As the new Call of Duty game is closing in, Vanguard, we decided to give a shot to some previous CoDs we, to be completely honest, haven’t even played till this day.
Developed by Sledgehammer Games, Vanguard received its launch trailer today, and while we wait for it, here are some of our thoughts about the first CoD game Sledgehammer developed on its own.
Once upon a time, while the PS3 was still a next-generation console, I played almost every Call of Duty that came out for it, everything from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare to Call of Duty: Ghosts. Since I had the status of a kind of CoD veteran on the PS3 at the time, I thought that now, after several years of gaming retirement, I could continue where I left off. Although CoD and I didn’t really break up in a nice way. Back in 2013, I played Call of Duty Ghosts, which to this day is not only the worst Call of Duty for me but also one of the worst FPS games I’ve ever played.
And now, in 2021, I decided to finally continue with the first one I didn’t play – Advanced Warfare. And first of all, I’m glad to say that the game is much better than Ghosts. But it should also be said that it is not even close to the level of elite CoDs like Modern Warfare 2 or Black Ops 2 (underrated CoD that I hold very dear). The plot of the game goes from 2054 onwards and in the center of the story is Jack Mitchell, a former Marine who remained in his last action without a hand and a best friend. After being discharged from the army, he is given the second chance to be a soldier again for the private military company Atlas run by the father of his late friend.
Now, it’s important to point out that AW is a typical Call of Duty, and thus it can be seen that most of the elements are “borrowed” from some previous CoD titles. And given the futuristic setting, AW made an effort to add even more modern technology than Black Ops 2 did, but to a much greater extent that the game has now completely turned into an interactive sci-fi movie. Just in terms of technology and weapons, I have to admit that AW seemed to me very inspired by James Cameron’s Avatar.
Modern technology has been used for some new gameplay elements such as an exo-suit that gives you certain advantages during the fight, boost jumps with a jetpack, and grapple gun with which, like Batman, you can quickly climb to a position that’s out of your reach. However, it should be emphasized that some gamers (like me) who are accustomed to the previous, so to speak, simpler CoDs, might now even use these new gameplay elements unless when they’re unnecessary for the completion of the mission.
Namely, players of older CoDs will still prefer to just take a rifle, run out into the clearing and shoot at anything that moves. This also brings us to the artificial intelligence that is the classic Call of Duty – it consists of enemies who attack in groups and mostly serve you as cannon fodder. Although in most cases the Rambo tactic (headless running and random shooting) works, it is necessary to warn of some slightly tougher enemies that require more bullets and more precise shooting to fall (which reminded me a lot of Killzone).
AI comrades are there more to tell the story and tell you what to do, but in the fight itself, they are quite inefficient, which is actually quite fine, because CoD players are also used to actually do most of the work themselves in each mission. And let’s not forget to mention the good old stealth missions that are an indispensable CoD element.
As for the story itself, although it is not innovative, it is interesting enough and easy to follow. And great praise goes to the excellent voice-acting, as well as the design of the animated cut-scenes. Now, although the cut-scenes are well done and the faces of the characters are fantastically recreated, which shows a very solid graphics engine, in the missions themselves the graphics are somehow empty and do not seem to be at their maximum. But at least that’s why there is no lack of very fun shooting mechanics and explosion effects that never stop. This brings us to the next thing – the mission.
Let’s be clear, the missions aren’t boring by any means, but you should know that most of them are designed according to the classic CoD template. The story will take you to various locations around the globe, but the location of almost every mission will almost immediately remind you of some older mission from previous CoDs. To me personally, almost all the urban missions that took place downtown felt strongly similar to the mission in Los Angeles from Black Ops 2.
But still, high-budget elements like the great mission on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco are to be commended. So while there may be a lack of innovation, the action never stops. Also, I would commend the two missions located in Greece and Antarctica, even though the latter is actually very reminiscent of the good old Cliffhanger from Modern Warfare 2.
Finally, the duration of the game should be considered. I played it yesterday for the first time in my life, and I finished it (at regular difficulty and a little slower pace) in just seven hours, which is really sickly short. Still, the CoDs never even insisted on some marathon single-player campaigns, and the story has a solid beginning and the end so we can say that’s justified. After all, the game is longer and more fun than Ghosts, which I finished for the first time in about two and a half to three hours, and once I got to the end, I never turned it on again.
At the end, Advanced Warfare is quite okay. While there’s nothing innovative or anything that would make me point it out from that dense CoD bush, the game is still beautiful, dynamic, and fun, so if nothing else, it’s a great solution for one boring afternoon.