"Call of Duty: Ghosts" hit the top spot on the UK sales charts released this morning for very good reason. This version of the "Call of Duty" series is several stories wrapped up in one big blanket. For the most part, that makes the game something that is definitely worth trying out. At times, the story seems to get lost in the telling. It is almost as though the developers of the game put so much back story into certain aspects of the title that they forgot to include enough back story in other sections. Even when the story is well put together and actually makes sense, this isn't "The Last of Us" or even "BioShock Infinite."
"Call of Duty: Ghosts" is exactly what it aspires to be. The game is one where players are able to run around and take down their enemies with a variety of different weapons and vehicles. The game is not trying to set new standards when it comes to military first-person-shooters. What the game does and does well is to add a couple of new chapters to the COD mythos. That's enough for fans of the franchise and newbies can pick up the game and go right to work. As far as being compared to the best games of the year, this title falls well short. As far as being compared to some of the best games of this particular genre, the game measures up well.
Ghosts picks up at the beginning and during the aftermath of a massive attach on the United States from a South American military power called the Federation. This is where the storytelling falls very short. There is no explanation as to how the Federation came to be, or why the United States was left as vulnerable to the power as it ended up being. While players will actually play different scenes that are set before the official beginning of this story, the developers did a disservice by not allowing a real backstory to the Federation.The story that is laid out there is also a little bit hokey, but manages to tug on the heart strings just enough so as to not be unplayable or unwatchable.
The actual gameplay doesn't really stand out from other "Call of Duty" titles in the series. There are some new features, such as getting to take out enemy helicopters using both drones and the Ghosts own copters. When all is said and done from the campaign game play, its more a continuation of what has made the series successful, than anything really new and innovative. That works for fans of the series, or those just stumbling onto it. Those who are not fans of the line of games are going to have the same problems with this iteration as the others.
The one new playable character, that has gotten a lot of attention and a few raised eyebrows is the dog. While some people have had a real problem with this particular function, it actually works rather well in "Call of Duty: Ghosts." Riley is able to get into and out of situations that call for someone or something smaller and more agile, and the writers did a good job of finding scenarios that fit well. There aren't any situations where the player is left scratching their heads, wondering why the dog has suddenly taken center stage.
As with most COD games, the multiplayer is the jewel of the game. Whether playing as a team or one, on one, there are hours of fun that can be had with the multiplayer features. The problem is that the multiplayer functions are very, very similar to what has been shown off in the other "Call of Duty" games. While this multiplayer function certainly isn't a step back in any way, shape or form its also not a step forward. Being able to create your own soldier and form a clan are fun features, but not different enough than what players have been able to do in the past. It's solid but unspectacular.
The Extinction level was billed as the biggest new addition to "Call of Duty: Ghosts." That is part of the problem with the game and the thing that has left some gamers feeling a bit empty. Extinction simply isn't deep enough, or special enough to be so celebrated. Most troubling is that the "class" feature that has been talked about seems to actually be a drag on the level. There doesn't seem to be a way to choose what class to play as, at least for people who haven't spent hours online in multiplayer. This wouldn't be quite so annoying if the game didn't limit the "weapons specialist" to a pistol as his primary weapon. Blasting wave after wave of alien intruder with what feels like a pop-gun can get a bit tedious after a while.
The fact that neither the alien horde, nor the objective of the level changes all that much becomes tedious as well. This level also seems to have not made it possible for gamers to communicate with each other through headsets. The regular multiplayer allows as much chatter as the players wish, but Extinction seems to demand radio silence. That is especially odd since the developers forced each member of the four person team to have distinct skills in order to force teamwork. Teamwork becomes more difficult when you can't talk to one another.
- Story in campaign mode is good enough to want to see to the end.
- Lots of fun shoot-em-up fun
- Multiplayer is as good as ever
- Story in campaign mode has some rather large holes in terms of main backstory
- Extinction seems unfinished
- Not enough truly new content.
An Xbox 360 copy of this game was given to Examiner.com for purposes of this review.