After seeing the multiplayer reveal for Call of Duty: Advance Warfare at this year’s Gamescom, it seems like Activision has finally recognized the need for the series to evolve to keep up with its competition. While mulitplayer was still fun, it sat stagnant for a little tool long. This new reveal shows that developer Sledgehammer is ready to stop recycling the same ideas with different buzzwords in a stale multiplayer experience, bringing instead a new multiplayer, and with it, new excitement.
I, for one, welcome the change to Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer, and here’s why.
Multiplayer is at it’s core
The core of Call of Duty is the multiplayer experience. Through its various updates, Call of Duty became the standard of first person shooters, at least on console. But with recent games, it’s become obvious that updates haven’t been enough, especially when comparing COD to recent games like Battlefield 4, Titanfall, or Destiny. Each game has a different approach to multiplayer, but the design remains the same – player versus player.
Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer was decent. The perks system worked well enough, but matchmaking for the proper sized map didn’t work all the time. Call of Duty has always worked best with smaller maps and frequent encounters with other players. That was a problem in Ghosts, where I would play modes that worked better on smaller maps, but would be placed on the largest one available.
This new multiplayer seems to fix a lot of these problems, but also brings some new things to the table.
With the exoskeletons in Advanced Warfare’s single player campaign, Sledgehammer took time to research developments for the military. Powered exoskeletons aren’t science fiction, but the implementation in the game is very similar to Titanfall. I would have expected the usual “enhanced power” or “enhanced jumping,” but the boost dodge seems to speed up the game. I want to try the game for this very reason. Does the exoskeleton radically change multiplayer, or does it just add a feature that no one really needs?
Call of Duty never concentrated on large multiple level maps. It mainly kept action locked to one level with areas for snipers to pick off players. Watching the reveal trailer, combat looks like seasoned COD players are going to have to get used to people dropping on their heads a lot. Power jumping could be a great way to travel across levels, but the balance of movement and shooting are going to be very important. This also makes the maps of Advanced Warfare extremely important design-wise, to ensure that the new verticality is implemented well. My worry is that players will use power jumping to find camping positions in maps.
More environment action
There were some destructible elements in Ghosts that changed the levels, but they couldn’t match the levolution of Battlefield 4. I can’t fault the smaller scale of COD because of map size. BF4’s level changing elements worked best in the 64 player matches. The smaller scale destruction of buildings could be used tactically, something that COD has never had.
When playing COD: Ghosts, I always felt that the lanes in multiplayer were exploited easily, making moving through the map frustrating. The San Francisco level, Defender, has an incoming tsunami wave that changes the map with water, but since the map is only shown quickly, as a teaser, we still don’t known how it will fully effect the level.
I think Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare could benefit from more destruction, but that would change the core gameplay. Even with all the new weapons and perks, you’re still going to be using twitch response to take out enemies.
During the Gamescom Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer reveal, Sledgehammer announced Uplink. This mode has two spheres that opposing teams have to score with through a satellite uplink. This game mode immediately made me think of Rooster Teeth‘s Grifball, now part of Halo multiplayer.
I don’t necessarily think that Sledgehammer has a lot to prove with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. At the very least, it will be able to use past experiences developing Call of Duty and push the series forward a bit. If changes to multiplayer don’t work, Activision can always roll back the multiplayer design to something people are more familiar with.
Regardless of how good the single player campaign could be, most people will probably ignore it and jump directly into multiplayer. All the changes to multiplayer add needed variety, but I can imagine there are going to be updates to balance the game once it’s released. I’m more interested in the single player campaign, but I do enjoy multiplayer and have cautious optimism about Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
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