Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare released Monday. The so-called "Day Zero" edition lands November 3 with extra digital goodies, including two in-game weapons and faster progression through the online ranks. The regular edition arrives Tuesday.
Some news outlets have held back their official reviews until November 4 in order to see if the game's multiplayer servers can handle the initial rush of players. Several recent games have been overwhelmed by day-one demand, including the disappointing launch of last year's Battlefield 4, which received positive review scores before the game came out but became a buggy mess for weeks once millions of players signed on to play the game for themselves. This time around, some reviewers have taken a more cautious approach.
But that has not stopped a flood of impression videos, review-in-progress articles, and some straight-up reviews. So how is Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Pretty good, according to early press accounts. Let's dive into the reviews.
Many of this year's most anticipated first-person shooters have focused on mobility. Titan Fall lets players sprint along walls and leap atop buildings. Destiny features mid-air jumps and teammates hovering above the battlefield. Advanced Warfare applies its own spin on mobility with the new exo suits. These futuristic exoskeletons enhance your character's skills, power, and movement.
"It probably doesn't sound like much, but being able to get around the map more quickly and change your elevation with ease actually makes a huge difference," says Giant Bomb in its 4-out-of-5 review. "In single-player, it gives you new options and abilities to play with during a fun campaign with a story that would feel right at home in a typical, mindless summer blockbuster. In competitive multiplayer, being able to boost around corners to avoid incoming fire or dropping down off of rooftops and boosting behind an enemy feels outstanding."
Most reviewers were far more interested in the games characters and setting than its moment-to-moment story. Advanced Warfare stars Kevin Spacey – not just his voice, but also his likeness. He plays Jonathan Irons, the military-industrial-complex version of Frank Underwood from "House of Cards." As the head of a private military company, Mr. Irons unleashes a technological maelstrom that only the player can stop.
The story "tackles the issues of totalitarianism, fascism, and war on a slightly more cerebral level than prior iterations of the series; there’s a lot more going on here than taking on 'the terrorists' out of some forced patriotic narrative," says Game Informer in its favorable review. "Still, the campaign plods to a predictable conclusion after about seven hours."
But plenty of Call of Duty fans completely skip the single-player story for the fast-paced multiplayer, a mode that reviewers say does not disappoint.
"Since Modern Warfare [in 2007], Call of Duty has excelled at giving you rewards to earn in multiplayer," says IGN in its "review in progress." "Advanced Warfare follows that tradition, but greatly accelerates the pace. I quickly earned supply drops full of cosmetic items, new weapons, and temporary perks, like a double XP boost. Finding a gun I liked was great; finding another version of that gun with better stats and a cool weapon skin is even better."