Release Date: 11/4/2013Platform: PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360 (Reviewed), Xbox OnePublisher: ActivisionDeveloper: Infinity WardGenre: Military Shooter
Whenever a new iteration of the Call of Duty franchise is announced, you always get those eye-rolls and snarky comments from those that fear the franchise has gone the way of Madden. Infinity Ward is attempting to make Call of Duty: Ghosts the most ambitious Call of Duty to date, bringing many new changes to the series. But, do these changes make this Call of Duty stand out, or does it just feel like more of the same?
Starting with the campaign, the series feels like more of the same. For the most part, you’ll plow through waves of enemy soldiers in the all-too-familiar settings of action shooters, like a moving train and an empty stadium. You’ll also break out a sniper and man a turret, which aren’t exactly a breath of fresh air, either. There are a couple new environments we haven’t seen before, but it turns out they just don’t work very well, such as in outer space. Shooting enemies while in a space suit only feels right if you’re shooting them with a laser gun, and feels incredibly cheesy if you’re doing so with a run-of-the-mill assault rifle. That’s not all that is cheesy about Call of Duty: Ghosts, though, as some of the dialogue and tender moments feel like they belong in a made for TV movie.
The only semi-enjoyable new element to the campaign is that you’re able to kill as a dog for a few missions, which was only sort of fun. The campaign will surprisingly take you 10ish hours to complete, but unfortunately it is 10 hours of mundane gameplay that you just want to power through to get it over with already.
But as far as the multiplayer goes, Call of Duty: Ghosts creates a completely new animal for you to toy with by bringing a number of changes to the franchise. For one, your days of running and gunning are pretty much done for, thanks to the new pace that Ghosts sets with its multiplayer. The pace has certainly been slowed down, mostly due to the fact that the majority of the maps are much larger than the typical Call of Duty maps of the past. And, Infinity Ward has made some animations significantly longer, such as knifing and reloading; you likely won’t be knifing multiple enemies in a row like you could in Black Ops II.
You would think this slowed down pace would favor sniping (which feels wildly unusual thanks to the new look of having the peripheral vision blurred), but that isn’t the case here, as the large maps are mostly incredibly dense, which makes it very difficult for a sniper to even get to a spot to set-up shop to get in some long range kills. And, those that are looking for more than one heavy snow map, like myself, will be disappointed. The new map type and emphasis on mid range combat shows that Infinity Ward wants Call of Duty to veer away from teams having solo studs and, therefore, place more emphasis on playing as a team.
It also takes way too long to level up in multiplayer to earn points to use for unlocks. After playing for 3 hours, I was only a level 8, and only had enough points to unlock one new gun and a red dot scope, which was extremely discouraging. I would have liked to have seen the guns, themselves, at least unlock sooner rather than later, but you’ll have to grind out more than a few Team Deathmatches in order to unlock the layout that you’ll want to use. Setting up a new layout can be quite a daunting task, however, but if you’re not easily intimidated by such things, then it won’t concern you. But the new “create a soldier” mode has plenty for you to tinker with, including a plethora of perks, a considerable amount of guns, and a ton of toys at your disposal. Strangely, though, customizable appearance options are earned through completing specific tasks, such as EMPing 50 enemies with a fully cooked 9-Bang grenade or getting 250 kills with a specific gun.
Extinction is a one trick pony that you’ll likely enjoy just once or twice, but is a welcomed break from the typical campaign and zombie modes we are all used to. The good news about Extinction Mode is that there is an end-game in sight, and isn’t just about you mindlessly fighting endless waves of zombies. Instead, you have a clear objective with different ways to achieve the objective.
Graphically speaking, Call of Duty: Ghosts isn’t the awe-inspiring graphical experience that we’d all like it to be, but it’s not a dog, either. Aside from minor tweaks, it looks like it has to to be able to run at 60 fps. Its sound, however, is quite euphonious and is a step up even from last year’s fantastic sound design of Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
Although it may seem like Call of Duty: Ghosts‘ strongest point is its sound design, it isn’t a bad game, necessarily. Those that love the rush of getting a killstreak going will likely find themselves enjoying the new additions to the series (for the most part, anyway), and to me it is still worth the buy. The most significant change to Call of Duty is the change of pace in multiplayer, but if you’re a patient player and prefer working as a team, then you’re going to love Ghosts.
Story – 7/10Gameplay – 8/10Graphics – 8/10Soundtrack – 9/10Replayability – 9/10Multiplayer – 7/10
Our Rating: 8.0/10