The spectacle that is 'Call of Duty' returns with another annual dose of war in 'Call of Duty: Ghosts'.
'Call of Duty: Ghosts' keeps the series running on par with expectations. A good fact, if you are set for more of the same "magic" that made the modern take on the series a hit., or rather draining if you are feeling fatigued from its annual bullet storm. The setting might be a new chapter for the series, but, Ghosts is haunted by its own feeling of “been there, done that”. Slightly exhausting, the single-player campaign is yet again a series of quick missions wrapped in a nonsensical war drama of rouge agents and terrorism. Well it not necessary a negative because some sequences are entertaining, but it Ghosts doesn't stand out more than other editions of the game. If I had to tally it up, I would say Ghosts is kind of like 'Call of Duty 3' of the modern era.
Even with some fatigue, Ghosts presses on and is surprisingly the more focused then its 'Black Ops' counterpart. This is accomplished with the focus centered around one character, Logan Walker, and his elite military family of the Ghosts. You will also have short stints as a few less memorable persons, although being a gun-toting astronaut as Baker is Ghosts first “wow moment”. Another nice surprise is the inclusion of an interactive military trained German Shepherd named Riley. Although Riley's actual playtime is short, Infinity Ward did an above average job implementing your canine companion into a few select sequences. Perhaps some redemption from our furry friends interaction in 'World at War'.
The Hunter and the Hunted
All this is wrapped up in another middle eastern drama with another power-hungry military outfit looking for world domination. The new main antagonist, Gabriel Rorke, is the main draw here, although you never gain enough insight into his character to really bite on his homicidal motives. All-in-all, it is 'Call of Duty' after all, and personal investment only goes sos far. While other editions have done a better job in "connecting" with the narrative, I can see some promise as the "Ghosts" series moves forward.
The single-player campaign is set up in “set-piece” style, sticking to the classic COD formula of story-telling. Half the time it can be overbearing and a little pompus, but a few missions manage to stick out through all the "trying to hard". Heading into the next scenario rarely feels natural, and even when you’re running along fleeing devastation to save your life, you can feel the set-up for the next big-bang moment. If anything, even the twists, feel predictable due to the series history. Still, the scenarios are varied enough to hold your interest for their allotted screen time. To highlight a few missions, I would have to say the Predator-esq “The Hunted” and the underwater sequence in “Into the Deep” to be a couple of my favorites.
Ground Control to Major Ghost
Production wise we reviewed Ghosts on the Xbox 360 platform, so we cannot comment about the next-next-generations presentation. However, on the “older” machines, Ghosts looks and sounds great. The real star is variety and the use of new situations so you never get bored of one visual style. There are some impressive shots especially in “Ghost Stories” and “Loki” chapters where take charge as in astronaut, or “Federation Day” as you zip line and assault from the side of a skyscraper. It’s all about the vistas in Ghosts with a loss in fidelity when you get up close to worldly objects. Still, Ghosts is a great looking game that stays on par with past productions.
A league of its own
We all know the single-player portion of a 'Call of Duty' game is only half the draw; the other is the multiplayer. This year Ghosts sees some likeable changes to the run-and-gun formula that will reward everyone from the casual to the hardcore. First off you will notice a revamped create-a-soldier system that gives you more freedom when creating a player. The perk system has also been revamped without limitations to how you can spend your points. This makes Ghosts even more expansive when it comes to creating your online persona, and more importantly, keeps replayability value high.
14 maps are included (which will grow as the year progresses) with a surprising amount of new game modes. The map size too seems enlarged which offers up more room to play, although some might miss that tunneled in feeling. Still the assortments of maps are diverse enough to keep things stimulating, and adding to this is the startling addition of partly destructible or alterable maps. While it might not be on the same level as 'Battlefield 4', but it gives an extra dynamic to the rather static multiplayer.
A new mode called 'Extinction' also makes a debut in Ghosts. Extinction is basically the alien version of the Zombies mode. The switch from the undead to extra-terrestrial is a smart move that shakes up the multiplayer with new enemy types that add a fresh challenge. Taking on the alien horde in this class based co-op extension is a lot of fun, abet a little slow in progression. While skeptical at first, Extinction quickly won me over and is one of the stand-out features in Ghosts. When you add this all up, Ghosts keeps 'Call of Duty' as a leader in the online shooter market. Cranked up with enough changes, the online community should embrace the changes made in Ghosts.
The body count continues to grow as 'Call of Duty: Ghosts' clams another victory in the online multiplayer market. However, the single-player portion of Ghosts fails to come alive with the same renounced vigor. Ghosts is not bad, it’s just exhausting. The attention deficit campaign offers up even fewer magic moments then before. It could be our expectations, or simply the lackluster shoot-outs, but Ghosts really struggles to live up to former brilliance. If you’re one of those gamers who is only interested in the single-player aspect of 'Call of Duty', you might want to wait to Ghosts price becomes more of an apparition.
Similar Games: COD: Black Ops II (7.8) | COD: Modern Warfare 3 (8.0) | COD: Black Ops (8.5) | COD: World at War (9.4)