Call Of Duty Ghosts – Review and Game Analysis
By Dan Maurer
Developer: Infinity Ward
Writer: Stephen Gaghan
Composer: David Buckley
Engine: IW Engine, Havok
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Dates: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Wii U & Xbox 360 (November 5, 2013), PlayStation 4 (November 15, 2013), Xbox One (November 22, 2013)
Genre: First-person shooter
Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
While most people consider the Call of Duty campaigns to be little more than additional filler, tacked onto the multiplayer, I’ve always found them a compelling draw. The stories aren’t the most engaging nor are they particularly deep, but they are at least energetic, explosive, and highly effective at drawing a reaction from the player, even if a few cheap tricks are employed to get it. Call of Duty Ghosts by contrast, offers a startlingly lethargic solo experience, with a story lacking in character, or characters in this case, and going through the expected motions with little evidenced enthusiasm.
The campaign isn’t exactly bad, but it is a banal shooting gallery without the remarkable setpieces or memorable moments to carry it. Very much a COD-by-numbers affair, players quickly blitz through the usual tasks with dutiful obligation. Obligation is a fitting word to use when talking about COD Ghosts solo missions, the obligatory bit where a temporary player character dies, the obligatory aircraft sequence, the obligatory escape while shooting things from the back of a vehicle, the obligatory sniping part, the obligatory chapter where you’re walking quietly in grass. More than any other Call of Duty, there is an overwhelming sense of having been there many times, and having done that more than you can count.
For the most part, the graphics on the current generation version of Call Of Duty Ghosts seem to be about on par with last years Black Ops II offering. To a degree that is a good thing and a bad thing. In some instances the characters and settings look very well done and in other instances, it looks very bland and gives you the feel of “been there, done that”. On the 360 version, COD Ghosts runs at a steady and smooth 60 FPS while on the PS3 version it struggles at times to hold 60 FPS. Unfortunately I did not have access to the next generation versions of COD Ghosts so I cannot provide a glimpse into the graphics of the next generation versions. The multiplayer graphics also appear to be about on par with the multiplayer in Black Ops II. Maps online appear to have a slight detail upgrade in this year’s game.
It’s fun, but it’s not engaging. In some games, I have choices. In Ghosts, I do the Right Thing or fail. Frustratingly, even the decision to follow the constantly barked “keep moving” order can get me killed. That repeated flavor dialog should be ignored: save heroics for the scripted moments, stay crouched, and pop up sporadically to shoot at the bad guys. In rare instances, I was able to part from my squad, flank the enemy, and wipe them out with the advantage, but that kind of tactical planning was a sparsely present treat. It appeared once more in a jungle mission which put columns of guards between me and my squad, arming me only with a silenced pistol and sensor to detect nearby enemies. That was the only time I was given a goal and left to achieve it without explicit instructions for every action.
That was also the only time I got a magic bad guy sensor, and that’s another of the campaign’s failings: it fires off interesting ideas and then instantly forgets about them. Near the beginning, I’m introduced to my canine companion, Riley, and I can mark targets for him to quietly attack. I did that once when ordered to, and never again. Later, I get to use a remote-controlled sniper rifle to clear out a stadium. It’s a great gadget that I’d have liked to plop down on my own a few times, but it never shows up again. Both weapons are like toys that I get to demo in the store, but never get to take home.
Multiplayer is a blast or at least, it is if you’re really good at it. Otherwise you’ll just find yourself respawning in a persistent cycle of death while playing the classic Free For All mode. Ghosts embodies some new features in multiplayer such as Squads where you command a team. My team is driven by artificial intelligence, so it doesn’t really feel like you’re commanding that much at all. It felt like I was feeding my AI cannon fodder to the meat grinder. Elsewhere there are the usual kind of play modes you would expect: Team Deathmatch is the usual 10-minute or 75 kills battle of two sides, while Domination is there for capture-the-flag play.
If you enjoy the Call of Duty series and the “more of the same” story and multiplayer entertains you, then I would run out and grab a copy. Otherwise most people will not care about the forgettable story and stick with Call Of Duty’s bread and butter, its multiplayer.
PunchDrunkGamer Final Score: 7 out of 10
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