Call of Duty: Ghosts Review
Call of Duty is probably one of the most reliable franchises in the video game world. It is always going to come out early November, always going to have a short but interesting campaign and multiplayer that tests even the most calm minded people to stay sane. I guess there is something to be said about reliability. However, there are some serious steps backwards from the previous games specifically removing things that are glaring omissions. For yearly iterations of games to stay relevant they must keep improving upon themselves. Call of Duty: Ghosts is a solid experience, as Call of Duty always is, but also makes me want to play Black Ops II more than anything else.
The campaign is like an action movie. Short, sweet and to the point. You play a character named Logan whose brother, father and I guess, dog, are all part of the armed forces. As you go throughout the story the main character acts as a silent protagonist, which can be done well, but isn’t necessarily done well here. The silence and interactions between Logan’s brother and father breaks the story instead of moving it forward and loses chances for emotional beats. I also wish that some of the story was explained a little bit more. The main enemy or collection of enemies that the United States is facing off against isn’t explained very well and the main antagonist is explained even less. I’m guessing that the Ghosts story line is going to be built upon in the upcoming Infinity Ward titles, but a stronger base would have been nice for understanding purposes.
Furthermore the campaign itself takes a step back from last years title. There is no branching story, no choices to make and nothing to really bring you back for more unless you enjoy the strait forward story. The emotional beats aren’t really earned and the story itself isn’t really anything special. That being said the cinematic experience of the game and the set pieces do look very nice and are sometimes awe inspiring, especially if you are playing on PC. All around the campaign is another Call of Duty campaign that is just missing a few touches from previous years.
Replacing zombies this year is a new wave-based horde mode called Extinction. Players will move from alien hive to alien hive with the goal of drilling through each hive. At each hive players will be completing challenges, buying weapons, unlocking perks and interacting with the map to build defenses against the aliens attacking the drill. I was never really a huge fan of zombies, I know, crazy, but this new Extinction mode is a nice mix of what I did like about zombies, Left 4 Dead and Call of Duty in general that is quite addicting. The challenges vary from different weapons to accuracy challenges and mixes up gameplay nicely. Finally running to get out of the alien infested zone gives of a rewarding feeling after holding down the fort literally so many times. Extinction is a good game mode and I hope that it gets built upon down the line.
But for all of these differences, negative and positive, all anyone really wants to hear about is the multiplayer. Thankfully, I can say, there are some serious changes. However, I don’t necessarily think they are for the better. I was very sad to load up multiplayer and find that my favorite mode, headquarters, is no longer in the playlist. A small complaint, but the new game modes that are put into the playlist called Cranked and Blitz trade slower strategy modes for fast paced bombardment.
There are a couple more things that have changed in the multiplayer mode and sometimes these changes aren’t explained very well. The knifing for one now takes a few more seconds to complete. In older titles in the series the knife was a quick kill. Now the knife actually jabs into another player and takes a second to pull out leaving a time period in which the player that knifes can be killed. It is only a small change to the knifing mechanic but one that drastically changes the speed of Call of Duty.
Another thing that is changed, as it usually is every year, is how the guns are unlocked. Now players are rewarded squad points by earning XP and can be spent in multiple ways. Unlocking guns, attachments, perks and different kill streak rewards with squad points feels good. It allows skilled players to fully pick a load out very quickly. For other less knowledgeable players this system may prove a little tricky to adjust to. Knowing what perks and what guns will service a specific play style can take some time to get used to.
All in all, Call of Duty is exactly what it has been before. Multiplayer is still twitchy, frustrating when things are going bad and glorious when on a run. The single player is kind of an afterthought but an interesting experience. The overall experience is going to be centered around whether or not you like the changes that have been made. It is worth noting that the PC version has known to have problems with frame rate and optimization even some of the heavy hitting rigs around.