Advanced Warfare’s mutliplayer (Wired UK)


Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Call of Duty: Advanced WarfareActivision


“Verticality” is the buzzword of this year’s Call of
Duty
. Wired.co.uk has a world-first hands-on with Advanced Warfares multiplayer modes, finding that
some simple upward drive can give a massive overhaul to a familiar
experience.

Advanced Warfare takes place in 2054, filling its
theatres of operation with hi-tech military gear extrapolated from
current real-world developments. The most notable piece of kit is
the Exo suit, which enables all sorts of boost-enhanced movements
and vastly increases the scope of the game’s maps.

In gaming terms, it allows you to double-jump, letting you reach
higher vantage points or leap out of the line of fire. The boost
function extends to your whole movement range though, giving you
the option of boost sliding, lightning-fast dodging and strafing,
and even aerial drop melee attacks. Chain these skills together and
you begin to pull off impressive stunts, such as exo-propelled back
flips, giving you the upper hand against a pursuer if properly
timed. Using the boosts to practically fly out of fire and getting
an airborne kill against your attacker is supremely
satisfying. These skills all drain battery power though, so
judicious use is required. You’re not on the battlefield with an
Iron Man suit, but perhaps the next best thing.

In-game perks have been adapted to fit around the exo’s
abilities, alongside more traditional soldier-targeted buffs. The
Blast Supressor keeps you off enemy radar when using boost skills,
Gun Helper lets you fire while sprinting or sliding, and Exo
Overcharge gives you more energy for your battery, for just a few
of the customisations on offer.

These all factor into Pick 13, an enhanced version of the Pick
10 class building system from Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
You’ll have thirteen points to spend to kit out your soldier,
distributed between weapons, armour, and perks, which allows you to
create a playable class that matches your preferred style. Throw in
a decent amount of visual modifications to apply, and you feel like
you have more of a presence in the game than the series has allowed
before. Once you’ve loaded up, you can test out your build while
waiting for a match to load in the Virtual Shooting Range, giving
you a feel for how guns handle before getting into a match against
actual human players.

The changes to the gameplay are a great equaliser too, forcing
veteran CoD players to learn a new range of tricks. You’ll
feel a massive sense of power in combat as a result, even as a
first time or lapsed player.

Multiplayer modes

We played four of Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer modes.
The classic Team Deathmatch took place on the new Biolab map, an
abandoned, labyrinthine research centre in some forgotten icy
locale. It’s a good medium-sized area, with plenty of environmental
factors to work into your offensive strategy, such as blasting open
the cannisters of toxic materials carried around on automated
rails.

Old favourite Capture the Flag returned on the Ascend map, an
orbital elevator base station that allowed for great use of that
much-vaunted verticality while engaging in the expected rounds of
flag-capturing. It was joined by the addition of the similar
Uplink. Here, your team must find a downed satellite drone, protect
it from enemies, and deposit it in the your team’s data uplink.
More points are earned by exo-boosting into the floating cloud of
broadcast tech that constitutes the cloud, making the mode feel
like a rapid game of open-world basketball — only with added heavy
artillery. This all takes place on the Defender map, set in the
shadows of a decrepit San Francisco where an incoming tsunami
rapidly changes the nature of the map midway through.

Finally, Hardpoint
returns, again from Black Ops II, with rotating spots on
the map that must be reached and held. Team score accumulates the
longer an area is defended from enemies, rewarding teamwork. This
was played on the Riot map, an abandoned prison left in ruins by a
prisoner rampage, with plenty of small, defensible positions that
complemented the match style.

In all four modes, the multiplayer experience is noticably
faster paced than in other recent Call of Duty games, a
result of both the augmented abilities on offer and the greater
power of the Xbox One and PS4 in rendering and loading the bigger
worlds. However, we can already see some of the perks and abilities
becoming easily abused, particularly the Exo Cloak which renders
you functionally invisible. Once players realised it was there,
rounds frequently devolved into stealthy stabbing matches.

The closest comparison we can make for the new feel of
Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer is to Unreal
Tournament
, with perhaps the tiniest influence from the
human-scale movement from Titanfall.
There’s a decidedly more sci-fi vibe to the game now, which in our
experience actually made it feel more enjoyable than crawling
through the mud with present day weapons. Providing post-launch
balance is well maintained, developer Sledgehammer Games has
delivered a much-needed revitalisation of the franchise’s
multiplayer offerings.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will be released for various
platforms later in 2014.

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12 August 2014 | 7:09 am – Source: wired.co.uk

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