Monday, April 7, 2014

Call of Duty: Ghosts Xbox 360 Review

There doesn't have to be a whole lot of setup for this, Ghosts was slated to be the game to launch Call of Duty into the next-gen of gaming. It also had an abysmal showing that was mocked for all the focus on the dog Riley, you have probably seen the "Exactly one jaw dropped" GIF that has spread across the internet. But, can Ghosts take what Black Ops II got right and expand on it?

Not really, I tried to like Ghosts, I really really tried, but I can't. I bought it because Black Ops II is devoid of players at this point, and my friends are playing it. It doesn't get everything wrong, but it certainly doesn't get everything right. I borrowed Ghosts from a friend, mainly to play with my brother. I bought Black Ops II in January of last year, and while the campaign left a lot to be desired, I was enamored with the multiplayer. I've been around Call of Duty since watching my room mates obsessively play Modern Warfare, so I'm no stranger to CoD. What got me about Black Ops II's multiplayer was the new and exciting weapons, excellent map design, and the brilliant pick 10 system made me invest more time into Black Ops II than any other CoD before it. My brother had never played any CoD's and when I brought over Black Ops II he went out and bought it the next day. That is a testament to how right Treyarch got it.  I was hoping to see more of that with Ghosts, but I found myself incredibly disappointed.

The multiplayer in Ghosts is akin to being incredibly lost in a public place, it's familiar but you are lost and there is a bunch of douchebags who refuse to help you. The map design is made for large scale warfare, unfortunately that doesn't exist in Ghosts. You will spend sometimes most of a match searching for anyone, only to get shot in the back by some guy camping in a corner. It's incredibly hard to see the enemies, hit detection is terrible, and the new game modes are nothing more than a novelty. The old standby's are there Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, FFA, Search & Destroy (added in with a patch due to fan outrage), Domination, and all the usual Hardcore counter-parts. But added into the package is Blitz which pits two teams against each other to get to breach each other's zone, which can be fun, but against some people is utterly enraging. Getting shot down right before stepping into the portal by someone who is virtually invisible just plain sucks. Also new to the fold is Cranked, which much like the Jason Statham movie Crank, tasks you with getting kills to keep your timer up, getting a kill starts the timer from 30 seconds, and has you moving in super speed, each subsequent kill adds time to your timer, if you fail to get enough kills before time expires you will explode. Once again can be fun, but you will seldom ever get a decent streak going, and I blew up several times not being able to find anyone. Rounding out that fold is Black Ops' Gun Game and the new Hunted FFA, which I actually had a lot of fun with.



Customization is locked down to squad points, making all killstreak rewards, weapons, weapons add-ons, etc. obtainable from the get go. You can have numerous perks if you get rid of secondaries, and your grenades, which make classes incredibly overpowered if you spend your points correctly. I have run into people how manage to snipe you before you ever even know they are in your vicinity, sneak up on you without a sound, and I've tried to deploy Valkyries only to not see one single person on the map. There are 35 total perks 8 of which you can have at 1 time if you spec correctly, so expect to be swamped with people who are going to annihilate you. Killstreak rewards feel far less rewarding than in any other CoD, and top that off with the fact that care packages can only be obtained by completing field orders and new players and old will find themselves forced to take a completely different and uncomfortable approach to the game. It's far less littered with technical issues than Battlefield, but it's far more player exploited than Battlefield.

What Ghosts does get right is the Campaign, the Campaign in Ghosts is probably the best in the series. You play as an average soldier who finds himself being recruited into the Ghosts, the worlds last hope. The missions are the usual fare but it's fast-paced enough to make it exciting. The set-pieces and graphics really drive the feeling that this the next-gen Call of Duty they promised. Rourke the antagonist of the game is pretty lame though, he seem like a stereotypical Mickey Rourke looking, egomaniac who strayed from the Ghosts because he feels he knows the truth, and blah blah blah. Then there is Riley the dog the few segments that featured Riley were awesome, but that's all he is there for a few segments, 1 or 2 of which you actually get to control him. He added some much needed variety and strategy to the campaign, but Infinity Ward for some reason barely used him, even after making such a huge deal about him in all of their press conferences.

Rounding out Ghosts is Extinction, which replaces Spec Ops, and is an exact replica of Zombies from Treyarch's games, just with aliens. Extinction is actually too much like Zombies for it's own good. I've always found mild pleasure in Zombies, it's as fun as something that's virtually impossible to win can be. That's exactly what Extinction is, wave after wave of unrelenting aliens and if you don't have a really well equipped team you will never make it very far. Extinction goes like this, there is a 4 player max, you plant drills on alien hives, 1 at a time, and defend your drill against waves of increasingly hard aliens until you need to move to another hive. Eventually if you actually make it far enough you will be able to evac and then you can do it again! WOOOO!!!!! I really don't like this game feature. Horde is fun, because there is a hope you can make it to wave 50, firefight is fun for the same reason, and Mass Effect 3 multiplayer is rather easy to win which makes things fun. Zombies and Extinction aren't fun because there never feels like you have a snowballs chance in hell.

In the end, if you simply can't do without the Call of Duty style multiplayer, Ghosts is pretty much your only choice until Sledgehammer releases their first game later this year. But with a fun, but overall short campaign, drastically different multiplayer, and Infinity Ward's answer to Zombies, I can only really give Ghosts a 6.75 out of 10. Let's hope Sledgehammer get's it right.