Call of Duty: Ghosts (Multiplayer Online)
With the new consoles coming out, we have a lot to do with such a small team here. Luckily Activision made things a bit easier by sending us a copy of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Okay, it actually put more on our plate, but who cares! With that being said, I figured the best way to allow myself to write a reasonable review was to break the game review up into two parts. The first part, the one you are reading, covers online. The second part will include the single player, extinction mode, and possibly the PS4 version of the title, unless that breaks away too. Call of Duty: Ghosts will be alongside our next generation launch coverage, so be sure to stick around for even more goodness!
When reviewing a game I like to complete them entirely before reviewing them. That’s why I went to the most important part of Call of Duty: Ghosts first, the online component. I have spent over 10 hours in the game at the time of writing this, and I must say it has a Call of Duty 4 style addiction to it. Yet, it also feels un-inspired and lacking in several areas.
There are a few new aspects to the game, but I’m still confused as to why some of it all matters. Upon entering online, the first thing you notice is that you have different characters to choose from. You can unlock them, customize them to your liking, and have all sorts of dress up fun. However, I don’t personally see much reason to it beyond looking different. It is awesome that they added female avatars to the game after all these years, but the different soldiers are probably more for people that want true customization. After nearly prestige level, I’ve yet to even both unlocking any other character.
Squads mode is rather neat, but I will save details about this for the single player review! The reason being, there are still plenty of new modes to talk about when jumping into competitive online. There are several new game modes. You have Blitz where each team has a zone in their “base” area, you score a point by simply running into the opposing zone. This is rather neat because you need to be alert as an offensive and defensive player at all times. If your entire team sprints to the opposing zone, you can get scored on rather easily. There is also a cool down period after each point. Once a player scores, they get warped back to their own zone, and a cool down timer starts at 10 seconds before the next person can score. This prevents consecutive points, and also creates a neat atmosphere of people hiding waiting to spring to the goal.
Hunted is a bit more simplistic, and seems like something you would see in “Gun Games” from previous titles. Every player starts with a handgun and 10 bullets. Random weapons will then fall from the sky, and players will fight over them to win. Grind is the evolution of Kill Confirmed, where players not only pick up dog tags from fallen enemies, but they have to run them back to location in order to score the points.
My favorite mode so far in the game is called Cranked. This game truly pushes COD over to the arcade side of things, and is fun as hell for me. When you get a kill, you become “cranked” which basically makes your player faster at everything, and you have 30 seconds to live. In order to stay alive you need to get more kills. It helps prevent people from camping the entire game, and due to its circumstances the map selection is great. Less open maps, which means less snipers.
When speaking about maps, they do seem a lot better than Modern Warfare 3 and some of them have that simplistic feel of COD4. That isn’t a bad thing since COD4 had amazing maps that were perfect. Some maps can be annoying though as they are rather large for this style of gameplay, and allow snipers to have open game. They are filled with unique detail, and lots to discover, but in terms of gameplay you constantly need to be watching your back. I had this issue with Modern Warfare 3 and absolutely hated it, but by playing Cranked I’ve avoided it for the most part.
In terms of gameplay, it feels as if they were un-inspired to do much with Ghosts. I absolutely loved Black Ops 2, I still play the game to this day, and feel like Ghosts is a step backwards like the first Black Ops was. We had this awesome modern warfare game with MW2, then Black Ops felt dull and uninspired. This time we had Black Ops 2 with its futuristic style and tone, and Ghosts “goes backwards” to modern warfare. A lot of the perks are basic in terms of the franchise, and very typical. They have some new ones like being a crazy knifing juggernaut, but a lot of the air support is gone. A lot of the smaller streaks are very shallow. You have a new guard dog that seems almost worthless half the time, and the UAV’s can no longer be shot out of the air as you place them on the ground. The UAV thing was neat at first, but it made the game even more noob friendly than ever since UAV’s last pretty much the whole game now.
This isn’t a terrible thing though, the game does step back into the gun vs gun style. Less about perks killing people, and more about skill with the guns. This is what made Call of Duty 4 so great, and it’s what keeps Ghosts so addicting. A lot of the maps have lots of cover, so even when the air streaks come in, you most likely will not get owned by them. A lot of the ground support is also rather easy to fight off as a team.
Yet, beyond the new addicting nature, things go a step backwards again in terms of improvements the franchise has made the past few releases. Quick scoping is a huge issue yet again with overpowered snipers that kill if they come anywhere close to hitting you. Hit markers seem a bit off, but this could be due to the current generation system not functioning at optimal power. Also everything cool about Black Ops 2 is now gone. There is no league play, live streaming and editing seems to be gone, the reward system in a game is gone and it’s back to a standard “so and so is on a killstreak” and the typical highlight last kill. Even the customization on tags is gone for some reason. The game feels very stripped down to try and attempt to get that COD4 feeling back.
This makes me at odds with the game. I love it at one instance, but hate it the next. It makes the game so addicting and more fun when you are not constantly getting owned by air strikes, but at the same time has its dull moments of repeated matches. The maps keep things interesting, but they highlighted that you can change them, which you can, but in most cases its nothing too great. In one map, the dynamic change is a pole falling down on a cop car, I’ve yet to see much else change in the map. You can also bomb the entire map, and this saves the day for the idea. When the bomb drops, the entire friggin map changes, and the dynamics change a ton, I still get in awe when I see this happen. A separate map lets you open gas valves, so the entire map becomes foggy and you can barely see ten feet in front of you. This makes the guard dog actually useful for once since nobody can see it.
One big saving grace for the entire game is the new layout of the screen. Your record for the game is kept in the upper right corner, so you can quickly glance up and see your points or kill/death ratio rather easily. Pressing select and bringing up the entire leaderboards makes them pop up right below your name, instead of taking up the center of the screen. A lot of the new layout consists of better placement like this, and while it may seem small, it actually improves the game a ton. The clan system is also improved, and the new soldier (mentioned above) add a lot of depth in areas I didn’t think could be improved.