Activision’s yearly franchise makes an illustrious appearance once again in Call of Duty Ghosts, but with many becoming tired of the over the top Hollywood inspired offering, is there room for another Call of Duty, or has the series run aground and struggles to maintain momentum. Take a look at our Call of Duty Ghosts video review for the full low-down on this blockbuster game.
Call of Duty Ghosts review:
Today we’re taking a look at Activision’s massive first person shooter Call of Duty Ghosts which is available now on consoles and PC and is the tenth major game in the now long running series. Separated into two main areas, there’s something for everyone here with its heady mix of single play content and online multiplayer. For the solo player there’s an extensive campaign to embark on, and some multiplayer offline modes as well (for console gamers).
Looking at the solo campaign and its clear the days of fighting Germans circa 1942 are a distant memory, and instead a modern sheen is glossed over proceedings offering a far more relative experience as forces invade American soil once again. Whilst the story doesn’t offer the most original of concepts, players can jump in regardless as they mostly assume the role of new protagonist Logan Walker and are accompanied throughout the story by his brother David. The pair become enlisted into the US Special Ops unit “The Ghosts” and it’s here where they conduct various missions which ultimately lead to victory. There’s an interesting family story that meanders through the overarching action based plot of global warfare and an evil ex-ghost member gone rogue, which serves as a focused preamble to the action laden, over-the-top moments in each level.
Ghost doesn’t pull any punches, and much like its predecessor is big on large scale skirmishes, and a selection of more intimate encounters. In fact, the mission variety is pretty spectacular, with several key moments granting players use of various tools, vehicles and weapons. Whilst some of these extra moments are a little over-familiar now such as the obligatory man the vehicle turret section, their inclusion does help to add a sense of perspective to the game. What’s more, rather than resting on its laurels and simply being a carbon copy of the last game, Infinity Ward has thrown a bone to the single player and included some stealth elements with the much publicized canine friend Riley. Whilst not a dominant force for the latter part of the game, the moments with the dog are pretty good fun albeit a bit too scripted.
The single player game is awash with massive scenes of destruction, and really shows off some fine vision within the Call of Duty world, especially as the battles head into outer space as an extreme. With realism completely on the back burner here what with dogs taking down helicopters and surviving all manner of explosive moments, the game almost feels like a parody of itself, but remains totally engrossing all the same. There are several moments where players might say to themselves, “Did that just really happen?” as the game constantly bombards players with over dramatized set pieces.
As always, the gameplay remains faithful to the series with its tight shooting gallery gun play, although there are some issues with dumb AI, and at times, the scripted nature of following AI team mates feels a bit too restrictive. Whilst this is nothing new for the series, it’s a shame a bit more freedom isn’t granted to the player and takes away any sort of replay value as events play out the same each time. There are areas off the beaten track to explore, but these don’t make up for the fact that most levels are fairly boxed in despite looking quite open in terms of scale.
Where Ghosts exceeds its predecessors is the use of more refined physics which really add a destructive nature to the game’s scripted sequences. There’s some impressive use of shadows, reflections, lighting, and a good use of dynamic weather effects such as wind and rain. For the single player campaign, the game does offer great variety with its visual elements, although on closer inspection of things like textures, the details aren’t as good as some other games. Looking at the game as a whole and in its own context, the looks are pretty good, made even more apparent on the PC or next gen console versions. Performance wise, the game runs very smoothly, although for some PC gamers there are known issues with older set-ups that should be considered before jumping in. Xbox 360 and PS3 console gamers can relish in the delight that whilst not packing as much punch as the PC or next gen versions runs pretty smoothly.
Audio is of a high quality throughout, and with such grand operations laid before players, it becomes a highly sensitive assault on the ears with much shouting , plenty of explosions and the odd barking dog thrown in for good measure. The voice acting is all well performed, and is complemented by the music which remains fitting to each scene as expected with its expertly composed cinematic themes.
In terms of longevity the single player campaign which is always going to be a one time deal unless you’re a sucker for collecting intel, will last a fair number of hours but isn’t the longest or drawn out for that matter. Sadly, there’s no extra incentive like the scoring mode seen in Modern Warfare, so the rest the the play time, is spent playing the additional multiplayer modes solo. For PC gamers this requires online connection, but for console fans the modes can be played solo and split-screen.
For many, Call of Duty is all about the multiplayer and Ghosts offers as comprehensive an experience as ever with some new additions such as customizable Squads where players can team up with AI and take on similar Squads, and the standalone Alien Extinction survival game, not to be outdone by Treyarch’s Zombies. The core multiplayer boasts some larger maps, but lessens the player counts which changes the dynamics and pacing of the game. There’s a good selection of maps and modes on offer, with some new ones thrown into the mix. With the inclusion of female combatants for the first time and compendium of custom options, there’s enough here for solo and online play to rack up suitable hours against bots or humans.
To conclude, Call of Duty Ghosts isn’t a massive step up from the previous game and sits firmly within the safe constraints of what is expected from the series. In its own right, there’s an encompassing and dramatic campaign filled with variety and enough thrills to keep players well entertained although sadly doesn’t offer much incentive to replay. Luckily the extra features of the multiplayer game which can be played solo, add some much needed legs to the overall experience.
Call of Duty Ghosts comes in as a welcome addition to the series that’s big on scripted moments, and offers an over the top experience as expected. With a well entrenched multiplayer format, and plenty of willing fans, you can’t go wrong with the game, unless you’re after any sort of realism or more open ended gameplay. If you like shooters, then this is well worth picking up, simple as. If you’re not a fan of Call of Duty, then what’s on offer here is unlikely to sway you over to the dark side.
Score 8.5/10 – Review By Robert Cram.