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Sledgehammer Games

Review: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Nov 03 // Chris Carter
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Sledgehammer Games (Current-gen) / High Moon Studios (Last-gen)Publisher: ActivisionReleased: November 3, 2014MSRP: $59.99 Ghosts was ultimately a half-measure. While the James Bond-esque satellite kinetic rod cannon was a cool idea, the game didn't really explore futuristic technology as much as augmented existing tech. Advanced Warfare throws any conception of modern-day limitations out the window, and it's that much better for it. The gimmick this time around is the Exo Suit, changing the face of near-future war into that of a super soldier. The suit allows you to jump higher, dash faster, and slam into things with greater strength than ever before. Right off the bat the game feels fresh -- like a faster-paced Call of Duty -- like something the series should have experimented with before this point. Heck, you can even air dash and double-jump -- in a Call of Duty game! Items like the Threat Grenade, which shows a heat-reading of all of the enemies within your field of view really drive the point home that this is not your typical fare, and I love that it feels so different in just about every game mode. You can also do things like flip-up a makeshift riot shield instantly from your suit, cloak, and shoot grenades out of your arm. Frickin' laser beams are also in and are a joy to see in multiplayer. [embed]283217:56181:0[/embed] We've finally come to the point where the franchise can be considered "current-gen" by any standard. While Ghosts was developed primarily for last-generation hardware, the PC, Xbox One, and PS4 versions have the top honors here, and it shows. The faster gameplay really lends itself well to a farther draw-distance and a smoother framerate, and load times are drastically improved. For many, the big draw is the new story, featuring the lovable Kevin Spacey as Jonathan Irons. Over the course of 15 missions you'll embark upon a journey with Spacey as your PMC boss, earning new gear and augmentations for your suit as his character starts to become more and more power hungry. Spacey does not phone it in -- he gives a great, animated performance that's worthy of his top billing, and the campaign is worth playing just for him alone. Of course, the missions themselves are still practically on-rails, which will probably lead many people out there to skip the campaign again in favor of jumping right into multiplayer. With games like the recent Wolfenstein bringing back the glory of open-ended maps, I would have hoped that Advanced Warfare would marry the signature action style with a less linear map layout. If you know what you're getting into, though, it's better than the last three Infinity Ward campaigns. The additional "Exo Survival" mode alongside of the campaign is kind of a throwaway however, hearkening back to the Survival Mode of Modern Warfare 3. It basically pits you and a partner against an increasingly deadly set of wave-based enemies, which is just as dull as it sounds. With no real story or gimmick such as aliens or zombies, there's a very limited amount of enjoyment to be had here. Zombies are said to arrive with the upcoming DLC, but for now you're out of luck. Abbreviated load times are particularly welcome for one new feature for the series -- the pre-game firing range. Gone are the days where you're scared to try guns out of fear of ruining your kill to death ratio. Now you can almost instantly fire up a virtual range to test out your gear in before the vote and countdown ends to give you a better feel of your chosen loadout. Multiplayer once again is the main event, and some interesting changes have been made give Advanced Warfare quite a long shelf-life. In addition to the tried and true Prestige system, "Supply drops" (read: loot) are also in this time around. Now instead of using the same few guns over and over, playing more and completing challenges will earn you unique drops, with new statlines to play with. When coupled with the new training ground between matches, you're actually encouraged to change up your style constantly -- a fresh concept for hardcore fans. I also didn't notice any real balance issues with any of the newer weapons or variants, which is also good news for casual players who still want to remain competitive. My favorite addition is probably the "Uplink" gametype, which is basically futuristic basketball. A round object is thrown onto the battlefield, and two teams have to kill each other for it. Upon grabbing said object you can either throw it or pass it to a teammate, and the ultimate aim is to get it into the floating enemy uplink "goal." Yep, it's a blood sport, and it's a ton of fun. All of the classic modes like Ground War and team deathmatch return as well. The full-on customization "slot" system returns, which lets you change your loadout to your heart's content outside of your basic primary and secondary weapons, and all of those wonderful toys will give you a lot of options. Killstreaks are now customizable this time around, which lets you change the parameters of the same boring old UAV you've played with for years. It's another small mechanic that brings online play forward and makes it ultimately more interesting. Multiplayer takes place across 13 maps, which isn't a lot, but thankfully the futuristic touch changes them up considerably. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare plays it a little too safe with the campaign, but it feels like a real core entry in the series, and will please fans who are jaded after last year's release. While Treyarch is still the king of Call of Duty in my eyes, Sledgehammer Games has shown itself to be more than capable of taking over with its debut entry. Infinity Ward is now the odd man out.
Call of Duty review photo
Exo Squad
After the disappointing Call of Duty: Ghosts, Activision needed fresh ideas, and Sledgehammer was just the developer for the job. Even before it delivered its first game, a weight has been lifted off of Infinity Ward and...

Advanced Warfare photo
Advanced Warfare

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare PC requirements haven't advanced much from last year


As always though, this'll take up some space
Oct 20
// Brett Makedonski
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's required PC specs have been released on the game's Steam page, and it turns out that all that power doesn't necessarily change everything -- especially if you use last year's iteration as a b...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Not a lot looks changed in Call of Duty's 'Power Changes Everything' trailer


Maybe it's meant ironically?
Sep 24
// Brett Makedonski
For a trailer that boldly suggests that "power changes everything," Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare sure looks pretty similar to past installments in the franchise. I guess the guys jump higher before using their mega-de...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer has butt slams and more


Seven minute breakdown
Sep 03
// Steven Hansen
If our made up Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare preview didn't sate your desire for gung ho gunplay, here's a seven minute look at Titanfall's I MEAN THE NEW CALL OF DUTY'S multiplayer.  The butt slams are cool, alon...
Call of Duty skips Wii U photo
Call of Duty skips Wii U

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare won't come to Wii U


Sorry, Nintendo fans
Aug 20
// Kyle MacGregor
Call of Duty will not be coming to Wii U this year, Sledgehammer Games co-founder Michael Condrey revealed today via Twitter. The decision was Activision's, according to Condrey, leaving Sledgehammer to focus its attenti...
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Watch the Golden Gate Bridge get destroyed in Advanced Warfare


Okay, those grenades are hecka cool
Aug 12
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Ghosts was a giant disappointment but man Advanced Warfare is looking really good. I'm mostly interested in the multiplayer at this point, but the single-player looks like it will be worth it this time around too.  The latest video for the new Call of Duty focuses on San Francisco, showing off a chase and the eventual destruction of the famous Golden Gate Bridge. 
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Call of Duty

Play Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare a day early with the Day Zero Edition


Pre-order for weapons and early access
Aug 11
// Jordan Devore
This week, Activision is making its next major promotional push for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. (Perhaps you read our "preview" or saw the multiplayer trailer.) That can only mean one thing: it's time to talk about pre-or...
Call of Duty multiplayer photo
Here's the debut trailer
Activision is offering an in-depth look at multiplayer in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare today during a live event but if you're content with seeing just the basics, this trailer will suffice. With the new exoskeletons, game...

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Fight the powers that be!
A campaign trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare came out which goes over some of the plot points. I also speculate on some rather obvious, yet still uncertain, plot developments to come. The trailer also announced a multiplayer reveal coming August 11, which I theorize could come with a beta announcement.

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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer teased, collector's edition detailed


The $120 version includes a season pass
Jul 29
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
A brand new trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has dropped today, detailing how the conflict leads the way for the Atlas PMC to come into power. It's your typical Call of Duty trailer, with tons of cool looking set p...
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Confirmed: Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare will have audio


*shrug*
Jul 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
A new behind-the-scenes video for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has confirmed that the game will indeed have audio. Guns will have the pew pew noises, dudes will go "oh no you shot me how did you know bullets were my weakness!?. Oh, and there will be lots of explosions. 
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Look, I know what a laser is. You're not fooling me.
In a lovingly overproduced developer diary, a couple of Sledgehammer bros ran down the exciting new gear in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, including this year's "game-changer," the exo-skeleton, and hyped some of their other groundbreaking innovations such as... as laser. If nothing else, there was an opening for a Mountain Dew joke.

Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Advanced Warfare's exoskeleton to redefine how you play Call of Duty


Maybe it will, maybe it won't
Jun 24
// Brett Makedonski
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's tagline is "power changes everything," and Sledgehammer's doing its best to explain what that means. There are lots of futuristic enhancements being made, but it's not likely that any are mor...
Advanced Warfare photo
Advanced Warfare

New Call of Duty focuses on being realistic forty years in the future


Military advisors and futurists help
Jun 17
// Brett Makedonski
For the most part, Call of Duty has dealt with past or present scenarios up until now. But, Advanced Warfare is going to move the story ahead forty years. How can Sledgehammer Games craft a realistic future when it...

Do you love setpieces? You'll probably like Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Jun 16 // Brett Makedonski
There were two levels shown during the presentation, both adept at communicating the new(ish) style that Advanced Warfare brings to the table, but also assuaged any fears (or dashed any hopes?) that this year's Call of Duty will be a departure from its bread and butter. The first of the two slices was nothing more than an extended gameplay video. Set up by a violent car chase along the San Francisco freeway gone awry, the majority of the level took place fighting across the Golden Gate bridge. This is where we got to see enemy soldiers jetpacking on top of semis, as the character we were watching mirrored those movements with his own boosts onto abandoned vehicles. I couldn't help but feel as if it seemed like a slower Titanfall. Although the shooting was a lot of what we've come to expect, the setting provided a wonderful playground for the action. Terrified civilians running away and cars littering the road made for a good start. But, it went into overdrive when a pack of drones were accidentally released from the enemies' truck and started cutting the cable to the bridge. As one might suspect, suspension cables are critical to suspending a suspension bridge. Who would've thought? With several of the cables no longer intact, the bridge started to slowly come down as vehicles and people alike careened off the edge and into the bay below. At one point, a policeman was about to escape harm's way until a bus plowed into him, followed by someone jetpacking to the protagonist like nothing ever happened. His demeanor eerily mirrored what players might feel; when you've become accustomed to this level of action over the course of a decade, what will it take to truly drop jaws again? The second level, which was actually played by a presenter (supposedly), took a more methodical approach to things. Set in and around a Biolab in a Bulgarian forest, stealth was paramount to infiltrating the facility. However, just because cloaking devices and quiet knife kills were in play doesn't mean that the setpieces slowed down. Almost immediately, a helicopter spotted the two principal characters and began a mad dash through a river to get to cover before it could snipe them. After leaping off a cliff and hustling into the forest, it was finally safe. Well, sort of. Making good use of the cloaking technology, the two slinked through the forest, knifing some unfortunate enemies in the throat, while opting to spare the lucky ones. After a bit, a tank rolled through blasting some sort of light that exposed cloaked individuals -- a subtle reminder that not all setpieces need to be grand. The inside of the facility held a lot of corridor-based shooting galleries that sometimes define the first-person shooter genre, but once outside, the commandeering of a tank made things interesting again. Rumbling along, nothing was spared from the path of destruction, as helicopters, vehicles, and individual troops fell in gratuitous numbers. Upon arriving at a getaway plane, the protagonists blew up the tank just for good measure. Given thirty minutes to watch Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, there are certainly mechanical changes being made to the way the game plays. However, its reliance on setpieces and scripted action makes sure that nothing strays too far from the Call of Duty formula. Maybe Advanced Warfare isn't really as advanced as everyone claims. But, maybe that sort of service to the fans keep millions of them loyal year after year. And, hey -- maybe that isn't a bad thing at all.
Call of Duty preview! photo
The action you expect
The last decade has brought us ten new Call of Duty games. With that steady drip of titles, the series' developers have figured out how to craft increasingly elaborate action scenarios. Despite being at it for a while, t...

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Cancelled Sledgehammer shooter was set during Vietnam War


Game had Dead Space type moments
May 05
// Dale North
The latest Game Informer has Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare as its cover story, but it also revealed a bit about developer Sledgehammer's earlier, cancelled project. Their first Activision project was a third-person shooter t...
Advanced Warface photo
Advanced Warface

First details on Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare multiplayer


Different Instagram filters on the box art, Xbone gets DLC first
May 02
// Steven Hansen
Kevin Spacey vehicle Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which we brought to you guys last night, has some more details trickling out. Notably, the deliciously Titanfall-like exoskeletons in the Advanced Warfare extend "across al...
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Next Call of Duty has a major focus on private military contractors


Metal Gear?!
May 01
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The next Call of Duty game from developers Sledgehammer Games is to be revealed this Sunday. We've been given a brief teaser image, and now Activision has clued us in on what the theme of the game will be through this VICE p...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Oh, look! It's Sledgehammer's new Call of Duty


What's he looking at?
May 01
// Jordan Devore
Technically, this isn't the first image of the new Call of Duty in development at Sledgehammer Games -- that distinction was wasted on this close-up shot. Let's forget about that one. Here, via Game Informer ahead of its cove...
Call of Duty 2014 photo
Call of Duty 2014

The first image of the new Call of Duty is solemn, kind of pointless


These posts are never important
Apr 23
// Brett Makedonski
It's that time of year again. With the NBA playoffs heating up, so are the annual rumors surrounding the imminent reveal of the new Call of Duty. This time, it's Sledgehammer at the helm of the S.S. COD, and the developer aim...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

This year's Call of Duty to prioritize PC, PS4, Xbox One


Activision calls it 'a next-gen-first production'
Feb 10
// Jordan Devore
Now that there are three separate studios heading up new installments of Call of Duty, we'll be looking to Sledgehammer Games for its take on the franchise this year after Infinity Ward dropped the ball with Call of Duty: Gho...
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Sledgehammer leading development of next Call of Duty


Call of Duty series going into three-year development cycle now
Feb 06
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Activision has just reported on their financials for the last quarter, and among the news they've announced that Sledgehammer Games will be leading the development of the next Call of Duty coming out this year. In the past, C...
New Call of Duty photo
New Call of Duty

Sledgehammer hiring for new Call of Duty game


PEW PEW PEW
Jan 16
// Steven Hansen
After having its third-person Call of Duty cancelled, Sledgehammer Games, which was founded by ex-Dead Space developers, went on to help with the development of Modern Warfare 3. Shortly after its release, the developer was h...
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Cyberpunk 2077, CoD: Ghosts & GTA V


The Destructoid Show gets all hot and bothered
May 03
// Max Scoville
Today on The Destructoid Show, we talk about all kinds of SEO-friendly click-bait topics!Call Of Duty: Ghosts has been announced, and it's next-gen, and apparently, Sledgehammer games isn't working on it. Anthony Burch ...
Call of Duty photo
Call of Duty

Sledgehammer suggests it isn't working on CoD: Ghosts


Studio has its own project
May 02
// Jordan Devore
Given its prior work on the franchise, it wasn't unreasonable to expect Sledgehammer Games to be involved with Call of Duty: Ghosts. That does not appear to be the case, however. "Congrats to Infinity Ward on [Ghosts]! O...
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SF's demonic BART screech was worked into Dead Space


You know that noise *shudder*
Feb 06
// Dale North
Glen Schofield, GM of Sledgehammer games, in his D.I.C.E. Summit 2013 presentation on details on games, talked about how everyday experiences -- from your favorite lunch place to your morning commute -- can influence game mak...
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Sledgehammer hiring for new Call of Duty title


...for Xbox 360 and PS3
Nov 19
// Dale North
A new Call of Duty title? No one would be surprised. But one for the Xbox 360 and PS3? Hmm. Sledgehammer Games, the co-developers of Modern Warfare 3, are hiring a Senior Environment Artist for an upcoming Call of Duty f...

Hands-on with the new Spec-Ops levels in Modern Warfare 3

Mar 12 // Hamza CTZ Aziz
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Content Collection #1 (Xbox 360 [previewed], PlayStation 3, PC)Developer: Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer GamesPublisher: ActivisionRelease: March 20, 2012MSRP: $14.99 In Negotiator, you and a friend start the level held hostage in different rooms. Player two is able to break free from his bindings, and has to quietly steal the gun from one of his captors. Once player two is able to dispose of all the guards around him, he needs to rush to player one's position where the guards are slowly executing all the hostages. Once player one arrives, that person needs to breach the door, bust in and clear the room to save his partner. As the slow-motion commotion goes on, player one finally gets his arms free, and catches a gun that gets knocked out of a guard's hands in over-the-top John Woo fashion. From here, you'll have to work together as you go through the level, breaching rooms and saving hostages. The enemies here are really tough and after the first two fails, Sledgehammer Games Co-Founder, Michael Condrey, suggested I take it easy and go through the level at a slower pace. It's definitely a good idea, as I was able to get further into the level with my next couple of tries. Unfortunately I wasn't able to pass the level in my limited time. A lot of the hostages ended up dying on my watch too. Good luck to all you Achievement hunters, as saving all the hostages will get you earn you some points, and possible a few broken controllers along the way. While I had trouble with Negotiator, I did nail Black Ice, the other Spec-Ops mission. The level starts off with you and your partner riding on a snow mobile as you're heading towards a mine. While player one is driving (and can still shoot at anyone in front of him), player two is riding bitch and taking out whoever he can. After about a couple of minutes of driving, you'll arrive at your destination and hoof it on foot to your target of a enemy weapon cache. Your goal is to blow it up, and once achieved, you'll need to hightail it out of the mineshaft and get on a helicopter waiting outside the shaft to escape. Last but not least is the new multiplayer/survival level called Black Box. The level depicts a "What if" scenario where Air Force 1 has crashed into the hills of Los Angeles. I only played the level on survival, so I can't comment on how the map flows with other players. I did, however, really like the level design. For once, I think $14.99 for a downloadable content pack for a Call of Duty game is a great deal. On top of the four maps (that double as survival levels), you're also getting two new Spec-Ops missions. Check out the video up top to see for yourselves what all the new content looks like.
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Call of Duty Elite Premium Members on the Xbox 360 side will be getting a brand new multiplayer/survival map plus two new Spec-Ops missions tomorrow. This content, along with the three previously released maps, will all be a...

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PSN to get first Call of Duty Elite maps on February 28


Feb 02
// Jordan Devore
Premium Call of Duty Elite members on Xbox Live have had access to the first two Modern Warfare 3 maps of the Content Season for more than a week now. Today, Activision has announced when "Liberation" and "Piazza" will make i...
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Do the Modern Warfare 3 chicken dance


Nov 14
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
I don't know why, but this video by YouTuber projectrooster makes me die laughing. It might have something to do with the song just being perfect for the little chicken dance. DO THE CHICKEN DANCE! [Thanks, Scott!]

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