Call of Duty Advanced Warfare: Trailer Analysis

News Daniel Hill 5/5/2014 at 9:02AM

While some of the new stuff looks very cool, it still looks like the same Call of Duty game we've played for years.

Right before Sledgehammer Games revealed its new game, I wrote a list of things I wanted from the studio, based on things they had suggested a couple years back when they first optioned for a Call of Duty games. Sledgehammer showed great promise.

Over the weekend, Sledgehammer released the debut trailer for its first entry into the Call of Duty canon - Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. What I saw was a mixed bag of exceeded expectations and massive disappointments:

The first thing I noticed was the awesome political monologue provided by the one and only Kevin Spacey, who has clearly been asked to reprise his role from House of Cards. The dialogue was sharp and the performance was great. Could this be pointing towards a game with some ideas not pulled directly from The Rock and a plot just a little deeper than your average puddle? I sure hope so, because the single-player side of Call of Duty has been on the downturn.

More surprises came in the form of technology-driven super powers. Around the 00:40 mark, and multiple times afterwards, it looks like the characters are doing some super jumping, leaping to great heights, and crossing large gaps. At 1:05 we see a soldier cloaking himself, followed closely by what looks to be sonar of some sort. Then there's the totally badass, chain-gun-wielding power armor at 1:27. At 1:42 we see some commandos donning climbing gloves to scale a building. It all looks reminiscent of Crysis, though I doubt we will be able to use these things whenever we want, and will be granted them on a mission-by mission basis. Overall, though, these things look like they could encourage some potentially epic moments.

Unfortunately, there are also some things that just played it too safe. Apparently, Sledgehammer threw its plans for a third-person person adventure game out the window, if the first-person view at 0:59 is any indication. Then, we're treated to what looks to be a QTE at 1:12 - a QT-fuckin-E in the year 2014. These two things show a very large departure from what Sledgehammer planned to do with the series when they first signed on with Activision a few years back.

Another disappointment was the overall Michael Bay feel of the trailer. Of course, this has been the MO of Call of Duty marketing since the series' departure from the WW2 shooter. The developers played the old "find a landmark and blow it up" card, destroying what appears to be the Golden Gate Bridge around 1:15. There was also a lot of falling off of things, holding onto ledges as others plunged to their deaths, and other assorted explosions. They don't seem to get that this type of action is a cliche now. 

Overall, the trailer left me with mixed feelings. Mech suits, Kevin Spacey, hoverbikes, and deployable cover aren't enough to sell me on the game, but maybe I've become too battle-hardened by Call of Duty games. Some of the powers looks like they might mix up gameplay a little bit, but other things made me roll my eyes. It looks like Advanced Warfare won't be all that different from Call of Duty games we've seen before. Sledgehammer looks to have been totally indoctrinated into Activision's way of doing things. Not that developers often have a choice. Activision more than likely nurture the unoriginality in this series. Then again, who can blame anyone for a cookie-cutter game, if they keep pushing out content every year. Activision should be commended at least for giving the core audience more of what they want so often. Call of Duty fans have been gaming without interruption for years. I think they're probably very pleased about Advanced Warfare.

This is only the first trailer and the game isn't coming out until November 4th. Maybe they'll really surprise us between now and then. Fingers crossed.

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