To say that the annual release of Call of Duty is a major event would be to put it mildly. Gamers around the globe flock to the series like few others, ready to consume the next iteration’s single player campaign and sink hours into its multiplayer. Or at least they used to.
Now, gamers are a little more discerning of the Call of Duty franchise. They aren’t as easily swayed by the game’s big budget theatrics and the lack of multiplayer or graphical innovation has left a lot to be desired. It is for that very reason that Call of Duty reviews become even more important.
Unfortunately, since we have yet to get our hands on a copy of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare we can’t say whether or not this year’s game is worth picking up. However, several high profile outlets have played the game (as part of an Activision-run review event) and submitted their reviews for public consumption. And, surprisingly, it sounds like Advanced Warfare is a solid entry in the franchise. Read what critics are saying below:
Giant Bomb (Jeff Gerstman):
“Advanced Warfare doesn’t reinvent Call of Duty. It’s not the same dramatic shift that we saw when the series went from World War II to the modern era. Perhaps holding out hope for something as revolutionary as Modern Warfare was when it hit back in 2007 is foolish. Be that as it may, as someone who has been drifting further and further away from Call of Duty for the past few years, I can certainly say that Advanced Warfare’s mobility kept me interested much longer than Ghosts or Black Ops II has. It’s the best multiplayer the game has seen in some time and the whole thing totals up to a satisfying, if familiar experience.”
Polygon (Arthur Gies):
“Advanced Warfare shows what the series needed most was risk. But it might be too much to ask for that to change too. For whatever minor missteps Advanced Warfare makes with its story, it more than compensates with vision and remarkable execution. The latter has never really been Call of Duty’s problem — Ghosts notwithstanding — but Advanced Warfare adds enough and moves far enough forward with its new abilities to feel like a risk. Turns out, that’s just what the series needed.”
Gamespot (Miguel Concepcion):
“The huge change in player mobility is less of a paradigm shift and more of an overdue retooling for an 11-year-old FPS franchise, especially in a year of mobility-focused shooters. Yet for all its predictability, Advanced Warfare is a deluge of action-film bravado, and it’s difficult to not be carried away by its tidal forces.”
IGN (Brian Albert):
“Simply throwing a robot suit onto Call of Duty could have been a lazy path to making Advanced Warfare seem different from what we’ve played before, but the way Sledgehammer has integrated its enhanced abilities and choices into every aspect of how we fight went above and beyond. By designing the levels in the campaign, co-op, and multiplayer to facilitate those new mechanics, Advanced Warfare is granted a weight and importance that changes how Call of Duty feels in all three modes. This is a Call of Duty game to its core, but one that rehashes as little as possible while still retaining its strengths.”
Score: No Score Yet
Game Informer (Daniel Tack):
“Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s single-player campaign is a ridiculous summer movie romp with sobering visions of the future of weaponry. Bring popcorn, because the real fun begins with the multiplayer, where the wealth of customization options should have players coming back for game after game.”
Games Radar (Lorzeno Veloria):
“Multiplayer feels wonderfully fresh, thanks to the added agility of Exo Suit boosting. Sadly, though, co-op is unimaginative, and the story fails to satisfy when compared to previous installments.”
AusGamers (Steve Farrelly):
“There are options all over the place — asymmetrical multiplayer, open-world single-player, full narrative co-op, user-generated content, more use of vehicles off rails, grappling hooks in goddamned multiplayer… and so on. None of that is meant to lead you to believe this is a bad game — it’s the best Call of Duty since Modern Warfare and may in fact be better, but saying that isn’t because it’s changed the series’ formula the way that game did, rather that it’s refined it. And maybe that’s not the fault of any of the developers working on the game, and rests more squarely on the shoulders of the publisher who sets that beat I’ve talked so much about. Instead of a ‘best hits’ directive, maybe it’s time to change the tune altogether. “
Games Beat (Dean Takahashi):
“Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is worth your time. It delivers with its story, great acting, dialogue, the realistic facial animations, cool weapons of the future, and the welcome change in pacing from combat missions to stealth missions. I welcome the idea of using great actors like Spacey in a big-budget game, and I look forward to future versions of the game that marry Hollywood blockbuster actors with the blockbuster-style game play.”
Joystiq (Ludwig Kietzmann):
“Despite the familiarity, it’s been years since a Call of Duty campaign was as coherent and fast-paced as this one. Within the confines of its franchise, which has yet to make much room for a mature look at the subject matter, Advanced Warfare works with aplomb and, at the very least, plays its Big Dumb Movie card wisely. If you’re running out of bad guys, borrow some from Hollywood.”
National Post (Chad Sapieha):
“By bringing in a new developer with its own talent and fresh ideas, Activision has succeeded in shaking up its biggest franchise. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is undeniably distinctive within the Call of Duty family. But it might take a game or two for Sledgehammer to start delivering on the same scale as its sibling studios.”
In a lot of ways, Call of Duty is considered a review proof franchise. Those who are already set on buying the game, for example, do not need a review to influence their decision and can actually pick up the ‘Day Zero Edition’ right now. Similarly, there are those who deem Call of Duty reviews overly biased and therefore find little value in scores.
Even so, there are still gamers who will find these reviews helpful, especially after being burned by Ghosts. And for those gamers it sounds like Advanced Warfare is, by and large, worth the money.
Are you surprised by the scores for Advanced Warfare? Will you/have you picked up the game?
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare officially releases on November 4, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @ANTaormina