Advanced Warfare, like the other Call of Duty titles, is presented in a first-person shooter perspective. The game features several significant changes; unlike other installments, Advanced Warfare does not use a traditional heads-up display (HUD); instead, all information is relayed to the player via holographic projections from the weapon equipped. The general gunplay remains unchanged, apart from new mechanics, such as ‘Exo’ movements. These Exo movements are performed from the Exoskeleton, which allow the player to boost, dash, and sky jump. The game is the first in the Call of Duty series that allows the player to choose differing types of conventional weaponry; for example, the game features regular conventional firearms, but the player can choose to use laser or directed energy weaponry, both of which have differing attributes. In addition to Exo movements, the game features different Exo abilities, such as Exo Cloak, which allows players to turn transparent for stealth for a period of time.
The single-player campaign features one playable character, Jack Mitchell, as opposed to multiple characters in most previous Call of Duty games. It uses pre-rendered cinematic cut scenes, similar to Call of Duty: Black Ops II, to assist in the story aspect of the campaign. After each mission, the player is given a certain number of upgrade points that can be used to upgrade the Exo suit or weapons. The player can upgrade detection, armor, resistance, tactical, lethal grenade, sprint, recoil, flinch, reload, quick aim, and battery. The number of points that are given is determined by the players performance in the missions. The player may earn additional points by completing specific side objectives, one of which is collecting the game’s collectable ‘Intel’. The player can switch between different grenades, all of which possess distinctly different abilities.
Apart from the Exo movement, Advanced Warfare’s multiplayer retains certain similarities to previous Call of Duty titles. The Pick 10 system in Black Ops II returns as Pick 13, allowing players to pick weapons, attachments, perks and score-streaks within a total of 13 allocation points. Score-streaks are also upgradable with different modules, allowing for additional abilities/effects, at an extra score cost. Advanced Warfare introduces weapon variants, which contain various different stats compared to the base weapons. This allows the game to contain over 350 weapons, both variants and base versions. Supply drops allow players to earn new gears through playing the game. The content of each supply drop is randomized, and can range from weapon variants to player customization items, as well as bonus experience points (XPs) time. Players can complete daily challenges to earn supply drops.
Exo Survival was first introduced as Advanced Warfare’s cooperative game mode. Considered to be a new version of the Survival Mode from Modern Warfare 3, Exo Survival allows up to four players to engage in a wave-based match against A.I.-controlled enemies. Players can choose from four different classes of Exo, which grant different abilities and score-streaks. Weapons and score-streaks can be upgraded throughout each match. After a certain number of rounds, players are given objectives to perform, such as defending a location, or collecting intel from fallen enemies. Completing the objectives grant players bonus upgrade points; not completing them result in the players being punished, such as having their Exo suits temporarily disabled or activating hostile security turrets. Exo Survival is played on the game’s multiplayer maps, with a total of 13 maps divived into four tiers. Each tier can be unlocked by playing the previous tier and survive a specific number of rounds.
Exo Zombies was first teased at the end of the Exo Survival map “Riot”, and was officially announced with the Havoc downloadable content (DLC) pack. The game features zombies that utilize exo suits, giving them more maneuverability. The game mode stars five brand new characters.
Exo Zombies plays similarly to the original Zombies game mode that has been featured in Treyarch’s Call of Duty games since Call of Duty: World at War: up to four players must survive against endless waves of undead enemies, with an optional story quest that can be completed at any time during a match. Players earn points by injuring and/or killing zombies, and use those points to open doors/clear obstacles, or buy new weapons and perks to strengthen their chance of survival. Players can also acquire exo suits in the game mode, allowing them to utilize new movements. Different types of zombies are present in the game, including Charger zombies that have increased movement speed, and Electro-magnetic zombies (EMZs) that can disable the players’ Exo suit in close proximity.
The first Exo Zombies map, “Outbreak”, was released as part of the Havoc DLC map pack. The second map, “Infection”, was released as part of the Ascendance DLC pack. The third map, “Carrier”, was released as part of the Supremacy DLC pack. The final map, “Descent”, was released as part of the Reckoning DLC pack.