Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare goes to places Call of Duty has never been, but not anywhere other games haven't already explored.
Oh, it's Titanfall, I thought to myself as I passed Microsoft's Tokyo Game Show booth. But, when I did a double-take, I saw it was actually Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. I stopped and watched it for a bit, and eventually got in line to give it a whirl. Never before had I seen game deja-vu more than I did with Advanced Warfare and Titanfall. Even when I eventually got to play the game, I kept waiting for the titans to start dropping.
That said, you can't say that Advanced Warfare doesn't break new ground for the Call of Duty series. While Ghosts did see it dip its toes into future tech, Advanced Warfare is planted firmly in the realm of science fiction. It's a bold statement towards CoD's biggest competitor, Battlefield, which has opted to keep its feet planted in reality for its next installment.
The demo I played featured two game modes - "the team deathmatch one", and a slightly more involved capture-the-flag type mode called "Uplink". Of the two, Uplink was the more entertaining and demanding, thought it makes sense that Activision would set it up that way, so we had a little bit of time to learn the ins and outs of the game in deathmatch.
As for those specific ins and outs. Well. Have you played Titanfall? How about Crysis? Or Halo? If you have, Advanced Warfare will feel pretty comfortable to you. It plays essentially exactly the same as every other CoD game before it, but with elements lifted from other sci-fi shooters. The most obvious one is the Crysis nanosuit - sorry - "exosuit", which allows you to give your character temporary power-ups, such as super speed, stealth, or a shield. You also have a "super jump" from the likes of Halo and Titanfall, that lets you traverse a lot more of the map than you'd usually be able to in a CoD game.
Weapons, as usual, is where Advanced Warfare shines, as there are dozens of weapons with hundreds of different attachment combinations to discover. There's also perks, killstreaks, grenades and exosuit powers to pick and chose, mean that you can customize your character to a pretty great extent. Despite this, most of the cooler sci-fi guns, like the lazer minigun or the railgun, seemed to feel pretty weak, at least in comparison to the run-and-gun shotgun, SMG, or "crazy-man-with-a-knife" builds that have traditionally dominated the CoD leaderboards. Even the exosuit powers seem to feel quite weak in a game where kills are usually decided in fractions of a second.
One thing I do have to hand to this game is that it is smooth as silk. Finally, we're getting a title that is taking full advantage of the Xbox One's guts. It doesn't dip below 60 FPS - even in the most intensive firefights - and looks beautiful. It looks a lot like Titanfall, actually, so much so that I could have sworn the second map we played on was a smaller version of Fracture.
While the game is fun to play, and is a bold departure for the series, in the end it doesn't really do anything that we haven't seen before, and it seems to be derivative of those games that came first, rather than innovative. CoD fans as always will lap it up, but for those looking for something new, you won't find it here. If only they could take the expansive weapon/player customization system from Advanced Warfare and put it into Titanfall, we may actually have one really good game, instead of two mediocre ones.