Call of Duty has always been one of those game franchises that some people hate and some people love, but it wasn’t until Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 was released that the game really started to reach levels of unprecedented popularity. Black Ops 2 was the pinnacle of the Call of Duty franchise, spawning masses of supporters, the CoD fanboy was finally born, ready to watch stream after stream of professional players arguing about how one is better than the other.
But can the Call of Duty franchise keep up know that the Ghosts are on the scene?
To be honest that’s a question that might take a little while to answer, however it is one that is currently on a lot of these pro players minds, and to be honest, it is likely to be one they should be worried about.
But we will get further into that closer to the conclusion of this review.
When you first boot up the campaign for Call of Duty: Ghosts you find yourself in a scene set in the near-future, the USA’s own space missile called Odin has turned on them, programmed to destroy the world as you know it, Infinity Ward sets the scene like many others have done in the previous games, and is just as predictable too.
Like many of the other titles in the series, your character switches during the game, but for most of the storyline it centers around two brothers, Logan and Hesh who joined by their dog Riley, must try to save the world from the evil Frederation, who plan to basically blow up the world and kill the entirety of the Ghosts squad, of course not everything goes that simply, with huge battles along the way you often find yourself in drawn out fight scenes that seem to be more of a grind than a campaign.
One good part of the storyline is definitely the voice acting, which when coupled with those new graphics make grinding somewhat enjoyable, if only for a few minutes.
This grind continues throughout the rest of the game, and most of it seems to be a bit to jam-packed with gun fights without any substance or even an immersive storyline, to put it simply the campaign for Call of Duty: Ghosts is a ten-hour combat training mission
However for some, none of that will truly matter, as one of Call of Duty’s main features is its multiplayer experience, which I might have to burst your second bubble on.
The multiplayer in CoD: Ghosts takes a lot from the pervious games in the franchise, with similar equipment, weapons and maps, you often find yourself recognising a lot from the Modern Warfare series, in fact one of the maps has been copied directly from Modern Warfare 3, just changed to a more modern era.
There are some new additions, the first of which is a bit more acceptable than the second, a new Create a Soldier system, in Ghosts you can now extensively customise up to 10 unique characters, each of whom have up to 6 load outs (although you only start with three unlocked), 60 different classes and 20,000 possible configurations, all of which uses the Pick 10 system, allowing users to swap stuff like equipment for some extra perks.
Also included is 39 new weapons, 12 new pieces of equipment, 35 new perks, 36 new scorestreaks and a varying amount of new attachments for each of the weapons, all of which making Ghosts’ multiplayer a lot more ambitious, with tons of options now available to the CoD player, their loadouts can be adapted perfectly to their play-style, however there is one problem with this kind of system, the Call of Duty elite will be fine grabbing points and unlocking their weapons quickly, however this may mean that some of the newer players to the franchise may find themselves left behind, with additional perks, they’re basically lambs to the slaughter.
The second new addition to the Ghosts is the size of the maps, which myself and a lot of other players have found to be a bit on the large size, and often they become to large to even play in, dragging games out and causing you to often run around for minutes looking for another player. I do understand why they have done, with the game launching on the next-generation consoles they simply need more room, but when there’s a max of 12 players on a console (only 6 of which you can kill), the multiplayer often becomes a little dry and frankly, boring.
No longer can you use your previous Black Ops 2 techniques, with maps favouring a more laid back assault rifle playstyle, meaning that you will often find a camper at almost every corner on a map, simply sitting, waiting and hoping that someone will run by.
And on top of all that, the spawn system is frankly shoddy, you often find yourself spawning right next to the other team, or a member of the other team spawning behind or in front of you, making solo games frustrating.
That said, I’m not entirely unimpressed with the maps on Call of Duty: Ghosts, as with the addition of new dynamic map elements, games can often get a little interesting after blowing down a door to uncover a secret pathway, or blowing a set of logs to fall on a player below. There’s even a new scorestreak called the K.E.M strike that will turn the map into a war zone, completely changing routes which you would normally take, and often flattening buildings in which you would normally hide.
Call of Duty has always had some type of extra gamemode to play if you’re not a fan of the previous two options, and Call of Duty: Ghosts is no different, in fact it has two, Extinction and a mode called Squads.
Kicking off with Extinction, Ghosts’ new alien invasion playthrough, you take the role as an officer who has been called into an alien invasion, alongside up to three other players you must fight off hordes of alien creatures making your way through the multiple levels, eventually making your way back home after a successful mission.
What makes this mode interesting is the level of detail, unlike Zombies, players must carefully manage their teams loadouts, special abilities, equipment and power-ups in order to set up a successful squad and make it through to the end.
However if Extinction is not the game mode for you, there is one other, called Squads, it is a cooperative wave defence mode where you must survive through waves of bots with only a selection of weapons and scorestreaks, despite the mode taking most of the data from your already created squad members.
This mode is sort of like what Combat Training was in Black Ops II, except you can’t use it to level up your multiplayer character, but you can use it to train with a selection of weapons and scorestreaks you might struggle to get in the multiplayer game mode.
Overall I found Call of Duty: Ghosts a weird successor to play, sometimes it can be rather enjoyable, but most of the time it is a pure annoyance, with a lack of an exciting storyline, or even an imagination, CoD: Ghosts doesn’t feel like its set in the near-future, and often finds itself reminiscing to the times of Modern Warfare 3.
Alongside this Ghosts has left behind a lot of the features that made Black Ops II so successful, features that allowed the competitive scene to thrive have now been removed, with a lack of any competitive game mode or even a Codcaster feature, I wouldn’t be surprised if this game found itself left in the dark, unnoticed and alone, it’s likely that this game will simply become a Ghost in itself, with titles like Black Ops II and MW3 constantly overshadowing it.