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Call of Duty: Ghosts Review

Following hot on the heels of Battlefield 4, Activision and Infinity Ward's record breaking Call of Duty series appears for another annual release, this time dropping the Black Ops and Modern Warfare monikers and starting up a new on-going series, Ghosts.

Though a new series, those expecting something new from Ghosts should really look elsewhere as this is lots more of what came before, a first person shooter set in the near future, but as they say, if it isn't broke…

Where there is normally a little controversy surrounding the single player story like No Russian, the real controversy here is that there is none, in fact the story really does not offer any highlights until the very last hour or so of gameplay. What we have instead is a tried and tested formula seen in so many games now with the mysterious “Ghosts” and a tale of one of their best dying in battle and now someone is picking them off one by one, guess who that could be? All this is fought around a huge battle between the Federation and the US Armed forces; the Federation, an army forged by the countries that hold all of the oil, slowly taking over the world and leaving America until last, pulling off an audacious attack by capturing a US space platform and pretty much obliterating America with its own nukes. Fast forward ten years and the Federation are making their final push through American soil, leaving only a few safe havens to battle against all odds to stop them. Even with a decent length storyline, there are just so many plot holes and 'what the?' moments that you kind of switch off and just focus on the killing. 

For those interested you play as one of two brothers whose father just also happens to be a Ghost. Working together and joined by their dog Riley, they defend their territory against the Federation threat and slowly uncover who is behind these attacks. The proceeding game is pretty much watching the pretty explosions as you run through lots of Federation baddies. Even what I thought was going to be quite a large part of the game turns out to be a very small gimmick, with you able to sync up to Riley the dog at certain points, controlling him directly and munching on a few bad guys, or when the battles are fierce, sending Riley to attack a specific enemy; the idea was a good one but the execution was a little lacking.

The main problem with the single player campaign is that it is more of the same, you have the solo stalking bit, the bit on the back of a jeep, the bit where you skip around the battlefield to play different people or the vital sniper shot moment. Even the same old problems turn up with the game forcing you to follow a very strict path; any divergence from this will end up in a quick death and then back to the respawn point. The same works for just progressing through the story, seemingly infinite enemies will appear, sucking your ammo dry before you realise all you have to do is push forward a little bit and they will stop, but on the flip side, there are times when you wander too far, either dying very quickly or having to wait for the other characters or a specific event to occur to allow you to proceed, it’s frustrating and does happen an awful lot.

When the game is good it really works, and these moments are when they are not your standard Call of Duty fare. Like I said earlier, it is in the last hour or so that the game really picks up, though it does go a little Roger Moore James Bond with a mission negotiating shark infested waters, a Moonwalker style space fire fight and battle on top of a monorail and whilst a little away from the usual, they are the most fun and original moments.

If that was all there was, this would be one to miss, however this is a Call of Duty game, where the most fun will be had online and Ghosts has this in abundance. First up you have the Squads mode, an interesting idea created initially for beginners but it extends well past that with it creating a team of bots to follow you into battle, at first allowing you to get used to the mechanics and maps of the game, it also becomes something a lot more as your bots also rank up, allowing you to pit your team against other teams. Then you have the mainstay, the multiplayer which sports plenty of modes to keep you occupied for quite some time. Thrown in with the usual Free For All and Team Deathmatch modes is the new Cranked mode. If you thought the Deathmatch was fast this goes one further, essentially eradicating campers by forcing you to kill every 30 seconds to earn score bonuses. Your online persona, or in Ghosts case personas have loads of customisable options, first starting with a general class selection and then using Squad Points that you earn during fights to purchase even more items from weapons, equipment, perks that give you an edge on the battlefield and the Call of Duty regular, Strike Packages, unleashing all manner of choppers, missile strikes and even a dog to accompany you.

Of course that is never enough when it comes to the Call of Duty games and Ghost manages to deliver again with Extinction. Long gone are the zombies, now replaced with a fearsome alien invasion. Working in teams of four, you have to battle your way through hordes of the beastly otherworldly monsters, earning cash by killing them and then spending it on the fly, be it picking up new weapons, using some of the environmental hazards like electrified fences or flame walls and even dropping essential items for the team to use. With items like ammo dumps, incendiary ammo, turret guns and many other items available to purchase depending on the class you start with. There is even a separate rank system here that allows you to alter the items you can supply or increase firepower. Just like the zombie mode, it is frantic and constantly on a knife edge if you are going to make it all the way to the end or not.

Call of Duty Ghosts is an entirely different style of game to Battlefield series, offering tighter and more compact and maze-like maps that allow for fierce and faster battles, where you tend to die as much as you get kills. If you enjoy that sort of arcade action then this is most definitely for you as it is smooth and as fast as ever, never glitching or giving the player any grief. It is just a shame that as a single player game, Ghosts has strayed too far from the popular formula of the previous games and in turn is a little bland.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: Xbox 360)


- Fast and intense online play
- Loads to customise on, be it your character or weapons loadout
- Plenty of game modes to try out
- Extinction is a great four player co-op mode


- Single player is a little bland

*Note - This review is based on Xbox 360 code provided to us by Activision for the purposes of review.

Edited On 09 Nov, 2013

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