Without a doubt the Call of Duty series has become a phenomenal success in the gaming industry, shipping tens of millions of units every year and raking in even more with DLC sales.
The games are wildly popular all over the work with players logging billions of hours across the recent titles, and now Infinity Ward are bringing another installment to the table in the form of Call of Duty: Ghosts.
This is the first title in the series that will see a next-generation console release, so what can it offer that the others haven’t already given us?
The classic first person shooter games have already basically defined the genre for a lot of people. Compelling singleplayer campaigns, and multiplayer that has literally dominated the market, fending off competitors with the incredibly dedicated community.
For many people, Call of Duty is the definition of gaming.
For others it is detested for its popularity. I managed to get my hands on the PC version of Ghosts and played quite a few 5 vs 5 multiplayer matches to get a good idea about the game and what Infinity Ward have planned for the series.
There are some worries though. Ever since the fourth major installment we’ve seen annual releases which have made the series the multiplayer juggernaut that it is, but will this game have a positive impact on the series, or a negative one?
Credit where credit is due; Ghosts is absolutely gorgeous. Every environment has some stunning visuals to check out, and the player models are packed with lots of little details that really add to the realism that developers have been striving for.
I might have been playing the PC version, but the console versions around me were running similar graphics and load times, so you know that they’re making the best use of the new hardware as they can.
The gameplay is the same solid Call of Duty gameplay that we’ve gotten used to over the past decade; Run, shoot, drop to prone, etc etc. Both on controller and keyboard/mouse it’s easy to pick up the control scheme and get straight to the gameplay with few to no footfalls.
One of the most noticeable new features is the addition of the dog. It’s an available perk in multiplayer, and it definitely has its uses. The faithful canine sticks close to your player character until there is an enemy nearby, at which point it rushes them for a melee kill.
It felt somewhat unbalanced, as if you’re the person that it’s rushing then you’re faced with a smaller, faster moving target that will insta-kill you if it gets into melee range. Nice to have, not nice to be on the receiving end of.
Many of the perks you should be familiar with, such as supply drops and Juggernaut. Not a lot has changed on that side of the game. There’s still a good number of kill-streaks and passive perks that will let you customize a class however you want.
Combine that with the variety of weapons and other character items and you can very easily make a character a build that you will be most comfortable playing.
I’m going to be honest; Ghosts left me feeling apathetic. Not because it was bad, but because it feels like nothing has changed despite promises from Activision and Infinity Ward.
I still remember playing Modern Warfare at my local LAN center when it was released, and I really can’t say that there’s much difference between playing that six years ago and playing Ghosts now. Sure the game modes have been mixed up, and the perks are different, but nothing major has changed.
The multiplayer gameplay remains the same sort of rush/kill/use perk/die/start again circle that was introduced in Modern Warfare.
The tactics remain incredibly unrealistic, which is fine, but it is very jarring when you consider the juxtaposition between the unrealistic gameplay and the ever-improving realistic graphics. It feels like something just doesn’t add up.
If you’re reading this as an indictment on the Call of Duty games, as I can’t pan the gameplay at all. It has proven highly popular over the years, and this is just an extension of that.
The issue I feel needs to be raised is that this is the seventh game in recent years that is still trying to extend this kind of gameplay, and at this point the homogenisation has become so boring that I fail to see how this kind of game is so popular.
I don’t expect an FPS to take any major leaps forward gameplay-wise, but there are so many games coming out that do so much more with the genre such as Titanfall and Far Cry 3, so I don’t understand -why- Call of Duty is doing so little to evolve alongside the competition.
Adding a dog and female player models just doesn’t cut it when there is still so much to be done with the gameplay.
At this point we can’t say that any new Call of Duty game is special so long as the series continues to annually push out similar drivel with the knowledge that they will definitely make millions of dollars in sales just from launch day.
Overall, I wasn’t impressed with Ghosts, but only because it was just another Call of Duty game.
I own Modern Warfare 1-3, Black Ops II and Call of Duty 2 already, and I really don’t feel like buying Ghosts will actually offer me anything that all the other titles I’ve paid for already will.
The only advantage I see to purchasing it is the knowledge that the multiplayer community will be quite vibrant, but at this time it feels like I should be turning to other games to get my multiplayer fix.
If you’re excited for Ghosts because you enjoyed similar titles so much, then I have no doubt that you’ll have a lot of fun with the new installment. It just isn’t for me, or anyone else who is getting bored with the homogenization of the genre.