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The Call of Duty tradition of the multiplayer reveal event has become a highly anticipated day not only for fans but also for those that want to be proven wrong about the franchise. In recent years, it is easy to hate the series because of a new game coming out every year, no originality in these iterations, too mainstream and so on. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is of course no exception being the first next-gen lead entry for the franchise and Sledgehammer Games’ debut at the helm with a lot of expectations to impress both fans and casual players. As I kept watching today’s multiplayer reveal, my concerns for this sequel kicked in, mainly whether or not “more” is becoming too much. There was simply too much information to consume along with the comparisons to recent shooters, but the absurd amount of customization is becoming more of an issue than a bullet point.
From the trailer above, you can notice one of the major improvements for multiplayer this year, which is mobility. Mobility has been become the new trend in progression for first-person shooters today that started with Respawn’s Titanfall. It is no surprise that Call of Duty had to make movement a big focus with Advanced Warfare and it shows with the exoskeleton’s options. Double jumping or “boost jumping” is the big addition along with dashing side to side like any character action game. Exo abilities that have their own meters are also customizable from cloaking, hovering, and a riot shield. While the movement options won’t have wall running or hanging as seen in Titanfall, verticality is still arguably the biggest change that Call of Duty players have to adjust to.
As the multiplayer reveal event rolled on, I kept seeing one of my biggest issues with Call of Duty: Ghosts’ multiplayer, which was the health system. In Ghosts, it was mostly one shot kill town with barely no chance to breathe. From what I seen so far today, that hasn’t changed with Advanced Warfare. Will you have time to react and attempt to counter back if being shot from behind or the side? That wasn’t the case with Ghosts and the same can be for this year’s game if changes aren’t made. As the old saying goes, don’t hate the player, hate the game when it comes to moments like I what just mentioned.
My biggest worry with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer is the absurd amount of customization options. If there is one thing Respawn did right with Titanfall that I loved, it is that it follows the “less is better than more” philosophy. Sure, there’s still plenty of options especially now with the recent additions it got, which I have been playing thanks to the new Frontier’s Edge maps, but Sledgehammer saying over a billion options for customization for Advanced Warfare is too much to think about. Sure, it is still about shooting opposing players in the head at the end of the day, but there needs to be more simplicity when it comes to loadouts. Maybe that’s just me just wanting to jump into the action as fast as possible like the classic shooter days rather than spending minutes on changing loadouts, perks and other customizable stuff.
The new Supply Drop “loot” system and expanding Black Ops 2’s Pick 10 to Pick 13 are just examples of the “more is becoming too much” approach with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer. Other than the normal leveling progression, players can gain loot completing specific challenges and at certain time intervals being matches. These range from rare weapon attachments, gear for your character, and Reinforcements, which is their take on Titanfall’s one-time use burn cards. The Pick 13 system basically gives you more points to spend on more perks, score streaks, exo abilities and more. Speaking of score-streaks, there are co-op ones now as a demo of a two players controlling a Warbird drone on the sky mowing down the competition. There are players that are already fans of more depth with being able to have more in their loadouts, but personally these systems can become more of a curse than a blessing.
Four maps were debuted in the reveal event today. Two of the maps already have the three lane design layout with Riot and Ascend. Riot takes place in a wrecked prison facility while Ascend is set in a space elevator terminal. Biolab is set in a secret laboratory out with the snow. The more impressive looking map shown today was Defender (pictured above), which takes place in San Francisco near the Golden Gate Bridge where a tsunami happens mid-match affecting the map completely. The dynamic maps were an idea Infinity Ward touched on last year with Ghosts, but only a couple of them actually took advantage of it. Hopefully Sledgehammer Games expand on the concept in Advanced Warfare’s other maps.
As far as modes are concerned, the staples such as Team Deathmatch, Domination, Kill Confirmed, and Search & Destroy are in but some modes from past games are returning to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Hardpoint and Capture the Flag are back along with War, newly called Momentum. Momentum has teams competing for five consecutive capture points, which was a bit similar to another objective based mode back in the Halo series. The other new mode announced so far is Uplink, where teams have to bring a neutral satellite drone back to their uplink station to score points. You can’t use weapons while holding the drone and the way to score is throwing to the station for one point or by dunking it for two.
Some of the changes Sledgehammer Games have been implementing to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare are necessary steps forward for the series from the improved mobility, more dynamic maps hopefully, features catering to the competitive and e-sports communities, and the customization options. However, I still have concerns for this year’s multiplayer iteration, mainly the health system being similar to Ghosts from what I seen so far with the one shot kills. The other worry revolves around the absurd amount of customization that is too much to think about. Sure, it is nice that the options are there, but for the sake of accessibility, I want to jump into the fray as fast as possible spending less time changing my loadouts and more on the matches at hand.
With the three year development cycle and more time to learn and perhaps copy from the competition, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has it takes to be more than a “flavor of the month” shooter the series has been known for years. We’ll see if the success continues as the sequel comes out on November 4th for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Playstation 3 and PC. Fans will want to pre-order for the Day Zero edition where you get early access to the game one day before it’s official release along with double XP for multiplayer and more goodies.