Call of Duty: Ghosts Review

Another year, another call of duty. Much like an iphone, the release of an annual Call Of Duty is quite certain. It's development zig-zags between Infinity Ward(IW) and Treyarch. This time around it is IW's turn and with it comes the promise of attack dogs and underwater adventures, but is it enough to justify the cost of yet another installment or are you just paying for glorified DLC content for Modern Warfare 3?

IW was given the chance to start with a clean slate in regards to the campaign mode, as the previous story line was completed in Modern Warfare 3. Ghosts is set in a fictional near future where humanity has been segregated in two faction; a terrorist faction called 'The Federation' who have taken control of South America and are planning to overthrow North America and the defending faction. The backstory for this event is weak and poorly explained, but it’s hard to notice as the game immediately throws action your way when you're asked to run for your life from an orbital sattelite weapon (ODIN) that begins firing at your hometown leaving nothing but destruction in its wake. You're soon fast forwarded to the future and fighting the threat of the federation as the son's of the captain leading the opposing side in order to regain full control of the country and destroy the federation once and for all. But it turns out that foot soldiers are not enough to counter the terrorist threat that the federation poses so a team is soon tasked to meet up with an elite group of soldiers known as the Ghosts.

A man's best friend when its not attacking you.
The story revolves around 3 members of the same family; Hesh, Logan and Elias Walker. You get to play as the brother Hesh and Logan throughout most of the campaign as they fight the threat of the Federation and attempt to make their father proud.

Ultimately the campaign mode fails to impress as it is short and does not effectively portray a narrative that makes you genuinely care for the characters, though the inclusion of a family this time is an improvement, there are still no female soldiers aside from an astronaut during the first mission  or civilians shown in the campaign and it seems more like a constant barrage of high-octane action, rather than a tale of a father and his two sons that have been caught up in a huge mess. The ending, for me at least, was the highlight of the story and gives a lasting impression and an almost promised sequel, not necessarily making the whole campaign worth the repetitive gameplay, but it at least leads to an opportunity for the narrative to develop.

The campaign has a great variety of locations on offer ranging from jungles to urban environments and even outer space, complete with anti gravity, space-suit gunfights. The controls are varied according to whether or not your feet are on stable ground, if not you are given the ability to descend and ascend vertically in the underwater and outer space missions. It was a great chance to change the 'shoot a bad guy, duck, shoot a bad guy, duck...' formula, but essentially feels almost the same. You find some cover in the form of debris and ascend above to shoot and descend again, not much creativity when you have unlimited space and no gravity. Fear not though, if you enjoy the constant shooting and ducking there is enough of that coupled with the necessary hold your ground until something happens.

Apparently this is the more physical version of chinese whispers.
Much like the previous iterations the campaign mode feels very repetitive. There isn’t much variety in missions apart from at least one part of each mission which allows you to step out of your first person camera in order to proceed, for example when you use Riley the attack dog to sneak past guards or silently kill them. This also however gets tiring fairly quick thanks to the fact that the same animation coupled with the same sound is played whenever attacking.

As with all Call of duty releases ever since Modern Warfare 4, the focus is on multiplayer. The multiplayer has remained largely the same with the standard game modes such asTeam Death-Match, Free for all, Capture the Flag, Kill Confirmed and Domination, as well as a couple of version exclusive modes. You have the ability to customize your loadout for battle, but unlike previous COD titles certain levels are not required to unlock weapons as everything is available to purchase from the get-go with squad points that are unlocked as you play and level up.

It seems that IW is very aware of the saying 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' as there have been no major changes to the multiplayer. That may sound like bad news to those who have played other FPS's as well as COD, but all in all everything is still here, as well as the addition to slide on your knees, similar to the dolphin dive in Black Ops 2. There is also a small new addition where field orders are dropped after a kill which then offers you bonuses for completing an objective such as kill 1 enemy while prone. If you cannot complete them before being killed then you also drop them.

The maps this time around are quite big and detailed with plenty of strategic locations and a variety of altitudes on offer, sometimes they can be quite daunting and more often than not will leave you wandering around aimlessly in search for someone to shoot provided a sniper doesn't pick you of first. Luckily they're quite balanced so you don't feel like you have a disadvantage simply due to being in the wrong area at the wrong time. Speaking of wrong area's, for some frustratingly unknown reason respawning is a pain

Shoot, shoot and more pew pew.
A major feature added to multiplayer is the inclusion of Squads. This enables a player to build a squad of people, purchasable with squad points unlocked whilst playing, and customize as well as rank up each member individually. Classes are still present and can be switched between during matches however the ability to customize them or switch squad members is available in between games. Your squad can then be taken on to enter squad battles online which is a round based mode consisting of your squad members set in the multiplayer maps. Perks and other support packages are dropped in order occasionally to assist you as the AI enemies appear round after round in order to kill you, it is fun to play but not exactly an equivalent of zombies mode.

A new mode to rival the zombies offering from Treyarch's side is also present, dubbed 'Extinction', this mode makes you fight off aliens whilst you complete various objectives around a mid sized map. Not much of a narrative is tied to it and it seems to be an answer to zombies mode without any real conviction.

Graphics/ Sound
Graphically the game is smooth as butter but visuals seem sub par with muddy textures. The colour palette is good and environments offer good variety but with next-gen at our doorstep don't expect any mind blowing stuff. No complaints in the sound department, gunshots are crisp and clear as is dialogue, surprisingly for such a sub-par story, the voice acting is quite good.

Final Verdict
All in all, Infinity Ward has had a fair crack at their turn but the expectations were a little out of their reach this time around. Though technologically sound as much as can be for quite an old engine, it seems that the competitors may be offering a little more this time around with huge shooters like Battlefield 4 and Killzone Shadow Fall released around the same time, Activision really need to push Infinity ward for some really good DLC content or risk losing the FPS crown to the likes of EA and their new IP Titanfall. The game is worth checking out if you're really into attack dogs, however it seems that this dog is more bark than bite.

Story = 5/10
Gameplay = 7/10
Graphics/ Sound = 7/10

Final We Know Gamers Score = 7.5/10

Got your hands on Call Of Duty: Ghosts yet? What do you think of the game? Let us know in the commetns section below or on Twitter @weknow_gamers or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/weknowgamers


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