Call of Duty: Ghosts (PS4) Review
I’d like to make it explicitly clear right off the bat that I am a fan of the Call of Duty series, I have been since the release of the first game. I have purchased every entry in the franchise with the exception of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. After spending many hours in the multiplayer component and completing the campaign I’ve come out on the other side of the looking glass with a mixed opinion regarding Call of Duty: Ghosts.
Let’s start off with the campaign, as I’d like to end this review on a high note. I haven’t felt quite as disappointed in a Call of Duty campaign like this before. Now I know most people don’t play Call of Duty for its enthralling story, but I tend to enjoy the story mode envisioned within the first-person shooter. Modern Warfare 2 and 3 gripped me tightly and never let go. Ghosts on the other hand had me bored to death, I kept praying for the game to end. Missions were far too short and yet they felt like an eternity, I kept rushing through, getting myself killed, trying to reach the end.
There were a few missions touted in the PR campaign that should have saved the story, namely the space missions and the underwater missions. This was not the case for either. Again, I just prayed they would end. They were odd, difficult to control, and overall boring. Something like this should come off as innovative and unique not dull.
Characters in the story mode were bland; I never felt a connection to any of them like I did with Modern Warfare 2’s Ghost. Riley is the saving factor here. Your dog has more going for it than any of the AI soldiers fighting alongside you. Though Keegan comes in close second just for having the badass factor. Overall the characters passed you by without you really even caring what their names are, even your father is just another gray-haired AI getting in your way on missions.
On occasion the campaign will surprise you, not always in a good way. There are some points where you actually have some fun and others where the difficulty seems to get ramped up for no reason whatsoever. These points are particularly frustrating as you die over and over again, repeating the same corridor of gameplay. Then we have the good points, namely flying the helicopter while attacking the ocean base. Raining missiles and minigun fire down upon the heads of the enemy is quite a joyous event.
Now onto the fun part of every Call of Duty game, the multiplayer. This is the saving piece of game here in Ghosts like every game in the FPS series. Familiar game modes return as well as some new ones to round things out. The new modes are rather fun, I found myself playing Hunted and Cranked quite a bit. But you can never really beat a classic and for that you have Team Deathmatch and Free-for-All, two of my all-time favorite modes. I would definitely suggest spending some time in the new modes, however.
I found myself drawn to the multiplayer as always. The run-n-gun action is consistent as is the camping. I’ve never been a huge fan of sniping in a Call of Duty game, but in Ghosts it feel so much better. Even running around with a bolt action sniper rifle I felt powerful and like I could kill easily, which I did. That feeling can be matched by few shooters.
New maps are always a good thing and one would expect a new entry in the series to include new multiplayer arenas to battle it out. As always, players will have their favorites and their most hated maps, this is always the case for any first-person shooter. All in all the maps were rather well done, they provided efficient arenas for versus combat, preferably with a team to watch your back.
My only gripe with the multiplayer mode is the new way to unlock weapons. Instead of ranking up and unlocking them the old fashioned way like previous games in the series, you earn Squad Points for certain actions and ranks. These Squad Points can be used to purchase the weapons, equipment, perks, and kill streaks. You could save up some points and buy the most powerful weapons and attachments and have a clear advantage over everyone instead of earning the guns like you used to. This is more of a personal gripe rather than a gameplay one. It does allow you some more freedom, which is always good.
The new Extinction game mode is definitely a winner here, just like Zombies always has been. Co-op gaming with some random pubs or, even better, some friends is madness, crazy, fun madness. The aliens are so different from what we are used to, the undead, that it takes a moment to get used to the gameplay. You won’t have long to acclimate before these creatures from the dark skies above come barreling down upon you, however. The game can be a little easy at times, two of us made it pretty far; each ending up with nearly 300 kills apiece. But the fun factor cannot be beat here.
Graphically I cannot see a difference between the next-gen PlayStation 4 and the current-gen consoles. This could be just due to the PS4 being new and developers needing time to learn the ins and outs of the console. This I understand so I won’t be too harsh on the game for this. It was a good looking game, but on the PS4 alongside something such as Killzone: Shadow Fall or Battlefield 4, it couldn’t hold a candle to either. Overall it is definitely nice looking.
Sound design was great as always, guns sounded realistic and AI soldiers shouting on the battlefield or whispering in some cases was perfect. The sound of the missiles launched from space slamming into the ground was the real winner, even from a satellite screen the noise was beautiful to hear as you devastated tank columns.
Overall, Call of Duty: Ghosts is the kind of experience one expects from the famed FPS series. A mediocre campaign that is saved by the terrific multiplayer and cooperative game modes. Brand new maps, weapons, characters, AI, features, and enemies all lend a hand to creating a game that will no doubt leave many players missing days of their lives. I know I will end up playing the multiplayer for far longer than I care to admit. Pick this up for something to keep you busy on those long winter nights and especially the weekends. Your fingers will argue but your friends will be ecstatic.