Don’t believe the hype. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare’s campaign is as boring as ever | PCGamesN

Don’t believe the hype. Call of Duty: Advance Warfare’s campaign is as boring as ever

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

I’ve been reading a few reviews of the latest Call of Duty whilst trundling through the new game, and I’m absolutely baffled. Generally, the reception is ‘quite positive’. A few sites have said it’s the best campaign in years. 

That’s so not true. I think it’s probably the worst CoD has ever been.

The story isn’t terrible. Kevin Spacey is a military contractor selling tech and the threat of force to the planet, following a series of terrorist atrocities. He is, no question, the best thing in the game, a performance worthy of the name. The second best thing are your various codenamed buddies. There’s a black guy, a beard-guy, a lady, and a sacrificial lamb and you can tell someone who knows what they’re doing has given them a decent script and time to read and act it properly.

That’s the sum total of the things I like about nuCod.

The problem I have is the de-gaming of the entire campaign. CoD as a series hasn’t really ever given players options, or really let them play. It is a chain of bombastic corridors in which you click on men’s faces until they fall over.

From the previews, and reviews, you’d be forgiven for thinking this CoD was different. You are a super-soldier. You have an exosuit. You can leap tall buildings! You can rip car doors off and throw them at men! You can grapple and climb and lunge and turn invisible and use EMPs to take down angry robots.

But, as ever, it’s just a big lie. The vast majority of the interactions made possible by CoD’s new setting are only available in very specific places, where the game deems it necessary and important.

Want to play with your special drone toy? Well you can’t, until gruff bearded man who takes point says it’s okay to do so. Want to use your special muffle bomb to silence a room before you blow the bloody door off? Only with permission. Want to turn invisible? Fill out a form in triplicate, file it with a superior, and the game will get back to you.


The game even strips away mechanics to make the game worse. You spend a lot of time shooting at heads in these games. So in Advance Warfare, most guns come with a special scope that acts as a wall-hack, outlining enemies in bright red. You don’t even have to squint at far away targets now – they’re painted out of the scenery for you to kill. Grenades and grenade launchers – items that requires some level of player skill to aim and kill with, now seek out their prey. They are fire and forget: they’ll just hover in the air a bit until they find someone to explode at.

Here’s the real problem: nothing that Call of Duty does hasn’t already been done, or surpassed elsewhere. The abilities that are threaded through the campaign are exactly the ideas Crysis has been trading on for a decade. In that game, you don’t need to get permission from your superior in those games to use a demolitions pack. 

The last year has seen developers and publishers attempt to create way more interesting, way more systemic games. Games that respond in interesting ways to the choices players make. And generally, they’ve been successful. For all its faults, Watch Dogs' combination of hacking and violence hit a nerve. Far Cry 3’s open-world hilarity creates great stories and has sold exceptionally well. Shadows of Mordor has done smart things with orc personalities. Alien Isolation gave the game’s villain a rigorous AI workout. Even on console, Destiny is trying to merge MMO subsystems with sci-fi shooting.

Advanced Warfare ignores everything that’s going on within the AAA industry.

I think I understand why Call of Duty is making that mistake.

In the last few months, I went back and played Half-Life 2, Episode 1, and Episode 2. What struck me about those games is just how refined their mechanics are, and how long they’re allowed to develop.

The buggy journey along Highway 17 lasts for a good hour or so. The air-boat trip, the same. Call of Duty attempts similar ideas, but compresses them into minute long bursts. It’s okay that the handling of your jet-bike is so shallow because in thirty seconds, you’ll be doing something else. Don’t fret that even after 10 games enemies in Call of Duty don’t understand how to react to a player with a sniper-rifle: in just a moment he’ll be driving a tank.

I think it’s this compression that’s causing the problem. Their levels are so ridiculous that they simply have no space to develop, improve and elevate their mechanics.

It’s repeatedly said that Call of Duty only sells for the multiplayer. I think that’s idiotic. If you’re going to pay to put Kevin Spacey in a videogame, you should make sure the bit he appears in is up to scratch. Advance Warfare, sadly, isn’t.

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xNuke avatarClutchy avatarShriven avatarTsunamiWombat avatarEmpyre avatarDalien avatar+7
Dalien Avatar
3 Years ago

Good review; this must be why I've never been interested in CoD in the slightest... I have sensed this much about those games. Generally I'm not crazy about FPS except for games like Half-Life 2 and Bioshock Infinite, which I have in my Steam collection. I like my FPS with some healthy RPG mechanics thrown in, or at least a gripping story, a great environment/art direction and solid gameplay.

Clutchy Avatar
3 Years ago

The CoD series is nothing more than a cheap way to make money. As long as there remains an audience for this tripe, Activision will keep pumping out safe, static, simplistic CoD titles.

EA caught on to this and started doing the same with Battlefield...and look what has happened to that storied series.

Support the indie developers who are more apt to push creativity in new directions. Having gamed for more than 35 years, I have seen very few new ideas from established brands. Has every idea been done? Hardly, but why try something new when millions will still drop $60 on a digital copy of a crap experience.

Empyre Avatar
3 Years ago

I remember reading some time ago that it takes $50 million to develope a COD gam and probably 3 times that budget for marketing. It is hardly cheap. But yeah, I kind of would expect more for such money, then again I know very little about a games development.

Shriven Avatar
3 Years ago

Press X to pay respects!

TsunamiWombat Avatar
3 Years ago


cgerrr Avatar
3 Years ago

Who would thought otherwise? It's CoD you know - you don't expect good things from CoD. Simple. And yeah I'm gloating because I was/am right. Again.

BLACK KNIGHT(41 minutes played)
3 Years ago

MMMMM. I'm gonna argue this is the best COD since Modern Warfare.

I can't argue about some of the points made though.

The AI has had a little nip tuck mind and I've been flanked on some of the more tense battles. They've created such a rich and interesting future world I just wish we could spend some time exploring it.

Maybe a Deus Ex style RPG in the advance warfare universe...

xNuke Avatar
xNuke(6 hours played)
3 Years ago

Hmm I've just finished the single-player campaign and in my opinion it IS one of the best in the franchise. I honestly can't wait for the sequel

DeniseL Avatar
3 Years ago already had a Call of Duty Advanced Warfare hack released two hours BEFORE the game released in the United States.

This will end up being another hack / cheat issue on the PC.

Eds note: we'd prefer not to link to cheat sites in our comments

planet_delta Avatar
3 Years ago

I still maintain that Call of Duty: United Offensive had some of the most fun and varied campaign levels in the entire series.

And they were paced out quite well too, some which lasted long enough and were fun enough to make you want to replay them once or twice more (B-17 crew mission - for instance).

Chocolateman1534 Avatar
3 Years ago

I thought this campaign was the best one they had come up with, since Modern Warfare. But i can see why people would think this, as it is quite a cliched story line.

But it is Kevin Spacey's character that drives you to complete the campaign, so without him, the campaign would be boring as hell!

xalener Avatar
3 Years ago

what an excellent headline. "your experiences with this game are wrong and your assessments are incorrect."

Zulthar Avatar
3 Years ago

Do you expect an objective review or something?