Call of Duty: Ghosts was a boring, by-the-numbers game with a rote story and stifling multiplayer. It showed the fraying edges of a vast empire and a team seemingly fed up with making iteration after iteration of Call of Duty; but each year a new release must come. Sometimes those games are marginally fun or have interesting ideas with a stale framework, like Black Ops II. That story had multiple branching paths and the setting took us to the (near) future for the first time in the series history. But Black Ops II still didn’t manage to capture a better framework to challenge the concepts of the stagnating franchise. It was time for a new idea, something to liven up the series and introduce mechanics that change the basic Call of Duty formula, while keeping the structure intact. Sledgehammer Games, a new development studio for the franchise, has found that idea with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
I took a year off Call of Duty. I used to be really into the multiplayer, especially in Modern Warfare 2 and the first Black Ops. I made friends through random matchmaking, got cussed out by twelve year-olds, heard various racial slurs and things that I never knew about my mother, was shot a bunch, shot other guys a bunch; you know the drill. I’m not ashamed to say I had fun with those games. I took a year off with Modern Warfare 3 because it just didn’t grab me and I was in a completely different place with what games I was playing. But I liked Black Ops a lot, so if anyone could get me back on the Call of Duty bandwagon, it would be developer Treyarch with Black Ops II. It’s been about a year and a half since I’ve touched a modern military shooter, and it felt good to return to the party. Even though ultimately, I realized this was a get-together that I didn’t want to stay longer at than necessary.