Sledgehammer Games introduces their first entry into the Call of Duty series with Advanced Warfare. The development team is part of a new three-year cycle with Infinity Ward and Treyarch and they have been tasked with repairing the damage that last year’s entry to the series, Call of Duty: Ghosts, did to hardcore fans of the Call of Duty brand. Ghosts became boring quickly in the eyes of many fans; featuring bland and un-innovative gameplay which did not hold the attention of players. Advanced Warfare is seeking to fix that.

Sledgehammer have taken a completely different approach to anything done by Infinity Ward or Treyarch before, introducing new high-tech exo-skeletons to the game to allow players to jump to new heights and move around in tactical ways not possible before. This adds a lot of new versatility to the campaign and multiplayer experience, certainly freshening up the gameplay in some way. Of course, this means that the game runs at a lot faster pace, resulting in it feeling like one of the most action-packed Call of Duty games in memory.

Multiplayer maps in Advanced Warfare are built around the exo suit. Fast routes from point to point will only be found through using the powers of the various exo skeletons on offer in the game; a ground route will take a lot longer to traverse. Also, the map design leaves everything a lot more open, so camping on Advanced Warfare’s maps has become very difficult. Almost all places on the map which are reachable can be reached from different methods, leaving the player vulnerable to attack.

As a result, the multiplayer feels fresh and less predictable. This is a small addition to the gameplay of the series, but it makes a massive difference to how the game plays out. Gameplay feels more fast-paced and less safe than ever. The exo suit also allows a certain amount of customisation with perks and abilities. You can kit out your exo with time-limited invisibility, faster health regeneration and other special perks. These abilities recharge on death, so, make sure to keep them for an important occasion which could save you from dying!

Pick 13 is the custom class system used in Advanced Warfare, and is very similar to Black Ops 2’s Pick 10 system. This gives you greater control over what you want in your custom class, for example, whether you would like an extra perk or extra grenade over a secondary weapon at an extra cost. Killstreaks are also customisable and can be converted to support streaks (carry forward on death) rather than classic killstreaks. Character customisation has also been included with Advanced Warfare. Overall, the game offers one of the best customisation suites of all Call of Duty titles thus far.

A great addition to the game is also the firing range. Now, when you create a new class, you can quickly jump into the firing range and test your loadout without going against human enemies. This lets you check your custom options against targets very quickly and easily.

All of the popular game modes you would expect have been carried forward. Uplink is one of the new game modes which has been added to Advanced Warfare. Uplink is custom-tailored to the exo suits added to the game and involves throwing a spherical satellite device into a floating target in the air, but extra points can be gained by running into this target. This game mode allows excellent use of the new exo abilities, and is a lot of fun to play. I highly recommend trying it out!

The campaign also benefits greatly from the addition of the exo skeletons. Some unique missions have been created which feel new and enjoyable to experience, unlike the repetitive Call of Duty campaigns we have had in recent releases. In terms of innovation, level design and uniqueness, Advanced Warfare presents one of the best Call of Duty single player campaigns ever. However, the game falls short on its story.

The story behind Advanced Warfare is very predictable and isn’t all that enjoyable. This is disappointing, as the game tries and succeeds at being more deep than some of its predecessors at times. For example, there are extended periods of the game without any shooting, which allows the story to feel like more than just an all-out action war game. However, the disappointing story behind the tale behind the campaign fails to leave a good impression overall.

Graphically, Advanced Warfare performs excellently. The textures are high-quality, lighting is great, backgrounds and levels look vivid and detailed and characters look fantastic. Dialogue, music and sound effects are all what you would expect from a Call of Duty game and complete their job well.

To conclude, Advanced Warfare is a game which presents an excellent multiplayer experience with a lot of innovations. While the campaign falls flat on the story, it manages to create some outstanding moments of gameplay and action, and brings the series forward in a few other ways. Sledgehammer have created a fresh, exciting Call of Duty game which improves on the disappointing Call of Duty: Ghosts from 2013.