THE CALL OF DUTY FRANCHISE has been going through a period of stagnation over the past couple of years.
While each new title has changed the era and location of the game's battlefield, the core linear run-and-gun single player and punishingly competitive multiplayer gameplay has, by and large, not evolved since the first Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Hardcore Call of Duty fans, of which there are many, have not really cared about each new game's lack of real variety, but it has undeniably hindered the series' ability to reach new players, and made the multiplayer arenas a fairly unfriendly and intimidating place for newbies.
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is, at least in part, designed to fix these issues and is therefore one of the most important releases for the series in recent memory.
The game imagines what warfare will look like in the future and adds several new Sci-Fi features and abilities to the franchise's traditional first person shooter gameplay.
Advanced Warfare is split into single player campaign and cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. The single player mode sees you take the role of ex-marine Jack Mitchell as he shoots, stabs and claws his way through a variety of future battlefields.
Not giving any story spoilers away, but Advanced Warfare is pretty much everything you'd expect from a Call of Duty title and is little more than a fist pumping tale of the square-jawed American hero saving the world from terrorists and corrupt business moguls.
In short, the plot acts as little more than a fluffer to explain why you are progressing from linear mission to linear mission.
While we found the narrative a little disappointing, especially when you consider the fortune Sledgehammer Games must have paid heavyweight actor Kevin Spacey to play antagonist Jonathan Irons, the gameplay does go a long way to make up for it.
At its heart, Advanced Warfare's single player mission format remains the same as its predecessor's and simply requires you to blast your way from one section of the map to the other while working through sporadic quicktime events.
The familiarity of the format is reinforced via Advanced Warfare's close to identical control system to past Call of Duty titles.
Despite this, the game manages to keep the gunfighting interesting thanks to the stellar settings and the addition of exosuits.
Exosuits are body armour worn by the soldiers of the future designed not only to protect them but to improve their natural abilities and offer a variety of advanced powers.