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Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the next upcoming entry in the successful combat franchise from Activision and developer Sledgehammer Games, which co-developed 2011’s Modern Warfare 3. It takes place in the not-to-distant future, where private military corporations (PMCs) have taken over for the nation’s armed forces, outsourced at will to the highest bidder.

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The largest of these, Atlas Corporation, is run by Jonathan Irons who is played by none other than Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), arguably the biggest star yet to appear at length in a video game. Having a talent of this caliber signals the importance of performances in this game, and thankfully the technology of these current-gen consoles seems to be up for the challenge. I was able to get a close look at the new tech being used while at E3.

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Activision’s demo began with the “Induction” level, 10 July 2054 0500 HRS. It was a thrilling introduction into the world of Advanced Warfare, with great facial capture performances, weaponized mecha and drone swarms, jet-pack boosters and strength-enhancing exoskeletons. If Halo took place forty years from now, this is probably what it would look like. The gameplay trailer for the level is included below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sRUZ9p4oYQ

You really get a feel for the characters, and the ending cinematic is more harrowing than expected. Call of Duty has always sought to blur the line between film and game, engaging the player, and the experience here promises to come even closer than ever before. We were also shown an exclusive stage called “Collapse,” set 4 years later, in which the protagonist Mitchell (Troy Baker) and his squad must stop a team of rogue mercenaries from detonating a bomb on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

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The new types of weapons, including multipurpose “smart” grenades, threat display modes, and portable bulletproof nets, completely change the dynamics and tactics usually found in CoD and other FPS games. I haven’t been this enthused for a CoD entry since the first Modern Warfare. The “Collapse” ending was jaw-dropping, and earns its moniker.

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The team at Sledgehammer Games have done a marvelous job of making the future tech plausible. The environments and cityscapes are great as well, coming close to photorealism. With a brand new engine, new physics and audio, this is a piping hot fresh title that will put the PS4, Xbox One and PC gaming rigs through their paces. In a way, we’ll get the futuristic combat campaign mode we didn’t get with Titanfall. Expect humungous things out of Advanced Warfare, coming November 4, 2014.

Be sure to visit @NukeTheFridge for all things awesome, including our wrap-ups for E3!!