It’s that time of year again – November, which means a new Call of Duty has released. This year’s edition is Call of Duty: Ghosts. Ghosts is released by Infinity Ward and Activision and has a near-future timeline. The game builds off the success of the series’ previous titles, but does include some new features that make it more than a “copy and paste” game.
Now, some people are under the impression that each game is a yearly release by the same team, like Madden or the 2K NBA series, but that is not the case. Call of Duty has two developers: Treyarch and Infinity Ward. Treyarch has released World at War, Black Ops, and Black Ops 2, while Infinity Ward has released the Modern Warfare series including Ghosts. This means each developer has about a year and a half to make a new game and add as much as they can on the current engines and console generation. So, next year the game will be made by Treyarch.
This review will be broken down into four parts: Campaign, Multiplayer, Squads and Extinction.
Call of Duty: Ghosts brings a new story with a new set of characters that are not tied to any of the previous games’ storylines. Infinity Ward wanted to make clear when they first announced the game that it was not, in any way, tied to Modern Warfare 2 because that game had a very popular character, Ghost, in it.
This story unfolds as follows. In the near future, the Middle East begins to run out of natural resources, mainly oil, and seeing this, South America unites under one banner, effectively making them a global super power (Note: For those who do not know, South America is also oil rich). They call themselves the Federation and as they begin to realize their power, they start to expand their empire. This leads to them eventually attacking the United States, which brings us to the actual, playable story.
This time around, the story centers around two brothers, their father, and their dog who are part of the remaining U.S. Resistance forces on the west coast. Besides the new characters and the new location, the story plays out pretty much exactly like all of the other Call of Duty titles. It’s a small group of elite soldiers against a powerful and seemingly infinite enemy.
Some of the maps and missions are awesome, making for different scenarios for players rather than just having the entire campaign being running and gunning. The set pieces in this COD also do not disappoint, as there are still some awesome explosions and other things of magnitude happening in front of your face.
The story is more intriguing than some others in the series, but it is still a Call of Duty story, so it will not be on the same level as Bioshock or Crysis.
This is obviously the biggest part of COD ever since Modern Warfare changed the online shooter genre forever. This game’s multiplayer has some awesome tweaks that set it aside from the others and make it, in my opinion, the best multiplayer experience since Modern Warfare 2.
To start, you can fully customize your soldier in this title. From their face to their gear, you have the ability to change everything, after unlocking the items of course. The soldier can be male or female, which is also new to the series. This allows for a more personal COD experience and also gives the fans of the franchise what they have been looking for. The soldiers you create in multiplayer are also used in Squads Mode, which I’ll get into later.
Also, a new feature to this game is the ability to purchase literally everything you would want, from perks to weapons to attachments. The player no longer has to wait until they reach a certain level to unlock something; you can but you do not have to. This is because the developers really did a good job of balancing out all of the guns, as well as the maps. There is not one gun that is super powerful anymore, nor one class that is either. This doesn’t force players to go into one class. Players can really customize the game and their experience.
There is also a new weapons class in Ghosts. It’s called Marksmen and it’s a hybrid of the Sniper class and the Assault Rifle class. All of these guns are similar to the FAL from previous games, so they are all single shot with a lot of power. There is an attachment to allow for three-shot burst on these guns, but it is not select fire and putting this attachment on makes the gun significantly less accurate unless the player is very good with the class. Just speculation here but I’m fairly sure this is because in MW3, players could make the FAL a fully automatic, which was just unfair and defeated the purpose of it.
The maps themselves are the best, in my opinion, the series has ever had. They are all relatively large, but do have alleyways and buildings’ close-quarters combat which allows for players of all different types to enjoy each map. In past entries, the maps would either be huge or tiny with no middle ground. These maps are not to the same scale that the Battlefield maps are, but they do seem larger than the maps in other games. Having played online for 12 hours, actually not too much compared to other players, I can say that I have not played a map that I have hated yet.
One of the two new modes in Ghosts is called Squads and it blends multiplayer with AI controlled bots. Your squad is comprised of soldiers you create using the Create-A-Soldier system, and each is outfitted with the class you designate. Different classes will change the way the bots act. If you have a team of all snipers, they will all sit back and try to pick off opponents. If you have all of your bots outfitted with sub-machine guns, they will be more apt to run into the foray and play more of a run-and-gun style.
The actual gameplay is broken down into War Games, Safeguard and Head-to-Head.
War Games are basically player-controlled soldiers against an AI team of six. The player-controlled team selects the difficulty of the AI before the match and that dictates how much XP the players receive.
Safeguard is like Spec Ops from MW3; the player and their squad faces off against waves of enemies. How many waves are determined before the game starts. There can be waves of 20, 40 or infinite.
Head-to-Head pits your squad against the squad of another player. The winner gets the XP and ranks up faster.
The final game mode was leaked shortly before launch and is called Extinction. This game mode plays like zombies from Black Ops. Instead of zombies, though, players are trying to kill aliens. The aliens, unlike zombies, can jump over things and are very agile. So some thought has to go into each round instead of everyone lining up the zombies and head-shooting them all. There is no winning in this mode because much like zombies, it is a “go until you die” mode.
Overall, I believe this is Call of Duty’s strongest entry since Modern Warfare 2. You can tell how much effort Infinity Ward put into making this game to give the players exactly what they wanted. From character customization to not having to unlock things to use them, this game checks all my COD wants off of the checklist. The single player is forgettable, but that would not be why you’re buying this game. Multiplayer is the best it has been, and the two new modes definitely make this game worthwhile.