Developer(s): Infinity Ward
Platform(s): PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox ONE, Wii U
Review Platform: Xbox 360
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Review Note: Activision provided us with a retail copy of COD: Ghosts for review.
If there’s one thing I have to give Infinity Ward credit for, it’s for admitting that the Call of Duty franchise is not geared towards gamers. Even if you were the casual type who plays to de-stress for a few hours here and there, COD should be the last series you’d want to turn to. The lack of ambition and innovation is outright shameful. You can find dozens of bargain bin FPS titles right now that offer more creativity and diversity than several CODs combined. But wait! The latest Call of Duty: Ghosts is here to remedy the growing stagnancy. It’s an invigorating solution to the predictable checklist structure that will catapult the series in an entirely new direction. A dog! COD has a dog now. It has a dog! It has a dog that barks and does occasional stealth stuff and then disappears after a few missions. It’s groundbreaking, it’s revolutionary, and it’s a game changer. Call of Duty has a dog now!
I will never forget the awkward E3 developer demo where the only thing they had to showcase was the curvature of riflescopes, some frolicking fish, and the dog. A dog! COD has a dog now. Now frankly, no one expected the series to make drastic changes in the first place, but when every step you take evokes a discomforting sense of déjà vu it’s hard not to feel disgruntled. But that’s ok. We now officially know that Infinity Ward isn’t here to please gamers. They’re here to continue feeding the bro-sheep with the exact same product each year until their popped collars fall off. Fear not though, COD has a dog now.
To be fair, gameplay has always been strong in Call of Duty and the latest Ghosts offering is no different. Guns have a nice weight to them and popping headshots is a breeze. But honestly, it’s not that different from the six-year-old Modern Warfare. I briefly re-played through the MW campaign before embarking on this review for the sake of comparison and the differences were minor. If anything, going through the old MW highlighted many of Ghosts' weaknesses. The linearity and hand holding has become so severe; the game may as well play itself.
When the Ghosts title was first announced, I thought hey, maybe they will add more player choices and give us the opportunity to play either stealthily or guns blazing. That would make sense, right…because they’re Ghosts?! But no! There’s one jungle level (which by the way is the only level that offers some player freedom) where you’re able to use stealth and it’s genuinely interesting. It shows great potential, especially since you don’t have to follow directions verbatim, but it’s over in a heartbeat. The rest of the game consist of the expected corridor shootouts, turret sections, sniping sections, crouching in the grass sections, and while the brief outer space and underwater scenarios provide a glimpse of creativity, they’re over way too quickly. And wrapping the dull single player campaign together is a story so poorly written, it made me laugh out loud on more than a few occasions.
The multiplayer is still fun to play if you’re a COD devotee, but you won’t find much new material here. A Create-A-Soldier & Perk system gives the generic army men a bit more flexibility and the option to finally play a female is a welcoming touch. But the rest is just a series of minor tweaks and adjustments to a formula that doesn't really need fixing, rather a complete overhaul.
Instead of the Zombie mode, we now have a cooperative Extinction mode where you fight aliens while protecting a drill that’s grinding through some alien tumor looking masses. It’s much more fun than fighting zombies due to the aliens’ animalistic movement and fast speed, but it’s still just a temporary distraction and nothing more. Then there’s the Squads mode, which is a multiplayer-single-player-hybrid allowing beginners to hone their skills and take their earned XP over to the MP, but feels too much like filler material and is completely unnecessary.
Call of Duty: Ghosts already grossed in a billion dollars in the first 24 hours and is sadly the only feedback that Infinity Ward cares about. It doesn’t matter what I say, It doesn’t matter what other gamers say, it only matters how much money the frat-bros can throw at the developers. Ghosts is a lifeless, derivative, and catastrophically uninspiring copy-and-paste product that carries an undeserving sense of pride and should be avoided by anyone who’s passionate about their gaming. Games like this are the reason sequelitis has become such a detriment to the gaming industry and why we’re seeing less and less original IPs. If COD is your thing, you’ll certainly enjoy the latest permutation, but that’s still not reason enough to make it worthy the full price tag.
|Final Score||“Derivative and Uninspiring”||5.5|
The game looks great, technically. Creatively, however, it's incredibly uninspiring and shallow. Every level in this game you've already seen in other games, but only a million times better.
It still plays very much like the six year old Modern Warfare. That means the gameplay is smooth and solid, but it also hasn't changed much in years.
It's a game designed to make billions off of rich tasteless frat bros. It's marketed towards them, not gamers. It's the exact same product every single year…and I really think that enough is enough. It's time for change!
The guns and explosions sound fine, as they should, but the voice acting is so bad it hurts. With such a gargantuan budget you'd think they'd hire more convincing actors.
Review by Tin Salamunic
Tin Salamunic is the founder of The Game Scouts. He is a Video Game Journalist during the day and illustrator by night. He's been obsessed with video games since the early NES days, collecting every major system and game on the market. Video games are the reason he pursued the illustration career and he hopes to be creative director for a video game company one day. All Articles by Tin.