Call of Duty Ghosts Review
It's back, but not better than ever
Ever since the release of the original Modern Warfare, Call of Duty has leapt on to the scene as the best selling franchise of all time. Its fast paced, addictive multiplayer and progression system won over gamers, but as time goes on, Call of Duty has become a ghost of its former self. The game is much the same as before: a 5 hour, linear rollercoaster of a campaign with its fair share of boredom and awe alike, and of course, the reason we all play call of duty in the first place, the multiplayer.
This series has been known to take the "if it aint broke" route when releasing its newest entries. Ghosts is no different. With the exception of Extinction and squads, there really isn't too much to talk about that you haven't already seen before. The multiplayer adds a few subtle tweaks, like the ability to slide while sprinting and lean in and out of cover, but none of these are anything we haven't already seen before.
Extinction is perhaps the most innovative part of the game. In this co-op mode, you and your friends must fight through a level filled with aliens. Yeah that's right, aliens. While it would be easy to dismiss this as a rip off of zombies, it does have a few differences to keep it interesting. Instead of defending yourself from wave after wave of zombies, Extinction mode puts you on the offensive. You and your team must race through a level and destroy all the alien hives along the way. As you attack each hive, you unlock challenges that give rise to opportunities to earn more skill points, which can be used to purchase upgrades and weapons. While it isn't the most original mode ever conceived, it is refreshing to see the team at least attempting to differ from the norm.
A campaign that would make Michael Bay proud
Unfortunately, the effort put towards Extinction mode is not present in the single player campaign. The game focuses on a small team of ghosts as they fight back against the Federation, a South American military group hellbent on conquering everything in its path. The story is weak, and the characters are hardly interesting, but it is enough to give rise to the action packed set pieces that put Call of Duty on the map. Yes, enemies still fling themselves into your fire, yes, the game offers little to no freedom in the way you tackle objectives, but it is still a big dumb, at times fun break from the multiplayer.
Squads takes bots to the next level
The other new addition to the game is squads mode. In this mode, you and your customizable squad can take on bots or other squads in standard modes like Attack and Defend and Team Deathmatch, or you can take part in the more interesting ones like survival, which put you and your squad up against waves of incoming enemies. It is the same as MW3's survival mode with the exception that you can bring your multiplayer unlocks into the game. In addition to being able to use your multiplayer unlocks, you can earn them in squads as well. This makes the mode more cohesive with the multiplayer rather than being a separate entity all together.
There is something I have always found odd about the design choices at Infinity Ward, and that is they spend all their time, money, and effort on things like Extinction and Squads, while ignoring the multiplayer. Extinction and Squads are interesting, but they are hardly reasons to buy the game. People play the game for the multiplayer, and Infinity Ward knows it. The multiplayer has a few interesting new game types worth mentioning, like Search and Rescues and Blitz. Search and Rescue is essentially Search and Destroy, but instead of being out for the round when you are killed, the game opts for a more kill-confirmed style of play. When you die, you drop a dog tag, if your teammate picks it up, you will be revived, if an enemy picks it up, you are done for the round. This adds a new teamwork dynamic that you rarely see in COD. Blitz is just all out hectic fun. An attacking team must run into the defending team's zone, the longer they stand there, the more points they get. It is extremely simple, but still fun nonetheless.
Next Gen you say? Doesn't look like it
As Ghosts has marketed itself as the next-gen COD experience, you wouldn't be blamed for being disappointed in the graphical fidelity of the game. It is hardly next-gen material, sometimes it looks even worse than Bad Company 2, a game now 5 years old. If the gameplay were stellar, I wouldn't mind letting the presentation issues slide, but when you barely add anything new to your game, I at least expect it to look good, especially with a budget of this size. It is even worse when you consider that its main competitor, Battlefield 4, is perhaps the greatest looking military shooter to date.
The end of an era?
With every subsequent release fans have gotten more and more tired of the tried and true multiplayer formula. It fails to innovate in any real way, and is just awful when it comes to presentation. While the slight tweaks the game makes may be enough for some, most of us will grow tired of the game within a week. It fails to stand up to its competition, and now that I have played it for myself, I can understand why the back of battlefield has a quote from IGN which reads "Battlefield 4 and the Frostbite 3 engine put COD Ghosts to shame". If falling sales figures are any indication, Treyarch will have to have a lot of tricks up its sleeve next year if this series is going to survive.