Slightly more progress made with Advanced Warfare this evening, and with progress comes problems. It’s still good, don’t worry ’cause this ain’t Ghosts, but a few cracks are starting to appear. I still have hope that they’re my fault being rusty to the series and that some level progression and reimmersion can make it all better, but the caution levels have been raised.
Last night’s session allowed me to dive into the campaign for a bit and let me reiterate my thoughts from yesterday – this game is stunning! Mr. Spacey hasn’t made his first appearance yet of course, but even putting aside the eager anticipation of seeing a known actor rendered in such HD goodness, there’s a whole game going on around that hook. Opening up the campaign is a typical COD cut scene, you are being inserted into a hostile South Korea, which has been invaded by the North. start to finish the lighting and visuals just kept flooring me. I will nitpick and **SPOILER** point out that the visuals of the landing pod colliding with the two skyscrapers were a little too basic up against everything else **SPOILER** but this is a new engine alright, this is next generation console gaming.
The game play in the campaign is still COD with the two notable additions of boost strafing and landing assist. The former is as the name suggests, your exo suit allowing you to strafe at lightning speed. It’s awkward to handle though and unless required I can’t see me using it too much. The latter is somewhat cooler, allowing you to go all Magneto á la X-Men and glide with authority to your desired destination. I haven’t had much opportunity to use this in a combat situation yet but I can see it being very useful. These are two small things but they are the obvious changes COD needed. Until now we have had one, maybe two moments where we were asked to rappel, parachute or something else. It is only logical that ten years on from when it all started these type of character movements would become commonplace. Kudos to Sledgehammer Games for taking a move that I am sure others have toyed with and abandoned in the past. Overpower your players and your game becomes too easy, do it right though and your game goes down in history.
But back to the multiplayer. Ah, it’s annoying to say the least. Last night I tackled a game of Domination. I’ve judged previous COD games on launch week by a very superficial and reactionary method – whether or not I nab a killstreak in my first handful of games. It’s ridiculous, I know, but if I go 7 – 30 for my first ten games but somewhere amidst all that if I score one of the class killstreaks I just get that little introduction to some of the new multiplayer bells and whistles and it piques my interest a little. I guess that’s the measure of a COD player you’re dealing with here. Well sure enough second game in and I start with a good run of form (after once again waiting little or no time for host connection etc.). Then it all went a little downhill. Those campers I remarked don’t exist anymore? Ah they do yeah. Except now they have means to get on top of a roof in seconds and don’t need the protected corners they so loved in previous games. But I still have far more of a fighting chance against them than I ever have before. I’m getting that feeling of balance that hasn’t existed since Black Ops and I’m loving it. Still not my best game, but for the first time in a good while, on day two, I’m still eager to play the latest COD. I’ll take that.
Very quickly on load outs and such, we now have Pick 13, a natural evolution from Black Ops 2’s Pick 10 system. Of course I’ve nothing unlocked at this point, but hands down the class and load out system was the best innovation in Treyarch’s last outing and it is making a welcome and improved return here. My one final nitpick is that, being at the mercy of 5MB broadband until next week, the second half of my Domination match lagged out to no end on me. Fair enough, I’m using cave man standard broadband. But weren’t we supposed to be ushered into the era of dedicated servers with the Xbox One? I’ll chalk it up to being launch week and hope that’s all it is.
Image courtesy of streetdojo.com