By now, players know what to expect from Call of Duty games, most notably the multiplayer setup (love those perks), maps and the general ebb and flow of the single player campaign.
That said, the newly released Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is a different virtual beast. For this chapter, Sledgehammer Games went into the future and enlisted the services of Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey to help push the single-player mode. Of course, there are new twists in multiplayer as well.
On that note, here are five game changing features that separate Advanced Warfare from the typical CoD experience.
Boost Jump and Boost Slam
In previous Call of Duty games, when you jumped off the ground, it was usually to get over obstacles or push past a barrier in order to continue pursuing enemies. However, with Boost Jump, which is enabled with one of your two EXO suit power-ups, you can change how you approach combat scenarios.
Case in point – if you're trying to stay on higher ground, you can use the Boost Jump to clear long distances. By maintaining a greater height, you gain an advantage on forces shooting at you from below.
In addition, you can add a Boost Slam to your arsenal. By hitting the A (or X, depending on the system) button twice, then pressing the B (or circle) button, you can initiate a ground slam that will throw off enemies long enough that you can blast them with ease.
The Riot Shield will Improve Your Melee Tactics, and Save Your Life
Let's say you run low on ammunition, despite enemies dropping guns everywhere. If your EXO has one, you can whip out a Riot Shield and deal major damage.
This shield allows you to continue assaulting enemies using your weapon and shooting bullets when you're in the clear, or better yet, utilizing it to place some well-timed melee strikes. This is a useful tactic to stay alive for a while – or at the very least, until you find a weapon.
In some situations, a car door is just as handy, providing temporary shielding (too many bullets will eventually force it to break) as you gather your wits and fight back.
The Sonic Grenade and Gun are Your New Best Friends
Having trouble seeing where enemies are located? Luckily, the introduction of a new grenade system enables you to see further.
While switching between grenade types is useful (like a drone-killing EMP or the rocket-powered seeker grenade), our personal favorite is the sonic grenade. By launching this, you don't necessarily do any damage, but it provides a technical readout of where soldiers are located for a few seconds. This allows you and your team to plan the next attack.
In addition, there are a couple of assault rifles that you can pick up that provide a smaller range of motion readout of where soldiers are located. While hardly as useful as the grenade, they still provide brief silhouettes of where they're at.
Both of these weapons will make a difference with combat situations – and may keep you alive a bit longer.
Co-op Rewards -- Zombies, Anyone?
Playing competitive multiplayer is certainly where it's at in Advanced Warfare, but co-op has something to offer as well.
First up is EXO Survival, where you and several players can defeat waves of enemies coming at you. If you manage to defeat this mode in all four difficulty settings – and get past the fun-filled Riot mode where everything gets thrown at you – that's when the zombies appear.
Now, while the full Zombies mode for Advanced Warfare hasn't been unlocked yet, you will have to deal with the undead for a full round of the game. However, doing so unlocks an awesome perk that you can use in customization – zombie skins. Yep, you can now make your player look like the undead, complete with special zombie armor and equipment.
(More Zombies content is likely to be unlocked in Season Pass updates for the game, so be on watch for more undead.)
A Single Player Story that Matters Again
After last year's questionable storyline in Call of Duty: Ghosts, which involved everything from a deep-space battle to the inclusion of a remote control dog, many players were looking for a story that mattered. Fortunately, Sledgehammer Games provided that with a new campaign that's exciting and fun.
Throughout the game, you'll work alongside your new team at ATLAS, a privately funded contract-for-hire army that goes head-on against a growing terrorist organization, headed by a madman named Hades. The campaign has plenty of exciting moments sprinkled throughout, from a freeway chase with exploding cars to a nighttime race through the city on hoverbikes– move over, Star Wars.
One other factor worth noting is the star power featured in Advanced Warfare. Kevin Spacey is probably the biggest face to be included in the series since Sam Worthington created havoc in the Black Ops saga (or if you want to go back further, Kiefer Sutherland in Call of Duty: World At War). His involvement lets you know that ATLAS is a company that shouldn't be messed with. You thought he was a bad-ass in House of Cards? Heads up.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is available now for PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.