As we await the highly anticipated release of Modern Warfare 2 (MW2), it seems the perfect opportunity to look back and wade through some of the old fan favorites (or not in some cases) that remind us where this journey has taken us over nearly two decades.
GAME ON | First released on PC on Oct. 29th, 2003, Call of Duty has become one of the most massive MMO fandoms in history. Meeting World of WarCraft (WOW) and Diablo on even ground, with 19 installments under its belt, it could be considered larger than both. With huge commercial success on most titles and rabid fandom, it shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. However, not all titles have reached the heights they may deserve, and some just outright flopped. One such title is COD Advanced Warfare, set in the year 2054. It would be one of the only titles that encompass futuristic story design, as opposed to previous or more current war storylines such as WW2 or Afghanistan. It also became obscure among the greats in the franchise, and rightfully so, ranked #4 of the top 5 worst COD games ever. This one deserves a special revisit just because it ultimately was such a disappointment after so much hype!
So here are the top 5 reasons Advanced seemed anything but:
1.) Graphic design and execution were spotty at best. This title was a far cry from the previous in regards to design, and none of it was for the better. It was very boring to look at with a dull color palette mostly holding blues, reds, gun grays, and the occasional yellow. Even the maps themselves seemed very lackluster. In a series that prides itself on realism, this title was very cartoony, with a lot of rounded corners and a lack of texture. The seemingly rushed and repetitive map designs left a real question of where the time had gone during the creation. We can only assume it went into the creation of the Exo-Suits, the only thing that seemed heavily detailed besides some truly amazing celebrity replication mentioned later. Maps were often glitchy, with disappearing walls. Vehicles and doors would still hinder the player’s movement even when it could not be seen. Along with many glitches that made players capable of attack without any chance of return fire, it was an absolute mess!
2.) Halo-esque gameplay was a real turn-off for many franchise fans. One consistent of Call of Duty was maintaining a healthy and full relationship with realism. Whether it was the front lines or the behind-the-scenes special ops, it was always true to life in almost every aspect. Advanced offered many more futuristic (and, let’s face it, insane) tools, weapons, and supports. One of the most notable, and my personal least favorite, was the Exo-Suit. It allows you to super-jump and use a variety of skills as you upgrade. It is fun at first but quickly loses its flair. Especially in multiplayer, where you literally cannot utilize it without the risk of being shot from the sky. The modern-day version of Duck Hunt. In zombies, there are several upgrades available for it, each more costly than the last, and it is just another drain they had thrown into the mode that we will address.
3.) Anti-Cheat was not a big factor for this installment. Though a commercial success, it was clear early on through reviews and fan forums that it was sinking fast and quickly becoming a dud. As such, it did not receive the care other mainstream titles did, and hackers took full advantage of it early on. It was normal from the release to see mods and hacks actively used in open play. Reporting players usually went into the “well, I tried” pile of good deeds for the day. Endless clips, peek hacks to see through solid structures and walls, and countless others, including, on occasion, an exo-suit fully capable of flight. Did I mention I hated the exo-suit?!
4.) The store associated with this title often failed during purchase, managing to accept the cash but not provide the item. Personally, I dealt with this one many times. The purchase would be successful, and all was well, but downloading came. It could literally take days to see the gun applied to the inventory if it worked. But more often than not, around 89%, a message would inform you that the download had failed. The purchase also did not show in your downloadable content, and you had the grueling task of contacting tech support (who were clearly just as irritated over the issue as we were), hoping to retrieve either the cash or the item. That was another multiple-day wait that would often end in a refund rather than the object of your purchased affection.
5.) ZOMBIES! ALMOST EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT IT! As an avid zombie fan, this title was both exhilarating, then later, highly irritating, ultimately becoming discarded in favor of servers with less glitchy maps and more active player interest. It could take days to find an online match in any of the four modes the game offered, which led to mass abandonment by fans, tired of playing solo or not playing at all. It also included many old features in a new way that fans didn’t appreciate in the slightest. The highest mention is the pack-a-punch, which could be hit up to 20 times for varying amounts of cash. While it sounded like a dream in theory, the reality was you had to upgrade guns and your Exo-Suit every few levels if you wanted to survive. And the various other upgrades that came with it all in a short time or were immediately exploited by the risk of weakness. A never-ending drain on the player was trying to survive wave upon wave of zombies! Some of which featured their own exo-suit, making any kind of reprieve impossible unless one rode any of the multiple glitches to be found in the shoddy map design. The only bragging point to the edition was the cast. John Malkovich, Rose McGowan, Bill Paxton (RIP, we miss you!), and John Bernthal are all done in totally recognizable detail. Each one is amazing in their role. It was the first time I really didn’t care which character I played as. The designers definitely deserve credit for the all-star cast that also included Bruce Campbell and Laura Post. COD has often used amazing celeb cameos, and this one was a real treat with a good back-and-forth between characters and some really entertaining dialogue to laugh at along the way.
Join Game On next week for another look into this titan among the biggest franchises in gaming history, and please take some time to peruse the other amazing content our great team has to offer! See yall soon!