One of the pillars of each Call of Duty game, at least over the last couple entries in the franchise, has been a strong co-op mode. The Treyarch games have had the Zombies mode, Call of Duty: Ghosts had Extinction, and Advanced Warfare has added the Exo-Survival mode. While Advanced Warfare seems to draw a lot from the Treyarch games, this co-op mode is much more reminiscent of the Survival mode from Modern Warfare 3. There are a few differences, not just the obvious ones that stem from the upgrades that are the draw of Advanced Warfare. Notably, you select an Exo Class – Light, Heavy or Specialist – which dictates what weapons and scorestreaks you can use.
The Exo-Survival mode, as I mentioned, is pretty similar to the Survival mode in Modern Warfare – mainly due to the fact that each game is played on the multiplayer maps. You play on the same maps, and deal with ever increasing in difficulty waves of enemies. At certain points, the waves content might switch up; you could be tasked with holding down a Hardpoint, or with picking up intel off of dead enemies. That is a different format than how it went in Modern Warfare 3, which was much more of a standard hoard mode. It also feels similar to the second co-op mode in Ghosts, Safeguard, which was also a round based hoard mode. Instead of having a set end point like Safeguard though, Exo-Survival doesn’t have a set end point, instead asking players to survive as long as possible.
While it is possible to load up Exo-Survival to play it solo – that what I did to get a bit of a feel for it – it’s really a little too much to expect to play it to the highest levels solo. Part of that comes from the fact that it’s built as a co-op experience; it’s intended to be played with friends, so of course it’s difficult for a solo player. The other part comes from the way that classes are set up. You select an Exo-Class, which dictates which weapons you can use. There’s no crossover, so if you like playing the Heavy Exo for the added armor, but want to use an SMG, you’re out of luck. You can switch classes at any point – finding the Exo-Suit spot where you can also put in upgrades. That Exo-Suit you pick also dictates which scorestreaks you can call in, as well as which movement abilities you have access to. That’s why I think it’s really important to bring in a group of players, to mix up not only the scorestreaks but also the weapons you have available.
As for how I would approach it – I think you really don’t need to have a Specialist class out there. They have access to the Remote Turret initially – which takes them out of the action while they’re using the turret. And their primary is a shotgun – the Tac 19 for the first few waves until the next ones unlock. As a huge fan of shotguns in video games, I have to say that the Tac 19, which I was excited to try since it’s a directed energy shotgun, just doesn’t quite measure up. The rate of fire is slow and the range is real short, with a long reload time as well. With a full four man party, you might be able to cover those shortcomings, but I think in general you’re better off with mixing together Exo Light and Exo Heavy. You’ll have just about every range covered, good scorestreaks to help, and a good mix of mobility. You need to work together to get through the higher levels, calling out the movement of the more dangerous enemies, and make sure to use your upgrade points in between rounds to bulk up, and you’ll have a good time with Exo-Survival. It’s a nice little diversion from Campaign and Multiplayer, but I will say that I don’t know how much longevity is there. It’s not as deep as Zombies or Extinction; but with the Zombies teased last weekend, we might have something more in the future coming to help that out.