Call of Duty Ghosts (PS3/PS4/360/XBone/WiiU/PC) was released as the latest outing in the premier FPS lineup from developer Infinity Ward. As the latest entry in the CoD series, we have come to expect certain things, mainly decent graphics, a fast paced multiplayer environment, a mix of old and new guns and a Michael Bay-esque single player campaign. The problem here, however, is not that they did not deliver. To their credit, they did, but this was all they did. This game plays it safe, so safe, such that aside from some very minor additions I can’t see how this is any different from the last one.
The story this time around, thankfully, does not focus on China, Russia nor the Middle East as militaristic entities that only the US and its armies can topple. This time around, the nations of South America have formed a Federation, a global superpower in the face of economic crises following nuclear destruction of the Middle East (sigh). To not spoil much, the Federation then begins to expand and it is not long before it begins to take over the Caribbean and Central America. Not to sound like everyone else who hates the Call of Duty series, but tell me you have not heard this one before. After a few years of fighting, a secret group of soldiers is formed to thwart the bad guys and topple the regime. It’s about as dramatic as you would expect, but since every CoD story tries to out-due the prior, this just seems a bit flat, even including the space battles and your new companion dog Riley. As in my Battlefield review, I won’t knock the game too much for its story. At least it has an enjoyable one whereas BF4 barely has one. But the story is too dry for my liking, and much worse, this formula of trying to one-up the prior story with more spectacles is getting stale.
Now, the story may matter little to you as the multiplayer is really where CoD shines, and for you diehard fans of the series, you may be a bit disappointed. Ghosts plays similar to the other games in that you pick a custom soldier and edit their loadout, perks and killstreaks to your liking before going out into the battlefield. To add to this, they have finally added the ability to choose between a male or female avatar, a much welcome addition. But that’s pretty much it. What I did like was the new maps that they added, which are bigger and similarly dynamic when compared to the BF4 maps. In some maps you can do things like trigger a bomb that changes the terrain when it explodes. This ensures that not every match will consist of the same run and gun gameplay. Sometimes you have to be prepared for the ground to literally change beneath you. However, even then there is a problem: the maps are too big. You will spend a long time running about looking for people to shoot, and as CoD is faster paced than other shooters, being unable to see anything to shoot for so long is a bit jarring. Lastly, and a bit of a rant, are my issues with these killstreaks/perks. Now I get that CoD prizes itself in creative and fun killstreaks but this time around some of them are ridiculous, namely the deadeye perk, and the maniac and guard dog killstreaks. I may not be the most well-seasoned FPS player around, but having a killstreak that grants you a dog that can magically teleport mere feet from your location and kill you in one hit, but itself takes several to defeat, seems kind of iffy to me. Likewise, a knife wielding enemy with extra armor and increased speed seems downright silly. However, having a perk that gives your guns a chance to do more damage the more people you kill, is literally making it easier for the person with the most kills to hold on to the top spot, and I just don’t understand it.
Bottom Line: I do not want this review to come off as unabashed flame-bait, but it is really hard for me to like this Call of Duty. Literally aside from a dog, female soldiers and aliens replacing zombies, this is the same game you played last year. Even on the next gen consoles, it does not look that much different from what is playable now. For the first time since Activision wowed me with Modern Warfare, this CoD title was just boring. I would almost hate it were it not for the fact I can’t recall ever playing a CoD game online without hearing nonsense over voice chat. Unless you can find this for a discount, or on sale, I would highly suggest you check out Battlefield this year, even if you are a long fan of the series. Perhaps they are saving their guns for next year’s game, but for now, I’m sitting this battle out.
Next Review: Killzone: Shadow Fall
by Ayodeji Asagba