Nope, no Titans here. Just the old[Call of Duty experience we all love...
It's that time of year when everyone loves to hate Call of Duty, but no one really means it. How long has this ordeal gone on? 5-6 years? People love to complain, it's in our nature. We all love to "review" everything we hear, see, do, play etc. It's a vicious cycle that will never stop, but it does not really matter how much people complain as in the end they all end up doing what they "hated" in the first place. The same goes for Call of Duty, complain as much as you want, you are still going to play it.
I played Call of Duty Ghosts and I enjoyed it. I started with the campaign, cause that's what I do first with each CoD game, I play the always amazing singleplayer first, then I visit the other modes. Most of the people who buy Call of Duty, never play the singleplayer, they just jump directly to the multiplayer or Zombies or whatever other mode is included. The campaigns of Call of Duty games have always been amazing and that of Ghosts is no exception.
Set in an alternate future, the oil-producing nations of South America form "The Federation" in response to the ensuing global economic crisis and quickly grow into a global superpower, swiftly invading and conquering Central America and the Caribbean. After years of fighting, a peace treaty is signed and things calm down for the better. But that didn't last very long as "The Federation" decided to invade a US weaponized satellite or space station, codenamed ODIN, and use it to wipe the USA from the face of the earth. While the fight for ODIN is happening in space, down on earth we are introduced to the legendary US spec-ops unit, the Ghosts, and to the two brothers and main protagonists of the game, Hesh and Logan Walker. Then all goes to hell as ODIN fires upon the US soil, shattering the earth around the brothers while they make their daring escape. The perspective then shifts up back in space where you as a US operatives manage to bring down ODIN saving the day. End of the first mission...
The next mission sees you playing as Logan, ten years later. The brothers are now part of the US army or what is left of it, attempting to hold off an all-out Federation invasion. But this time around something has changed. The Federation is more organized and know where, when, and what to attack. Leading them is Rorke, the main bad guy, and as we later came to know, an ex-Ghost. The bros learn about Rorke and his plans and are tasked to track down the legendary Ghosts as they are the only force to stand any chance against Rorke and The Federation. And the story just picks up from there.
When I first heard about the plot of Ghosts I got really excited. A full scale invasion on America and you are part of the badass spec-ops Ghosts that use guerrilla tactics against overwhelming odds to fight for survival? "Wow, I cannot wait to play that" - I said with myself. But I was kinda disappointed that I didn't find any of that. What guerrilla tactics when you have tanks, choppers, remote controlled snipers, rockets, and even space shuttles to use at your disposal? Sure, I didn't want the Ghosts to use sticks and stones against The Federation, but still having access to all of the gear I previously mentioned, undermines the whole guerrilla warfare tactics deal. It's not a David vs Goliath scenario, it's not a Red Dawn like scenario, it's just two powerful nations fighting each other. Sounds familiar? That's cause it is, we already have played this in Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2. All-out US invasion, counter attack from the US forces using advanced military equipment, lo and behold, the US wins in the end.
Many people say that if you have played a Call of Duty campaign, then you have played all of them and I think the same. But many of these people also say that because it is the same, it's sh*tty, bad, awful etc. This time I don't think that claim stands. Yes you may have played in the past missions that were kinda the same, but does that make these new missions automatically bad? Of course not! Yes we have all played an infiltration mission in a snowy location or a jungle. Yes we have been underwater before. Yes we have taken over an oil rig before. Yes, yes, yes, but that does not make these missions awful or bad or whatever people are saying on the internet.
You get a sense of achievement after completing each mission. You get the sense that you and your actions are having an impact on the world around you. The missions are still as amazing, epic, full of explosions and blockbuster action as we have seen in previous Call of Duty games, maybe even better. But you also understand that Activision and IW are only setting up the groundwork for the Ghosts timeline, much like they did with the first Modern Warfare. There are some plot holes that are never filled, some questions remain unanswered and some actions are unexplained. But as I said, we will meet the Ghosts again in two years and I cannot wait for it...the cliffhanger in the end + after credits...OMG!
The characters are cool and overall badasses, but none is memorable like Price or Soap. The Ghosts are the best at what they do, they go in "against all odds" and are prepared to die to achieve their goal. But I did not get attached to anyone, maybe because of the writing or maybe because no one felt like a real human being. Hesh talks a lot, but doesn't really say anything with impact, Logan is totally mute, Merrick and Keegan are just two gruff military hardened dudes and Rorke, the bad guy, he was okay...I guess. The Federation broke his mind and soul using terrifying tortures after he was left for dead by his fellow Ghosts, so I get why he was pissed and hunted down the Ghosts, but still that does not justify killing millions of innocents in the process. And then there is the dog, Riley, which was marketed as one of the coolest features of Ghosts, next-gen dog etc. is cool and all, but his screen-time is so tiny that he is not even worth mentioning.
Enough about the singleplayer, let's address to the elephant in the room, the multiplayer part of Call of Duty: Ghosts. It is composed of three main modes, the Multiplayer, Squads and Extinction. Historically the Multiplayer of CoD games has been very good, extremely fluid running at 60fps and the gunplay has been always good or has become after a few patches. Yes each game has had it's annoyances (broken spawn system, lag, sh*tty hitbox, douchebag scopes and gear etc.) and Ghosts multiplayer follows those same lines. In the end it is what you make of it. Playing in a full party and blasting away the noobs is still fun, getting a nuke, or KEM Strike as it's called here, is still fun, using a noob-tube-loaded quad-rotor is fun, getting a quad feed is difficult and fun, but also some of the problems that have plagued most of the CoD games in the past return to kinda "ruin" the fun. The spawn system, for example, is all over the place meaning that you or an enemy will spawn behind someone and get an easy kill. Camping, yep people love to do that, is made easier by the mechanics and tools that are in the game. What I like to call "douchebag scopes" (thermal scopes and "targetfinder" like scope) along with the "camping equipment" return in Ghosts making life easier for bush wookies and head glitchers. But there are also some new "problems" present in Ghosts, the main one being that most of the maps are just too big for just 12 players.
Playing on Stoneheaven, Flooded or Siege (yuck!), most of the times, is boring. It is not fun to run around for what it feels like ages only to be killed by some who just spawned behind you or by someone who has been camping for the whole match with a thermal scope attached to a sniper rifle. Maybe they designed the maps for the next gen who can support up to 9v9 Ground War, but by doing that they hurt the majority of the players. I don't have a next gen console, yet, so I can't comment on how it differs from the old gen, but I guess it plays way better. They added some new modes, like Cranked where you have 30 seconds to kill a enemy or you get blown to bits, or Search and Rescue that works like a mix of Search and Destroy and Kill Confirmed where teams take turns defending and destroying an objective, recovering dog tags to allow or deny respawns, to "fight" the whole camping/head glitching deal. Most of the time playing these modes is very enjoyable, but the community will always find something to exploit for their "advantage".
The strike package system from Modern Warfare 3 returns in Ghosts where you can choose to have either Assault, Support or Specialist. It is basically the same system that performed well on MW3 and it is even more fine tuned in Ghosts. The packages are more balanced in terms of what is available to use and its effects on the battlefield. The perks also have changed, where now you have a total of 8 points, or more if you remove all the gear and use only the primary weapon, to allocate to your character. Depending from the perk and its tier, the "price" ranges from 1 to 5 points and I must say that there are quite a few to choose from. The unlock or progression system has also changed from past CoD games. Where in the past you unlocked new gear, weapons, attachments etc. by leveling up, now instead you earn "Squad Points" which you can use to "buy" or unlock what you want. I really liked this system cause I could get what I wanted after playing just a few matches, for example, I didn't have to wait till level 60(?) to unlock the C4. I forgot to mention that the high "killstreaks" are not that lethal, meaning that these will not get crazy kills for you, so just stick to the lower ones like SatCom, Dog and Trinity Rocket or the Maniac which is f*cking cool btw. Knifing has also changed from the insta-kill super fast swipe in previous games, it has become more "Battlefield-y" where now there is an animation that leaves you defenseless and open to attacks for a brief moment. What else has changed? Well, I guess that is all for the Multiplayer. It is still fun and enjoyable if you land on a good lobby with good players, but it can also get kinda boring.
Apart from the main Multiplayer, there is also Squads and Extinction. Now Squads, I don't get. You play against other people's soldiers which are AI controlled, but supposedly play as the player himself?! Something that has also changed, which I forgot to mention above, is the way the loadouts work. Instead of having a character with up to 10 loadouts options, you now can have up to 10 soldiers each with 5 (maybe more) loadouts options. You unlock each soldier by spending Squad Points and they are unique, meaning that what you unlocked for a soldier can't be used by another one, you have to buy it again. Again, I don't get! Why would I even bother with it, what do I earn? From what I saw, simply nothing. Maybe IW wanted to create something like MW3's Survival mixed Black Ops Combat Training, but I didn't really see it. Maybe if I dive deep and explore its insides there maybe something to make it worthwhile, but it's not for me.
What it is for me is the fantastic new Extinction mode which to put it simple is IW's take on the Zombies mode. I am gonna say it, I never really liked Zombies in the first place. Running around in circles to get the zombies lined up to then smoke them with a pack-a-punched machine gun or Ray Gun never really appealed to me. But somehow Extinction hooked me up. The game mode features up to four players fighting aliens in a post-apocalyptic world. Players have objectives, which are to destroy alien Hives & complete Challenges. Players also earn money by killing aliens, destroying Barrier Hives or searching Search Piles. The money earned from these can be used to purchase additional guns placed through out the map (similar to Zombies) and use abilities selected pre-game. It has this kinda Dota 2 like system, where you level up your pre-chosen abilities and gear as you play, becoming stronger the more you play. You can play aggressively by placing traps, automated turrets, call in support choppers to annihilate the aliens etc. but you can also play support by dropping ammo crates, explosives, vests for the other players. You get the sense of true co-op, there is strategy involved and all that combined creates some cool and engaging sessions. The aliens are also way better than the zombies. There are many different types with different attacks/abilities and they can be quite unpredictable at moments. They will flee when they are in danger, hide then storm you in groups or shoot you from afar. I can talk for hours, but you should just know, if you enjoyed Zombies, then you are going to love Extinction.
Bottom Line: As I said in the beginning, everyone loves to hate Call of Duty, but no one really means it. That goes for Ghosts too. Yes we might have played some of the missions and we have seen that same story before, but that doesn't make it bad. Campaign is great, full of epic set-pieces and blockbuster action. Multiplayer is really good too, although it may become a little boring if you are playing lone wolf. Extinction is fantastic and I highly recommend everyone to play it, no matter what people are saying about it. As for Squads...meh. It looks really good even in the old gen with some great level design (train level FTW) and cool looking environments (Yay Space!). So to finish up, Call of Duty Ghosts is a good game that is worth the investment, but as always for trans-generational games, get it for the newer systems!
Thanks for reading!
Call of Duty Ghosts was reviewed on a PS3 using a promo copy provided by Activision. Call of Duty Ghosts is now available for PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.