After placing several Call of Duty titles under my belt, I figured I could rightfully feel jaded about them. Global catastrophic warfare? No big deal. Deceit and treachery with those in positions of authority? Seen it. Big explosions and big guns? Yawn.
But, in all honesty, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare might be one of the most impressive titles I’ve played in 2014.
Now, I don’t mean impressive in a “Everything has changed!” kind of way. No, the standard gameplay loop of shooting bad dudes, in both single player and multiplayer, is pretty fun but not at all revolutionary.
What really gets me is the production value in Advanced Warfare. I’ve played my fair share of AAA titles over the year, but none have come close to matching what’s in Advanced Warfare.
Stages are laid out in a way to be a feast for the eyes with countless little moments that simply can’t all be taken in with just one play through. A tightly choreographed fight scene, for example, takes place to stage left early on in the game; it’s something that probably took countless man hours to pull off and it can be totally overlooked if you either don’t care or just happen miss it.
And while there are plenty of explosions, Advanced Warfare really impresses with the smaller touches. Hands animate with uncanny fluidity. Faces express convincing emotions. These finer details bring more life to the game, allowing it to back off of the constant 10 it’s dialed in at and key in on characters and, well, everything else that isn’t an explosion.
That all said, these AAA touches, while still impressive and maybe even awe-inspiring, don’t take away from the fact that this is a known product with few surprises. Grand as it may be, it’s just another spectacle of the holiday season: a bright spot of the AAA kingdom perhaps, but I’m still finding myself gravitating towards the unique and different over Advanced Warfare.