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Sledgehammer Games
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Release Date:
November 4, 2014

The title “Call of Duty” invokes quite the array of responses when spoken aloud among a group of gamers. Steadfast cheers, unwavering and undiminished by the sour looks of distaste and even downright disgust, mingle together in a fascinating mélange of reaction. Perhaps there has never been a more controversial and polarizing IP in the history of the industry. This poses a serious difficulty when approaching a new review. Any good critic must be as objective as possible but how can one consciously ignore such a rich and crazy history?

Well, as Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is supposed to represent a fresh start for the aging franchise, I’m going to focus on the game in question. This isn’t about comparing and contrasting with previous installments; we have to see if the new CoD can stand on its own in a new generation. I say it can. It just doesn’t have the same impact as last generation’s Modern Warfare .

I admit I was suitably impressed with the graphics on display in the PlayStation 4 version. I haven’t seen the PS3 version but I understand the current-gen iterations make the last-gen versions look downright archaic. We are treated to quite the visual feast in the first few hours of campaign play; the backdrops are intense and unbelievably atmospheric, and the detailing and animation is top-tier. From the meticulously crafted facial expressions to the fantastic special effects, Advanced Warfare is a graphical tour de force that hits all the high points, and keeps on hitting them, again and again. The only downside is that, every now and then, this 1080p grandness does come at the cost of a few frames per second.

The sound hits your stereo system like a Mac truck going Mach 5. There’s a driving, ceaseless soundtrack that continually amps up the action, and the surrounding effects greatly enhance the immersion. The war zones you must traverse are loaded with beautifully gritty ambient audio, punctuated by the urgency and suddenness of deadly combat. As you might expect, with Troy Baker (Jack Mitchell) and Kevin Spacey (Jonathan Irons) leading the charge, the voice performances are excellent. Even some of the minor roles are extremely well-voiced. I will say, however, that the balancing isn’t perfect, and some of the effects that should’ve blown the roof off the house were just a touch too tinny.

Aside from these minor issues, Advanced Warfare passes the next-gen technical test with flying colors. The best part is that from the minute you start the campaign, you’re entranced. There’s just so much going on; the draw distances are far greater than ever before, the detailing and design is vastly superior, and the atmosphere is second-to-none. Yes, one could argue it’s just another military shooter and therefore, it’s going to be predictable and in turn, somewhat tiresome. I understand that sentiment because I’ve voiced it many times myself. At the same time, one has to acknowledge when a developer has done its job, and Sledgehammer has done exactly that.