Call of Duty: Ghosts

Infinity Ward created what is probably still my favourite first person shooter, Modern Warfare. It’s success how ever, was also it’s downfall as Activision were keen to capitalise on it’s success by tying Infinity Ward to what looked like an endless stream of sequels, and a loss of creativity, leading to the implosion of Infinity Ward and the loss of some of it’s major talent.

But then Ghosts was announced. I didn’t pay it much attention to be honest, thinking it was just another incarnation of the Modern Warfare juggernaut under a different name. But after getting a taste of it at this years Armageddon Expo in Auckland, I though, this might actually be worth a go.

Back in the day, World War II shooters were where gaming was at, and Infinity Ward took a huge leap by embracing Modern Warfare. Now they’ve jump forward in time to a bleak future where America is on the back foot, in a dystopian type future. Fortunately, a dystopia where technology and military weaponry is still modern.

The single player campaign starts off worlds away from where you’d expect a Call of Duty game to begin. You’re tramping in the scenic bush near you home with your father and brother. You get to walk back home, following your family back along the trail. Yes, Infinity Ward have created a Sunday walk simulator. Don’t worry however, as the shit is about to hit the fan. 

The single player campaign is scripted like a Hollywood blockbuster, jumping around chronologically to tell the story of what happened whilst showing how we (it’s an American centric game) managed to turn the tide. For the most part it shines, with the initial space based ‘mission’ having more emotion and action than the entirety of Alfonso Cuarón’s film Gravity, and the dog sequences working extremely well, adding a little diversity to the game-play. However, when you’re forced into tanks later in the game, it feels more like driving a dune buggy over bouncy castles. But all in all, the single-player component kicks arse against any of the other major on-line focussed first person shooters of recent years.

Graphically the game looks stunning, having none of the graphical issues that Battlefield 4 has on the XBox 360 (though this may just be due to being able to squeeze more out of the PS3 at this late stage in this current generation). The weird thing about the graphics however is that some of the multiplayer maps look a little clinical. BUt that’s probably just me being pedantic.

Online, the game is as fast and frantic as I remember, with some new gameplay modes thrown in for good measure. The leveling system seems to have been overhauled, and you now earn points that can be used to unlock weapons and such, meaning in theory, a newbie has the same access to weapons as someone who has managed to prestige half a dozen times.

The guns themselves have also been split into different categories, with the most noticeable being the marksman rifles, being guns that offer the rapid fire of assault rifles with the scoping ability of a sniper rifle.

The only problem for someone like me, who is used to the more sedate pace of Battlefield, is I’m constantly wondering if a certain gun is worth spending my points on.

Game-play seems to have been balanced better but there is still the feeling that you’re running around the map with a pea-shooter whilst everyone else has armour piercing bullets. But this might have more to do with having spent a week finishing the single player campaign before heading online to get my arse kicked, repeatedly, by people who’ve spent a week practicing a figuring out what guns work best on what maps. I’m just going to have to put my head down and spend some of my points, and play a fair bit more of Ghosts until I’ve found the best load out for my style of play.

Finally, there is Extinction Mode, Infinity Ward’s answer to zombies. Here you’re up against aliens, and as with the zombies it’s a four player co-op system, that to be frank, sucks if you’re not playing with three trusted friends.

All in all, both with the single and multiplayer, Infinity Ward are back on form and have hit this one out of the park.

Rating: R16 Contains violence.



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