoskeleton while still retaining that inherent Call of Duty design sensibility.

An obvious standout was Defender, the San Francisco-set map that features a dynamic tsunami event. However, when the tide rises all hope is not lost, as players can now swim through the water to safety.

Call of Duty Advanced Warfare Multiplayer - Riot Gun

New modes on the docket for Advanced Warfare include old standards like Team Deathmatch and Kill Confirmed, as well as returning favorites like Search and Destroy and Hardpoint. There's also a new mode called Uplink that plays out almost like a game of virtual basketball where teams pass around a satellite and then score points by either throwing it (1 point) or boost jumping it (2 points) into a goal.

All in all, what Sledgehammer Games had to show instilled confidence that the developer won't be tinkering too hard with the base Call of Duty formula but they presumably won't be letting it get stale either. The exoskeleton is an obvious standout, as it has the potential to fundamentally change multiplayer matches, but with that comes some obvious questions about the exoskeleton being overpowered. We'll have to wait until the game releases in early November to test out those theories, but for now the multiplayer gauntlet has been set.

What do you think of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer? What do you like? What do you not like?

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare releases November 4, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.


Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina

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