TGS '14 - Checking Out Advance Warfare's Multiplayer Debut - Preview [get-dream-jobs.tumblr.com]
The Call of Duty series began life as a gritty WWII shooter notable at the time for its serious and intense depiction of warfare. Over the years as the series evolved to portray more recent and even futuristic conflicts it has become a mainstream sales juggernaut, mostly thanks to its competitive and addictive online multiplayer.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare had a multiplayer reveal demo available at Microsoft’s Xbox One booth at this year’s TGS, and it wasn’t until I got my hands on the new multiplayer additions that I truly realized the extent to which this is a full on sci-fi shooter; it has more in common with a series like Halo (or more recently, Titanfall) than most of its series predecessors. It was also the most enjoyable demo I’ve played at TGS so far.
At E3 earlier this year I wrote a preview based on a behind-closed-doors presentation of the game’s single player campaign. The game showed off some fun new sci-fi elements in that particular demo, including temporary invisibility, jet packs, giant mechs, and even bullet time. I was left wondering how some of these would translate to the series’ oh so popular multiplayer component.
Now I know, after having played both Team Deathmatch and a new mode called Uplink.
As we waited for our 8v8 Team Deathmatch round to be set up we had a chance to customize our weapon loadouts and the appearance of our characters. A rotatable 3D model of your soldier is on display. The basics, such as sex, skin tone, and hair style can all be adjusted to your preferences as usual. The sheer number of new options, though, are incredibly deep and various. The armor, including the tantalizing exoskeleton, looks fit for space marines who would pal around with the likes of Marcus Phoenix or Commander Shepard. I tinkered with my weapon loadout in order to investigate the new gadgets and perks available. I chose an assault rifle and semtex as my standard gun and explosive combo. Exoskeleton based perks included longer durations of invisibility, higher jet pack boosts, and increased battery life.
When the round finally started it took place in what looked like a scientific research facility that also featured sprawling exterior environments. The game was the most chaotic and frenetic I have ever experienced in any Call of Duty game to-date. Double tapping the A button will launch your character several meters in the air - a very fast way to travel but also one that exposes your position.
After taking an early lead the other team’s concerted effort started to overwhelm our forces. Knifing is still an effective strategy in close quarters combat, which I used to my advantage throughout the demo. Grenades are now launched from an arm cannon, rather than being thrown overhead. This changes the trajectory to be more like a straight line, which will take some getting used to. We ended the game in defeat, but not for my lack of effort (I was the top scorer on my team).
During the intermission we had more time to toggle with the settings in the barracks. In actuality, though, I spent that time waiting for the Microsoft technician to reboot my demo station after some technical mishap occurred. I was back online just in time for our second game.
Uplink is a lot like capture the flag or rugby. The two sides are tasked with collecting a drone. The drone is a ball, and if you are the one holding it you will not be able to use any weapons and will be a visible target to everyone on the opposing team. If you have the drone, you have the option to pass it to a teammate nearby or chuck it away altogether. You earn points but putting the drone in one of two red uplink stations defended by the other team. Both teams vie for the drone and play both offense and defense.
The game is split into two rounds, though your objective remains the same during both. It took a while to get used to but I had a blast taking off into the air and chucking the drone into the goal from afar while dodging enemy fire. The map we played on featured ruins on a beach. It had a very Halo-esque vibe, but the most striking feature of the map is that every so often a huge tidal wave will come crushing in, altering the conditions of the map. Again, despite my best efforts and an early lead, my team eventually lost by a score of 15-13.
Thus ended my time with Call of Duty: Advance Warfare’s multiplayer demo. In a year already dominated by popular sci-fi online shooters such as Destiny and Titanfall, it seems strange that CoD will also be encroaching on the genre. What I played was great, however, and left me excited to play a new CoD game for the first time since Modern Warfare all those years ago.