Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer hands-on

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I will be perfectly honest. The last Call of Duty I dedicated a fair amount of time to was Black Ops, way back in 2010. I hadn’t really paid any attention to the upcoming entry, at least not until I was whisked off to the multiplayer reveal, shortly after landing in Cologne, Germany. Will this be the entry that shakes up the formula?

Multiplayer Overview

The first big noticeable change in this entry is obviously the time period.Black ops 2 gave us a small teaser of possible tech in the future, the year 2025.  Advanced Warfare takes things further, to the year 2054. What this means is new tech, new weapons, and new combat possibilities. Say hello to the Exoskeleton, your means of traversing the map as you wish. Verticality really takes new meaning in Advanced Warfare, as you are incredibly mobile compared to previous iterations.

There is access to boost capabilities, and they can take you in just about any direction. It’s possible to do a boost jump, followed by a boost dash for example. Mobility isn’t all the Exoskeleton has on offer, there are also various utilities. Players will gain access to abilities such as hover, cloak, and shield, and all run on a limited energy source so as to not be overpowered.

One annoying part of entries for me was always the item progression. In my eyes, it rewarded the vets, giving them the advantage over newcomers. Advanced Warfare changes that somewhat. Players can receive supply drops. These are rewarded for how much time players invest, as opposed to how well they play the game. The items within can be anything from a new weapon through to a cosmetic item. They are also ranked according to their rarity; Enlisted, Professional, and Elite.

Possibly one of my favourite additions is the virtual firing range. Unlocked a weapon that you want to test  out quickly? The virtual firing range loads instantly between games, allowing you to quickly test different weapons and accompanying scopes.

What would Call of Duty be without the usual perks and kill-streaks? They are all still there, but their uses and such are all determined by how you choose to loadout. Remember the Pick 10 system? Advanced Warfare makes use of Pick 13. Essentially, you get a limited amount of points to spend on whatever you want. If you’re a killing machine, you may choose to customise your kill streak rewards to compliment your rampage – at the cost of some perks or maybe some nifty weapon attachments.

If like me, you are terrible and never reach such killing potential, you can instead drop kill streaks (or not equip so many) and spend your points on other important weaponry or gear. Cosmetics have also received some loving. Players are no longer just a tag. All sorts of gear can be unlocked and equipped, which will be showcased in the lobby for other players to view.

Hands-on Time

The above really is just a bare overview of some of the more noticeable changes. How does the game play though? I got access to 4 revealed multiplayer maps, all with a variety of gameplay modes. There are some familiars there, such as Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, and Hardpoint.

The maps are as follows:

  • Bio Lab – Perfect for close quarters combat indoors, but room for some medium to long range outside. There are chemical containers moving throughout the map. When used correctly, they can cause all kinds of chaos for enemy soldiers.
  • Riot – A nice prison themed map. Much like a typical prison environment (not that I’d know), inside is very narrow, allowing for some crazy gunplay, whereas outside provides a more controlled environment.
  • Ascent – This map is set in a space elevator terminal. It makes for some crazy capture the flag gameplay, as there are 3 lanes to navigate.
  • Defender – This map is set in the shadow of the Golden Gate. It is a medium sized map. What sets it apart though is that a tsunami will occur every now and then, forcing players to react accordingly.

There is one new additional game mode in the form of Uplink. Think of it as basketball. You have to pick up an orb, and carry it to the enemy base to score. While carrying it, you can’t shoot, but you can pass it to allies. Funnily enough, you can throw it at enemies too, disarming them as they are forced to carry it. This makes for an easy kill, and it is incredibly entertaining. I quite liked this mode, I can see it being a favourite. I quite enjoyed my time with each map and the various game modes. What makes the game undoubtedly different are the new movement options.

I initially felt like there was some kind of inspiration from Titanfall, but it feels new. The boost jump isn’t just some nancy bonus height. You really feel it! It makes traversing the maps so much more enjoyable, as you aren’t just left sprinting on the same level. Strafing also gets the same love, with the ability to make quick movements in a specific direction thanks to a quick press of the left analogue stick. Admittedly, I am a keyboard warrior, so the movement felt a little alien to me, but I’d imagine console gamers will feel right at home. I can’t wait to see how this movement is implemented on PC.

The maps are purposefully designed so this new movement can take advantage of it. You soon learn the ins and outs, and the ups and downs.  What makes the movement even better is the ability to change direction mid air. I know sniping is almost frowned upon in the genre, at least on those who camp forever. I will gladly commend those who can nail a perfect shot on a target that is moving that fast, and changing direction so rapidly.

We will have some gameplay footage up soon so you can see me failing horribly for yourself. Genuinely, I had no eyes on this game. I think I have both firmly fastened now.

Last Updated: August 11, 2014

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