In gaming, sequels are an opportunity for a development team to take an established franchise, cling to what works and then shake things up a bit: a new setting, new character, or new features, for example. Call of Duty is one of those franchises that flew in the face of this, offering nearly the same game with every iteration; you'd frequently find the same B-movie military story, the same multiplayer, and even in later games, Activision would frequently bring back old rehashed Call of Duty multiplayer maps. For awhile, sales numbers were through the roof, as gamers flocked to each new iteration regardless of how repetitive they were, but then something changed: Gamers stopped buying. Call of Duty: Ghosts underperformed compared to its predecessor, prompting a change – the biggest change yet for the Call of Duty franchise. This change runs through the entire game, starting with the developer; it's out with Infinity Ward and Treyarch, in with Sledgehammer Games. The setting changes from modern day military bravado to futuristic, high-tech warfare complete with exo-suits and sonic-based weaponry. The story still follows similar beats, but the change occurs with the big name voice actors (and likenesses) that Activision brought in: Troy Baker and Kevin Spacey. Multiplayer has been given brand new life with new features like Pick 13 and increased mobility. It says Call of Duty on the box, but for most of the ride it feels like anything but. Where the game feels similar to past Call of Duty games is the single player mode, which looks and feels similar to past iterations in the franchise. The setting and toys are different, but the set pieces and mission structure is still the same. There is still the obligatory stealth mission, there are still missions where you'll be playing “follow the leader,” there are still missions which hinder your abilities or give you one new, amazing weapon but only for that mission. If you're a fan of “popcorn flicks,” i.e movies that focus more on explosions and action than drama and dialogue, you'll find that the story in Advanced Warfare is a fun romp. Just turn your brain off, kick back for eight or so hours and have fun being a super soldier from the future. Chances are good though that you're not here for the story, and no one could blame you. If you're here for the multiplayer, then prepare yourself for one of the best multiplayer offerings that Call of Duty has brought to the public in years. Between the new Pick 13 system, which gives you unparalleled freedom to create the soldier you want, the quick unlock system and the ability to use all of the single player mode's futuristic gear, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's multiplayer is unlike any other. It feels familiar while at the same time feeling fresh, as players double-jump around one another and use a variety of new gadgets such as the scope that lets you see your opponents through walls. In addition to competitive multiplayer, wave-based survival makes a return as does the ability to play multiplayer against bots. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is not only the best multiplayer package in the franchise, it may be the best this year. Unfortunately, if you're playing on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, that package is slightly marred by graphics that under-perform, especially compared to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC versions of the game. Activision made it clear that the current generation took the lead for this game, and while the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions aren't ugly, it's clear that the focus was on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Regardless of which system you're playing on or your feelings towards past games in the franchise, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is highly recommended. It's a return to greatness for the franchise, and shows that you can teach an old dog new tricks. If you're a fan of the first person shooter genre at all, pick it up when it releases on November 4th, 2014.