Call of Duty Ghosts is exactly what I expected from a Call of Duty title. There were plenty of heart stopping set pieces, intense shoot outs, online multiplayer, and plenty of “holy $#&*” moments… But is this enough to make this title a success like other COD titles?
The story behind Call of Duty Ghosts was actually quite interesting; you play as Logan Walker in a post-apocalyptic US. You, your brother, and your father are all part of the resistance to stop the Federation from taking over the little land that the US has. On a routine mission you discover that the Ghosts, which were rumored to be long gone, were still in full force on the offensive. From here you and your brother strive to prove that you have what it takes to join the Ghosts to stop the Federation! Pretty straight forward. The story takes you all over the world, from a dense jungle to the dead of the Arctic. Like many of the other COD titles you were placed as the operator of war machines and weapons of mass destruction. While the story is interesting, the levels and game play don’t deviate from standard Call of Duty design, and the campaign eventually feels like it was rushed together and tacked on as an afterthought.
The lack of innovation in this series has been troublesome. Ghosts was Infinity Ward’s reinvention of the COD series, and yet it looked, felt, and controlled like every other COD out there. The biggest change was the returning ability to lean your character from left to right. Despite Infinity Ward’s continual reminders of ugrading the visuals in their engine, there were many moments where object or vehicles in the background appeared as if they were drawn in last minute (I compare it to the scene in Family Guy where they joke about cutting the budget). There were other scenes where you would be scrambling in a base/carrier/etc. to reach an oncoming attack. I notice that as you look down hallways you could see NPCs running down them only to disappear half way down the halls – not even at the end of the hall, just half way down!
The level design was very linear, which is to be expected with a COD title. There were a few levels however that did not have a clear path to follow, which added a fair bit of challenge when compared to the straight hall way level design. There were three levels in which I found myself looking around to try and figure out where I came from! That being said, there were some levels that were literally just a straight line.
Just like the story mode, the multiplayer looks and feels like other COD titles with the biggest change being the solider creation, and load-outs. Each player can have up to 10 different soldiers that they can customize. Each solider has their own level, load-outs (up to 6), challenges, unlocks, and prestige. This means that there are 60 potential load-outs to choose from in a match. Unlocks are unlocked by using squad points which you ear by completing challenges, objectives, and by leveling. I like the customization, however this systems seems very overwhelming! On top of that, it looks like it was designed to incorporate Micro-transactions. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t see the pay scales for a handful of points, a bucket of points, a barrel of points, and a truck load of points and so on. It honestly looks and feels as if micro-transactions to buy squad points can just be switched on at any point. Mind you this is pure speculation and observation, based purely off my experience as a gamer.
The online matches play out in standard COD fashion – there is no real difference from BLOPS 2. The major addition to the online mode is the inclusion of field objectives, which do add a breath of fresh air to the very tired and used formula. Some of the field objectives are tasks like humiliating an enemy (tea bag!), or getting a kill while crouched and so on. As you complete objectives they get more challenging, if you are killed while holding an objective it is dropped for anyone to pick up. The other addition is the addition of dynamic player triggered events that can change the scope of the maps. These range from blowing up a gas station to nuking a level to change the landscape. When I first heard about this I was blown away – then I saw the K.E.M strike on drop zone and was left feeling underwhelmed. There was a countdown followed by a flash of light and boom new map…that was it. There are some pretty neat things you can do on the maps to make new paths, but the addition really isn’t anything special.
Squad mode is essentially more COD but you have a squad of NPCs, enough said.
Finally is the addition of the Extinction mode. This is the “Zombie” mode for Ghosts which is actually a bit of fun. You play as a strike team trying to stop an alien invasion, like Zombie mode you get money for kills to unlock weapons, traps, and so on. You also level up as you progress to do increased damage, hold more ammo and so on. It is pretty fun addition; however it still feels recycled from other COD games.
All in all, Ghosts is a run of the mill COD title; I don’t think Infinity Ward was successful in their vision of reinventing the series. The story and the multiplayer feels very tired and old, the new additions were a nice touch, but in my opinion not enough to bring new life back into the series. That being said, it is still fun to pick up Ghosts and play online or to bang through the story, just don’t expect a master piece or a new COD formula, because with Ghosts A + B = Call of Duty.