Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is part of one of the most popular first-person shooter franchises on the market. The Call of Duty games are known for their great graphics and contemporary realistic military-action feel. Advanced Warfare is a bit of an anomaly because it’s set roughly 40 years in the future.
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Story & Themes
The game features Private Jack Mitchell. Mitchell enlists in the Marines and serves together with his best friend Will. Will dies heroically at the end of the first mission. At Will’s funeral, you meet his father, Jonathan Irons, who happens to be the head of the world’s largest private military corporation, Atlas. Mr. Irons derides the U.S. military, calling his son’s death unnecessary and telling Mitchell that he deserves to “fight for a military that’s as effective as you are.” So Mitchell spends about half the game fighting terrorists as a soldier for Atlas. After a while, it turns out that Irons actually has so little confidence in the competence of the U.S. government and governments in general that he wants to take over the world, and he isn’t afraid to kill several thousand innocent people if that’s what it takes. Mitchell joins Sentinel Task Force, a group charged with stopping Atlas.
There is a checkpoint save system that saves the game automatically, but it can be a bit unreliable in some modes.
People (young men and teenagers especially) flock to Call of Duty in droves because of the competitive multiplayer. If you get shot a few times you die. If you get attacked, you’re probably going to die within one second. Because of how quickly you die in Call of Duty, basically whichever player is spotted first is the loser in any exchange of gunfire that might occur. It isn’t really possible to get attacked and somehow escape or kill them before they kill you through quick thinking or particularly precise shooting. The winner is the one who finds the best places to hide. Getting good at Call of Duty means learning the maps so you can figure out where to best spot enemy players before they spot you.
Violence This game is very violent. Players use a wide variety of weapons (some futuristic) to kill enemy soldiers in fast-paced battles and in one-on-one combat (e.g., stabbing, breaking necks, slitting throats). There are a lot of explosions, much blood, and dismemberment.
Parents thinking about letting their kids play this game have the level of violence and the propaganda-like tone of the campaign’s story to consider. You spend most of the game killing human beings, they do die messily, and the narrative (reinforced by amazing graphics, by the way) does its best to justify and even glorify your actions.
Scary Imagery Other players can sneak up on you, and those who find war and battle scary will find this game frightening.
Strong Language The words “f**k” and “sh*t” can be heard in the dialogue. Online interactions are likely to include profanity.
Substance Use A cannabis leaf is shown as a character emblem.
The online community for Call of Duty is not really for kids. You may hear a lot of swearing and sexist, racist, and other objectionable chat.
Do you think the future will include military equipment like hover boots? If so, how will that change how wars are fought?
How realistic do you think the plot of Advanced Warfare is?
Should the military always be supervised by a civilian government?
Does a game like this make you want to join the military? Why or why not?
When you play online, do you always play with the same group? Do you like playing with real people? Why?