Call of Duty: Ghosts (PC) Review
If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Infinity Ward seem to be firm believers in this old adage. Sure they keep tweaking the game, but they’re not really ready to shake it up just yet. As news breaks Ghosts failed to outsell Black Ops II at launch, what conclusions can be drawn? Well if you believe IW it’s simply down to the way the game was launched across both physical/digital formats and various platforms. Either way it has still sold in the millions so where’s the motivation to change?
A decade ago Call of Duty launched for PC. At the time Medal of Honour held the crown, Battlefield was a mere sparkle in some enterprising developers eye and consoles simply couldn’t compete for multiplayer gaming. The original offered superior graphics to the competition and a whole new approach with support AI who would endlessly spawn in to the battle, as would the enemy if you failed to make forward progress. It was this improved gameplay that appealed to gamers at the time and set CoD off on its course to stardom.
If you’re buying Ghosts or considering it you will more than likely be looking to the multiplayer experience with single player being an added bonus, or perhaps inconsequential. But let’s take a look first at what the single player holds.
To be fair Infinity Ward have done a decent job with the storyline and setting for Ghosts, while the opening cutscene has more cheese than a Dominos four cheese special the varied gameplay mechanics and unique take on conflict are quite refreshing.
The Ghosts are of course the elitist clandestine team out there, shrouded in mystery, you start out as an ordinary joe soldier with no ties, but sure enough your paths soon cross as you find out you are closer to the Ghosts than you could of imagined. The main events take place after a catastrophic event wipes out the infrastructure of the western world and America is left a shadow of its former self fighting to defend what remains in the decimated land. As we’ve seen in previous instalments you control various characters and play through events both past and present, with the primary story taking place ten years after the main event in a post-apocalyptic America.
If you enjoyed any of the previous single player campaigns you’ll be right at home here, expect to jump straight in, well until gravity is taken away… Fear not though, IW haven’t gone completely Dead Space, just enjoy the visuals. In the early levels your attack dog will also feature heavily, but try and look past the dog ‘sync’ where you pull out your iPad (other tablets are available, and may even have been used.) and start controlling the dogs every move. It’s merely an enjoyable game mechanic if a little far fetched. (If you indeed have an attack dog you can sync with your iPad feel free to correct me in the comments)
There’s copious amounts of peril, stealth, sniping, sustained attacks and even some vehicle action, albeit slightly linear at times to keep players interested throughout. You’ll be in outer space, underwater fending off Sharks, you name it. The various difficulty levels could interest you for replayability but after the story has been despatched chances are it’s multiplayer from here on out.
Whereas the competition are making waves with their destructible environments and vehicle support, Ghosts remains focused on the gun on gun action. Steps have been taken to soften the aerial bombardment seen in previous titles, to really focus on close quarters action player to player. With each title we’ve seen perks get an overhaul since their introduction and this time we have an improved category system, with each perk falling under a heading of speed, handling, stealth, awareness and more. Each category contains five perks and there’s no restriction on how many you use from a single category, but each perk costs points and you have a limited amount to spend, which can be increased by making various sacrifices to other aspects of your kit to a maximum of 12 points. The perk system can really help tailor your multiplayer character to your play style, either improving your weaknesses or simply making you a demon at your chosen style.
While not quite destructible in the sense of Battlefield, the new maps do feature certain dynamic elements, bridges collapse, buildings fall, large scale explosions etc. Those that play the SP will definitely appreciate the new ODIN pointstreak reward in multiplayer. For those of you who played World at War and still have nightmares of German Shepherds barking Riley your attack dog from SP also makes an appearance in multiplayer.
While there’s nothing groundbreaking in Ghosts, the gameplay is solid, graphics very nice IF you can get the high end textures loading and overall it moves the franchise along just enough to warrant a purchase. Fans of Call of Duty will undoubtedly enjoy the game, if you don’t like the franchise (read Battlefield fan) there’s not going to be anything here to tempt you over to this camp but the same can be said the other way as well. As seems to be the case more often than not it’s simply going to come down to which game your friends buy. I’m not at all bitter about the resale value of my Battlefield 3 disc on eBay, when everyone bought Black Ops II instead.