Call of Duty: Ghosts is the title in a long lasting franchise that has had the most expectations built up upon its shoulders. This comes down to the fact that Call of Duty has been the flagship title that has defined the first person shooter genre since 2008 and now, as we move to the 'next generation' of gaming, we are expecting the title to be to come up with some defining brilliance that will mark the first steps of years to come.
Unfortunately, Ghosts doesn't manage to bring a revolutionary brand new experience but rather presents itself as another decent addition an already successful series. This doesn't mean that Ghosts is by any means a bad game, instead it is the fact that it is a leading title in our gaming generation that sometimes it is faced with unfair criticism for sticking to a winning formula. More than anything its up to the latest title in the series to take up that formula and tweak it in interesting ways. Ghosts reliably does that, by offering an entertaining campaign that has the likeness of watching an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, your not going to be moved or touched by the emotional experience but it sure is going to light up your day as you watch the action unfold.
Campaign - It's a dog's life
The story in Call of Duty: Ghosts takes on a bit of a role reversal where South America rises up as one united continent that form under the single banner known as The Federation. This militant group eventually manages to spread its influence across the world and outside of it, as they manage to force an attack on a US orbital station that is in control of a weapon known as the Odin. The Federation manages to use the Odin against the North American continent, perpetually sending the American states into a state of disrepair. Among the fallen soldiers and citizens rose an elite force of soldiers known from the enemy as the Ghosts. The single player campaign follows the story of two brothers that work their way into the elite group in an attempt to save their beloved America from the brink of extermination.
Playing through the campaign, you will be taken to several different locations that range from the outreaches of space all the way back to the beaches of Los Angeles. As far as the events go in the campaign, there are definitely some spectacular moments. My biggest problem, however, was the fact that I felt tethered in the story telling process. In the same way that one would ride a roller-coaster, Call of Duty drags you along in the story and doesn't really allow you to keep experiencing the moments that you enjoy. You are quickly taken from mission to mission in an somewhat rushed fashion that is pretty much told for you to do, you have no choice.
One inclusion to the campaign that we have to mention, just due to the fact that is was most marketed component of the story, is that of the inclusion of the a dog (Riley) to your squad. In Ghosts you will play along side mans best friend that will assists in taking down, distracting and spying on enemies from the Federation. Whilst the missions along side Riley might be fun, Infinity Ward have definitely overplayed this card by attempting to market Riley as a 'wow' component to the game. At the end of the day Riley isn't worth all of the hype, its a dog, that I feel is difficult to care for when the theme of the game is killing people.
Overall the campaign offers an action packed and event filled story that will keep you entertained during its short duration of 4-5 hours. Some mission did feel slightly rushed as the checkpoints where extremely close to one another and were quickly finished. What you can expect is a campaign that tells an interesting enough story that plays along the same formula that we have come to expect of a Call of Duty title.
Multiplayer - A frustrating experience at best
The Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer from Infinity Ward has made some changes from their predecessor Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. This has been thanks to the introduction of several new features that include a perk system, game modes, squads and extinction co-op play. The multiplayer manages to take what it had from Modern Warfare 3 and take some steps forward as well some steps backwards in the attempt to make a more dynamic experience.
Some of the new modes to Call of Duty: Ghosts that have received the most attention are Blitz and Search and Rescue. Both are reiterations on previous game modes that have been modified for the Ghosts multiplayer experience. These modes all bring a slightly new feel to the game, but both feel like the 'easier' versions of their predecessors Capture the Flag and Search and Destroy respectively. One noticeable change when trying to experience the game modes is the change of size of most of the maps which seem to have up'ed the scale quite dramatically. This means that there is slightly less action when it comes to most maps, as you find yourself searching for players much more than previous titles. The overall gameplay of ghosts multiplayer experience is slightly frustrating at times as the larger maps and the increased amount of objects/clutter promotes camping. It must be said, however, that once again Infinity Ward has delivered one of the best 'gun-play' experiences as the hit-detection as well as consistency in kills.
The create-a-class-system in Ghosts has changed up the perk system to a similar way that the Black Ops 2 title used the pick 10 system. The difference now with Ghosts is that they have increased the amount of perks and added a weight to the perk value. More can be read in detail about the perk system here, but what the basic summary is that the perk system brings a sacrifice with each point you select. This creates an interesting way to build you character, as you are constantly weighing in the consequences of your selection. This creates an added layer of strategy as you are always trying to counter your general expectations of what your opponent might have. The perk system in Ghosts really does manage to encapsulate an amazing and deep strategic element that makes the gameplay feel much more than it already is.
Another new introduction to the multiplayer is the addition of the squads mode. In squads you can play along side your created soldiers from the multiplayer experience and take it to co-operative play. You and your created soldiers will battle along side one another in the attempt to take on your friends squads. You will not be in control of your team mates and this means that you will need to concentrate on what type of soldiers you want on your side. This means that on large maps you might want to setup your squad full of snipers and assault rifle players, where as on smaller maps you might need some team mates with shotguns and small machine guns. Squad modes acts as a great way to learn the ropes of Call of Duty, and in that way acts as training wheels for the larger multiplayer arena.
Extinction - Face the Horde
Extinction is the replacement of the Spec Ops modes that we became familiar with in the previous Modern Warfare titles. With the new name, Call of Duty: Ghosts has decided to chuck spec ops and introduce this brand new survival type game mode. Similar to Black Ops's zombie game mode, Extinction is all about facing down against hordes of enemies. These enemies, however, are no longer brainless dead creatures but agile aliens. It up to you and your team mates to drill into an alien hive in the attempt to destroy it, as the drill gets deeper and deeper so does the trouble you land yourself in as the alien horde becomes ever more powerful. You earn cash that you can use to buff up your defense in numerous ways, such as purchasing ammo crate, sentry guns and weapons.
The initial play through of extinction was fun in that it was a brand new survival mode that kept you on your toes. You would constantly get excited by the variety of creatures that you faced in the attempt to defend your drill. As mentioned earlier the initial levels were enjoyable, yet the fun seemed to dry out quite quickly, especially once you had seen all that there is to offer. Extinction eventually turns into a laborious sequence of events that doesn't quite hit the mark or leave the impression of its most comparable counter part, zombies.
Call of Duty: Ghosts delivers what we have come to expect from its past titles. That is an action packed campaign that follows along the same base formula that has allowed it to become one of the best selling series of a generation. Your not going to be left in awe of an amazing story but rather you will take joy in the shear action packed ride that you find yourself on. When it comes to the multiplayer there has been some refinement on gameplay, however, its like drinking champagne out of a cup in the fact that the environment surrounding the gameplay is not of the same standard.
Call of Duty: Ghosts had been expected to accomplish great things by revolutionizing the first-person-shooter franchise, but ends up just being good instead.
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