Call Of Duty: Ghosts Xbox 360 Review
In the tenth installment of the Call of Duty series and sixth installment by the Infinity Ward developers, we are brought an entire new campaign gameplay, new multiplayer features, and instead of zombies we’ll be fighting off aliens in the brand new Extinction mode. Not a ton has changed in the series; but like usual, Activision publishes a promising new Call of Duty that doesn’t let the players down. The campaign mode is better than ever and offers new scenarios like deep-sea diving and shooting under water. Multiplayer mode is the same but new mechanics, game modes, and perks have been added to the game play. With that being said, some of the new features in the multiplayer mode don’t seem to work out in Infinity Ward’s favor.
This time around, Call of Duty: Ghosts takes us through a future-based, mind-blowing adventure in the campaign single player mode. It is like nothing we have ever seen from this group of developers.
From the start of campaign mode, you are in space. That’s right, in space. And your spacecraft gets high jacked. We are introduced to zero gravity gameplay early on and see it throughout the game. In space, everything is slowed down and it is much harder to shoot your weapon. We see this type of gameplay again when players get the chance to scuba dive under water where there are sharks that cannot be killed. But they can kill you with ease. Throughout the game, players find themselves in situations where slow-motion is activated and aiming is deactivated. It is much like the abilities in the matrix. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to the plot and the narration is short and then you find yourself back in action. Many of the heart-thumping missions are the most memorable in the series though.
One of the main characters is a dog named Riley. This would be the first time any Call of Duty offers the dog tactic where you control him via video and satellite. Riley aids you in killing enemies silently. We also see this in the multiplayer mode which plays more of a part than it should. After a kill streak of five, you have the option to be awarded with a best friend dog that has your back. It can sneak up on enemies and kill them instantly. Thinking back to Call of Duty: World at War, it was an easy shank to the dog’s neck to kill them. In this Call of Duty, you must shoot the dog two or three times like you would a human; however, it is impossible to knife the German Sheppard (it may not be 100% impossible but I have yet to do so.) Most of the time, Riley kills you.
The biggest reason Call of Duty has had the success it has is because of the online multiplayer experience they offer. In Ghosts, there are a handful of changes, some good and some bad. For the first time ever players have the option to play as a woman soldier. In fact, you can save up enough Squad Points to purchase one of ten different characters.
Squad Points are earned in multiplayer mode. Players receive two points for leveling up and other points are earned for completing various challenges. There is no more leveling up and earning a gun. Players must acquire enough squad points and spend them on the right guns, accessories, and kill streak packages. Some of these do not come easy either. For example, the most expensive player is 500 Squad Points. The cheapest is three. Nothing comes free anymore and it takes much longer to get the weapons of choice. The nice thing is players don’t have to wait 30-40 levels to unlock guns, but once a gun is purchased with Squad Points, one must spend more Squad Points to get a scope and extra ammunition. All in all, this feature has some good and some bad to it. The one thing that pushes it slightly more to the bad side is the fact that you only start out with three Loadouts and to get the last three, you must spend 20, 25, and 30 Squad Points. In previous Call of Duty games, players were awarded the six Loadouts after leveling up to a certain level. If the Squad Points came easier and you could get more in a shorter amount of time, this feature would have much better feedback.
There are 14 new, and what Infinity Ward calls dynamic, maps in Call of Duty: Ghosts that vary in size. With that being said, there are only a couple of maps that I think can actually be called dynamic since most are very subtle. In the map Tremor, a small earthquake shakes the land every so often to enhance the gameplay. The map Flooded has areas where if you step into them, you will drown. Unless you know exactly where not to step, you will fall into a small pond in a hole in the road and not be able to recover. The Strikezone map is a baseball stadium that eventually gets bombed during gameplay and the map is destroyed and changes completely.
Some of the past game modes are now unavailable such as Headquarters and Demolition, which happened to be really fun. Capture the Flag (one of the best) has now been replaced by Blitz. The new HUD takes up less space on the screen but shows more than it used to. Pressing the “Select” button will not bring up the entire leaderboard that takes up the whole screen; instead, it toggles the leaderboard on the upper right to show your score or the scores of all the players. This is a wonderful new feature except it is hard to read at times because of the font chosen.
Another new feature of the gameplay to take note is the special move of sliding. In the past, players were only allowed to kneel and lie down. Two years ago we were introduced the tactic of diving head first by holding down the “B” button while running. In Call of Duty: Ghosts, players can do a feet first slide by using the same mechanism.
Extinction mode is brand new and instead of killing zombies, players kill aliens. It is very disappointing that this was the best that they could come up with. For those who really enjoyed Zombies, they will not like Extinction too much. It isn’t a free-for-all crazy zombie killing game. It takes strategy and teamwork and the right complimentary loadouts to be successful. It is indeed a much tougher challenge but in past games, it was nice to just go nuts on a bunch of hungry zombies and taking the chance on that mystery box. With that being said, if you have the right tactics, Extinction can be a fun game.
The graphics are smooth and realistic like always in this installment of Call of Duty. The mass destruction scenes are breathtaking. Ghosts maintains the steady 60fps gameplay that long-time series fans have come to love and expect. Again, with so much emphasis on the next-gen gaming, these graphics may not be considered all that great once the Xbox One and PS4 are released. The aesthetic is exactly what I expected from the franchise.
At the end of the day, Ghosts is a great game which was to be expected and people will play it for countless hours. Once they get through with the six or seven hours of campaign mode, they will move on to multiplayer mode.
With 20,000 possible player configurations in multiplayer, players have more customization options than ever before. There is every perk that is ever needed. The new menus are great and make it easy to navigate. Although Squad Points elongates the time to get all the guns and perks, they are all available for purchase from the start. Perks like the new sliding mechanic are awesome since it allows you to pop up and shoot while you slide, are available at the very end. It gives and extra jolt of speed and lets you avoid anything above the belt line.
The new campaign mode is dynamite. It is long, challenging and offers unbelievable tasks and missions. In past games, the multiplayer was the heart and soul of the game. The multiplayer isn’t as great as players would like, but players will still play, because this is Call of Duty. The good news is while the online mode has some bugs and issues that need to be resolved, with DLC and other offers from Infinity Ward, this game has a lot of potential to keep players busy for a long time.
With many games that have this many installments, it’s hard to find the sweet spot between innovation and consistency. Not enough change and gamers start to question value, too much and you risk alienating your long-time audience. This is one of the best Call of Duty games ever to be released. It has 14 new maps (more to come with DLC), a few new features, and a brand new action-packed campaign mode to keep us happy until next year.