Call of Duty: Ghosts (360)

By Chip Tamplin

Published on Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Like most shooter fans, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (or COD4) changed what I felt a shooter could do with its gripping campaign, tense firefights and fantastic multiplayer. Over the course of the last seven years, the Call of Duty franchise has spanned from World War II to the Cold War to the well into the future; from developers Infinity Ward to Treyarch and back; from Russians to Nazis to cyber terrorism. Some of been great, some have been let downs but one thing has been solid throughout: the franchises sales. Call of Duty has been a sales juggernaut since Modern Warfare 1 and shows very few signs of slowing down.

For most fans of the series, multiplayer is really the only component that matters; if the stories good – that’s fine, but they probably won’t finish it. For me, I buy games for the single player experience and if the multiplayer is good that’ll keep me playing the game. Over the course of the franchises tenure in the limelight, Infinity Ward has been, far and away, the superior in comparison to Treyarch. Treyarch certainly stumbled with Black Ops 1 (the weakest game in the franchise, in my opinion), but vastly improved with Black Ops 2. The addition of choosing your weapons before missions and decisions in game affecting the ending (only a handful of choices, but still a welcome addition) made Black Ops 2 a major surprise for me. Infinity Ward kept touting their changes to the franchises for their newest installment, but it never really felt like much changed in the single player.

Following the complete nuclear destruction of the Middle East, South American oil countries come together for economic stability and form a global superpower known as The Federation. The Federation proceeds to hijack the Orbital Defense Initiative (ODIN) and decimate the portions of the United States with rocket strikes. This is where your story begins. You play as Logan Walker and are teamed up with his brother David, their father and his fathers elite special forces team to attempt to stop The Federation.

The campaign started off very slow but eventually started to build up a few hours into the campaign. If you’ve ever played a Call of Duty game before, you’re going to experience all of the same scripted events; incredibly linear and nearly impossible to fail stealth missions, sneaking past convoys of vehicles, barely escaping something you just blew up and slow motion anti-climatic endings. One of the few fresh ideas of the campaign was a stealth underwater mission where you’re tasked with blowing up a ship from below. While the majority of the level was generic, while swimming through the wreckage of previously destroyed ships you come across a group of sharks, and you have to strategically evade them. One wrong mood and the shark will violent destroy you. One of the few times during the campaign I was actually on the edge of my seat.

While I have a strong gripe with shooters still not allowing you to choose your own load outs pre-mission (especially given that Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and DICE’s Battlefield 4 have caught up with the times), the addition of your infamous dog companion Riley was pretty fun, though it felt under-utilized. With a simple tap of (LB), you’re able to send Riley sprinting after an enemy where he’ll proceed to pounce on the guy and rip his throat open. Violent, but very effective…and fun.

Since most of you reading this probably couldn’t care less about the single player, I’ll move on to multiplayer. While I found the campaign an overall disappointment, the amount of time they spent refining multiplayer can’t be overstated. The class system has been completely redone, allowing for a greater detail of player class customization. With these sweeping changes, players are afforded the ability to create and customize 10 unique characters, each with up to six loadouts, for a total of 60 available classes and 20,000 possible configurations.

The new system expands on Black Ops 2’s Pick 10 system so you’re able to forego, say, a primary or secondary weapon or grenades for extra perks, weapons or attachments. All of your favorite skills are back, like Quickdraw, Scavenger, Danger Close and so many more. Each perk is broken down into a different category: speed, handling, stealth, awareness, resistance, equipment or elite. Then, each perk is broken down with a number from 1-5 from left to right. The number the perk is given (pictured below) will affect how many perks you’re able to have for that class. So if I take away all weapons – save for a combat knife – I’m able to have 6 level 2 perks. Or, I can choose my MTAR-X with an ACOG scope, a pistol with an extended magazine and a combat knife and have space for four level 2 perks. So, as you can see, the amount of customization you’re able to do for your style of play is fantastic.


Most of the maps seem decent, especially Whiteout and Free-For-All. At times they start to feel a bit too big, with the occasional long drought of finding people, but their layouts are pretty fun. Due to the layouts, a lot of noticeable camping spots lose some of their strategic advantages, which is a pleasant add. If you’re like me and enjoy taking a break from thirteen year olds describing (in great detail) what they did to your mother last night, playing against the revamped AI in local games is a lot of fun too. While I noticed multiple instances of AI’s camping (c’mon Infinity Ward!), the AI are substantially more intelligent, accurate and crafty which makes it a nice place to practice without affecting your kill/death ratio.

Extinction is a brand new game mode, centered on a co-op leveled campaign in which you fight off monstrous aliens. Due to the nature of the beast, you’ll spend many hours trying to perfect each of your loadouts, perks and special abilities to give you and your comrades the best chance for success. My initial impression when the mode was announced was that it was just Infinity Ward’s take on Black Ops’ Zombies mode, but it feels more like Left 4 Dead’s style than Zombies.

Squads Mode seems to have marginally taken the place of the unfortunately absent Spec Ops mode that were common in Modern Warfare 2 and 3. Squads Mode pits you and a friend (you can do squads mode solo as well) against waves of increasingly difficult enemies. You can compete against humans and their AI squad mates or against all AI teams. With the revamped AI this mode is actually quite challenging considering the AI use numerous different tactics against you, migrating around the map like most online players would.

If you’re a fan of previous Call of Duty titles, chances are you’re going to be a fan of this one. While Infinity Ward needs to drastically address its issues with its single player story going forward in the series (especially since we can certainly expect Ghosts 2 in 2015), their attention to detail on multiplayer can’t be overstated. Graphics didn’t fare too well on current gen consoles with most of the graphics feeling very blotchy and with significant clipping during cinematics, but we’ll update this review once we’ve played the game on next gen consoles.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is out now on Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC and will be available at launch for the Playstation 4 (November 15) and Xbox One (November 22).


The Good

+ Revamped multiplayer experience.

+ Vastly improved AI.

+ Squads mode.

+ Killing enemies with Riley.

The Bad

- Generic and predictable single player campaign.

- Multiple campaign game-breaking glitches.

- Dated graphics.

- With the incredible destructibility in Battlefield 4, it's even harder not to notice how dated Call of Duty's engine has become.


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