By William Chandler
Do note that this review is only of the campaign and does not take into account any of the multiplayer features.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is at least better than the low point found in last year’s entry, Ghosts, but more importantly, it manages to actually recapture a little bit of what made Call of Duty such an enjoyable series in the early years. That is to say Advanced Warfare is strange because while it certainly attempts to push the franchise into the future through both the setting and, subsequently, the mechanics, it also feels more stuck in the past than ever.
Advanced Warfare is extremely faithful to the established Call of Duty formula, however, exactly which version of that formula may be the most surprising part. It feels most at home when compared to Modern Warfare 2’s flavor of action movie insanity, especially when you consider the sense of scale both of these games have. The release of Black Ops in 2010 signaled a full on departure from the large scale warfare prominent in previous entries and started to focus more on smaller, more intimate and secretive conflicts. More spy movie shit, if you will. Modern Warfare 2 had its fair share of spy movie shit as well, but much of it was in the background of a much larger conflict, and the player often participated in both types of missions.
Similarly, Advanced Warfare consistently switches between small and large scale battles throughout its campaign, ensuring that the pacing shifts enough that things never really feel stale. This return to the feel of older Call of Duty games is welcomed initially but it might be too little too late because, regardless of how good the game is, it’s still Call of Duty. The sense of excitement and wonder that used to permeate the release of a new Call of Duty is noticeably absent, as it has been for years, and really only serves to hinder Advanced Warfare in the long run. I definitely enjoyed myself while playing the game, but I also couldn’t help but feel like Advanced Warfare’s attempts to recoup the status quo that was lost in the last few games only made its formulaic mechanics outshine any potential amazement from the new stuff.
By William Chandler
Reviewed on PC using an Xbox 360 Controller
I’m not sure whether this was addressed pre-release or not, but as someone that has played a great many of the previous titles in the Wolfenstein franchise, it certainly appeared as though The New Order was going to be a reboot. Pretty much every aspect of the 2009 Wolfenstein release by Raven Software has been shed, including the occult aspects, the trans-dimensional medallion, and especially the fact that Deathshead’s army appeared to be left in a state of crippling defeat at the end of that game. So, I went into Wolfenstein: The New Order expecting an absurd, alternate history reboot of an ancient and storied over-the-top action franchise. And I mostly got that. However, there is an overwhelming sense of strangeness and intrigue to the entire game that exists in the forefront of your mind long enough to mask many of the game’s issues for several hours into its surprisingly lengthy campaign.
Since I’ve already mentioned it, let’s go ahead and deal with this oddity up front. This game, while masquerading as one, is not actually a reboot. At least, not really. A vast majority of the events from the previous games go unmentioned aside from in the most vague sense. Deathshead returns, of course, and BJ mentions in a monologue that he should have killed him when he had the chance, no doubt a reference to the events of the last game, but it does not become wholly apparent until a character present in 2009’s Wolfenstein returns as a major character a few hours into The New Order. Of course, none of this is really a problem. Without having played the previous title, one would never even know about this fact, so it really doesn’t even matter. That said, throughout the campaign I was expecting a reveal that would tie the game to its occult roots, however, that never really happened. Instead, the game chose to stick to a more pseudo-scientific approach to all of its unnatural technological advancements, which is sort of preferable. It just makes no sense that the Nazis would abandon a cultural obsession that seemed to be quite ingrained in them in the past. You’d also think that they would want to use any and all advantages that they could in order to ensure total victory, but fuck it, man, I’m tired of nitpicking.