Review | Call of Duty: Ghosts
There are a few things in the games industry that can be guaranteed every year: Madden, NBA and, of course, Call of Duty.
This year it’s Infinity Wards turn to show what they have with Call of Duty: Ghosts. To give focus on each area of the game, I’ll break the review down into three sections: the story, multiplayer (including Squads) and Extinction.
The Story: I’ve always enjoyed going through part of the story mode in the COD series. It’s always gotten me back into the shooter and let me refresh my skills before hopping into multiplayer.
Last year, I actually was fairly impressed with the single player in Black Ops 2. It had a decent amount of optional missions and variety to keep things interesting.
However, Infinity Ward has really stuck to its formula with the story. The mode is a very linear affair and features many staples of past COD titles by the developer. There are huge explosions, a player character is offed, a stealth/sniping part and even a scene that looks almost identical from a past Modern Warfare title.
It’s disappointing to see that even Infinity Ward feels like the mode is just tacked on when compared to the multiplayer. If they don’t want to try reinventing the wheel or even adding anything, why not just put only multiplayer modes in without feeling forced to put a single player experience in the game?
The biggest change in the mode, and the one that Infinity Ward also loved touting, is the addition of Riley, the dog. For the most part, Riley does his own thing, although he can be commanded to attack in a few missions and even controlled for a few small sections. The dog actually feels just tacked on, and not a key addition to the mode.
Unfortunately, the linear affair shows even more that multiplayer is key for most in the COD franchise, and needs to be polished to let the game shine.
The Multiplayer: Like single player, BlOps 2 performed better in multiplayer than Ghosts does. It’s not bad, but considering how much Treyarch changed and added, Infinity Ward really just seems to be going through the motions with the mode.
That’s not to say they haven’t put some new things in. Characters can finally be customized, including gunning as a female, a first for the series. A few new playlists have been added also to play in. The core gameplay, though, is basically identical to Modern Warfare 3.
There is a new mode to try out called Squads, which is nice for a warm-up or when you get annoyed listening to players online. Squads lets you and a group of AI teammates (although friends can take their spots) take on another group of AI opponents based on another player’s settings. You can gain some experience, but not a lot. Honestly, the best use for the mode is for new players who want to get a grip on the game, or for someone wanting to try a new loadout.
Speaking of loadouts, the Pick Ten system from last game is gone, instead replaced with Squad Points (earned by leveling or completing tasks) that can be used to buy new characters or weapons, perks and streaks. To be honest, I actually miss a time when you unlocked new stuff just by leveling, giving excitement of unlocking new things at each level.
Perks also having a point system to take note of. The more useful the perk, the more it costs to equip. So, players can equip a lot of low level perks or a few stronger perks, depending on their play style.
Also back from MW3 is the different killstreaks. There’s the Assault pack, which gives offensive benefits for stringing kills together, Support, which gives streaks that accumulate, and Specialist, which gives more perks the more kills you get.
Overall, the multiplayer is still solid, but you’ve really seen everything here before. With this being the first COD on a next-gen console, Infinity Ward had a great chance to show some new enhancements but decided to continue to play it safe instead.
Extinction: While Treyarch may have zombies, Infinity Ward has opted to put aliens in their game.
Extinction takes a page directly from the Black Ops series, forcing up to four players to take on waves of aliens while destroying hives located across the city. While killing aliens, cash can be earned to buy new weapons and skills can give temporary support items for the team.
There are also four classes to choose from, each with different abilities and perks to try and help a team. Players can also prestige at level 30, giving them a new Relic to use as well.
One thing to note is that the mode does have an ending that can be achieved. By destroying enough hives, a nuke can be activated to give players a definite win.
However, everything here is mostly familiar. If you’ve played the Treyarch titles, you can substitute zombies with aliens and not be too far off with gameplay.
Call of Duty: Ghosts isn’t a bad game, it’s just getting stale at this point. While Treyarch seems keen to at least try a few new things and see what works, Infinity Ward is complacent to bring back more of the same. The game is good and fans of the series will still love it, but the luster the series has previously had is beginning to fade.
Final Score: 3.5 out of 5