Call of Duty has been one of the, if not the greatest success stories in the history of gaming. The series was setting sales records with each subsequent release and the annual release of the next installment not only become a pop culture tradition but as traditional a part of November as the holidays that followed.
Released in 2013, Call of Duty: Ghosts did well but not as well as the previous game in the series which allowed some detractors to vent online that the series had reached the pinnacle of its success and was on the way down. Factors such as consumers waiting for the release of the PS 4 and Xbox One contributed towards the early sales being below the previous entry, as it is currently the best-selling game on the Next Generation systems but some claim it has not sold on par with the previous two entries in the series.
With an eye towards the future, Sledgehammer Games have taken up the task of the next chapter in the series with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. With three years of development time, the focus has not only been on improving the look and play of the game but in providing gamers new gameplay options and a story worthy of the series.
Set in the near future where defense contractors have become the ultimate power, players must take on a power mad individual played by Kevin Spacey to save the day.
During our preview at E3 2014 we started with the sequence that was shown during the Xbox One conference on Monday. In that we were able to see updated graphics, mechanized units, and interesting new weapons such as a grenade that players could cycle through various modes before deploying.
The second scenario started with a character addressing the audience and told us that the engine tech could show detail such as pupil dilation and more and was going to take the immersion experience to the next level.
Gameplay showed a pair of soldiers working in a stealth mission through the jungle. They were able to cloak using a tech that allowed them to see one another yet remain hidden from enemies. Enemies were dispatched in stealth as players made their way to a bunker while trying to evade a scanning unit and aerial units.
In the bunker, the game was vintage COD complete with the slow-motion combat sequence and infiltration in order to obtain and upload secret information. Upon completion, players had to fight their way to an area where they obtained an advanced hover tank and used it to fight troops, vehicles, and airships that attempted to block their escape.
While the gameplay is nothing revolutionary for fans of the series the greater level of detail and gameplay options did allow for some great moments in the gameplay.
The final segment we saw was set on the Golden Gate Bridge where enemy units attacked and the player and his allies were tasked with evacuating and protecting the civilians while taking on the enemy.
This was our first real glimpse of the exo skeletons in action as players were able to jump onto overturned busses and overhead signage to take on the enemy. Cycling grenades allowed hidden enemies to be displayed which was used to unleash an offensive assault in an effort to turn the tide of the battle.
While what I saw was nothing revolutionary and earth shaking, it was gorgeous to look at and looked like a lot of fun. While we do not know what the multiplayer aspects of the game will hold which has long been a staple for the franchise, the campaign does appear to be a dark and immersive tale with a larger than life bad guy that players will likely relish the thought of tracking down.
The new weapons and units appeared to do a good job with convincing players that this was the future although I did think of TitanFall a few times during a sequence involving a drop pod.
If this is a step in a bold new direction or more of the same remains to be seen but from a fans perspective, I am impressed by what I have seen to date.