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Game Guys review - Call of Duty: Ghosts

2:52 PM, Nov 9, 2013   |    comments
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  • 'Call of Duty: Ghosts' is a first-person shooter video game published by Activision.
  • 'Call of Duty: Ghosts' is a first-person shooter video game published by Activision.

As with seemingly every year in recent memory, Autumn brings not just fallen leaves but also a new entry to Activision's Call of Duty franchise developed by Infinity Ward.  Perhaps because of that frequency there is a bit of genre fatigue that has set in on it and titles like it.  Trying to keep things fresh, Call of Duty: Ghosts adds a canine companion and a plot that is quite new to the series.  Unfortunately the end result is a lackluster militaristic shooter that noticeably misses the bulls-eye.

The game's single-player campaign is where Ghosts introduces the fresh storyline.  The story begins with an attack against the U.S. from an orbiting  mega weapon that's fallen into the control of the Federation (a fictional united South America).  The attack decimates American metropolises such as Los Angeles and San Diego - the city from which the protagonist Walker family hails.  Under the direction of their militarily trailed father, brothers Hesh and Logan and their dog, Riley, fight back within enemy lines moving like ghosts (hence the title) against a great threat.

While fresh, it's only mildly intriguing.  Part of the problem is that the protagonists are simply thrown at the player.  Another part of the problem is that the campaign can be completed in less than eight hours.  Furthermore, the utilization of a fictional enemy and fictional real-world circumstances lacks the punch that using familiar ones (ie: former KGB agents, fanatical militants) supplies.  Then there's Riley.

Riley is an interesting case.  He's not a character, per se, but he's not just a tool meant to be used either.  While not entirely integral to the single-player campaign, he's the one character that players are likely to remember six months down the road.  Perhaps that's because, even though he's just a dog, he's much more memorable a character than the overly bland Walker brothers.

Things fare quite a bit better in multiplayer, though much of what's here suffers from the same been-there-done-that that many FPS games deal with these days.  Offering a good selection of play options, however, the variety of choices (both co-op and competitive) helps things a bit.  The new Squads mode - a multiplayer play option that seems targeted more towards newcomers than veterans - finally gives something to those looking to minimize their exposure to foul-mouthed 12-year-olds playing an "M" rated game.

Outside of the standard free-for-all and team deathmatch multiplayer modes, two play options stand out: Infected and Extinction.  Infected returns from CoD:MW3 and is a great way to have something truly different on the game disk.  Extinction adds a sci-fi element that, while painfully out of place, provides an entertaining co-op gameplay experience as players face wave after wave of vicious feral aliens.

When it comes down to presentation, it's pretty much par for the course for a current-gen Call of Duty game.  Pretty much, but not exactly.  There are some details that seem ever so slightly inferior to those in last year's Black Ops II such as some character models.  There are some visual glitches here and there, too, such as pathfinding and clip through issues with both named and non-named characters.  Environments, however, look quite amazing and showcase a war-torn America quite well.  

While the game is called Call of Duty: Ghosts, a more proper title might have been Call of Duty: Disappointing because that's the exact emotion CoD enthusiasts can expect to feel after logging some time with it.  It's an inferior experience when compared to last year's game and falls short in competing with rival company EA's new Battlefield 4 game.

19/25 19/25 16/25 23/25 20/25 81/100

Version tested: Xbox 360 (also available on PS3, Wii U, and PC)

(Activision supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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