Disclaimer: If this review seems familiar, don’t be alarmed. This one is a relatively old review and I used to post my reviews on various forums and boards (IGN, Sony, Ubisoft, AngryJoeArmy etc). You might have stumbled onto it over there.
Game: Call of Duty: Ghosts
Age Rating: 18+
Genre: First person shooter (as if you didn’t know that)
Played on: Playstation 3
Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision, Square Enix (Japan)
Writer: Stephen Gaghan
Release Date: November 5th, 2013.
Now, before you guys start off with the ‘definition of insanity’ jokes, please take note that this game is not a product of the ‘rinse and repeat’ formula that was evidently visible in many of the previous COD games. Now, this COD is not exactly ground-breaking but it is good enough to say that this was a COD that the franchise needed.
The game takes place in a world where, amidst economic crisis, the oil producing countries form a group called the Federation and quickly conquer Central America and other parts of the world. You play as Logan, a soldier fighting against the Federation, and experience his journey as he goes on to become a part of one of the world’s most feared factions; The Ghosts.
The story is, although set in the familiar COD-esque setting, quite refreshing. Where most COD’s were focused on countries battling for power, this one focuses on personal issues of the protagonist and his past. Although the story doesn’t catch you immediately, it does a great job of growing on you. The story progression is good, has a decent pace and is linear. As you play along, you will feel more and more connected to the story than you felt in the first half of the game. The characterization of the antagonist, Rorke, is strong and dominating and he is the only guy in the game that can actually truly connect and also sometimes intimidate the player. The story keeps getting better as you go along the game and as the story moves closer to the end, it gives out a final burst of magic dust and ends with a blast.
The narrative is very much aimed at imposing a frightening and powerful image of the ghosts in your mind. Unfortunately it fails to do the same in the game. The intro given about the ghosts is exhilarating but it doesn’t really carry on into the game. The story doesn’t connect with you in the beginning and takes its own sweet time to grow on you; which is not always a good thing. The character depth and the connection that we had with the other NPC’s in previous COD games like MW2 is missing. You always have to look at the subtitles to remember what your brother’s name is and the strongest emotional connection that you have with a character in the first half of the game is a dog named Riley. Many a time, the story feels sidetracked as if the story was written for that particular mission and not the other way around. All in all, the story tries to impose a powerful depiction of the Ghosts but doesn’t really succeed.
The Call of Duty series has been criticized for being too repetitive. Fortunately, Ghosts is refreshing to play. A huge amount of variety has been introduced both into the gameplay and the level designs. The missions are more varied and take place in different and exotic and sometimes unexpected yet fun to play places. The amount of clichés has been reduced and the game is full of adrenaline filled action sequences that will drop your jaw on the ground and leave you asking for more. The AI feels a bit more challenging than the previous versions as they were much cleverer in terms of flanking you or covering your flanking routes.
Also, the way the gameplay flows in and out of cut scenes without any loading screens is relieving and helps keep the experience much more enjoyable.
The Ghosts are given their name mainly for their skill to deliver death without even making the sound of a feather falling. But unfortunately, the gameplay fails to make you feel that stealthy for most part of the game. The lack of any kind of good cover system further makes it worse; even though you are crouching behind a rock, you don’t actually feel like you are hiding. And although, I did say that the AI were clever their awareness levels are disappointingly low. One of the things that make playing stealth fun is the fear that you could be caught. But when the AI awareness is so low that you hardly have to worry about being caught, it breaks off tension and dissolves the experience.
The single player campaign feels short and ends abruptly just when you are beginning to connect with the story and its characters.
Another thing that was a bother was the checkpoint system. Now, the chapters are filled multiple checkpoints at appropriate points but these checkpoints are only useful if you are gonna die and re-spawn; they aren’t saved in case of other situations like our very own famous power cuts or crashes or anything like that. Which means that if you haven’t manually saved the game while playing a chapter and the game crashes or you face a power cut, you will have to play the whole chapter again.
GRAPHICS AND ENVIRONMENTS
As mentioned before, the level designs are fresh and surprisingly detailed for a first person shooter. The graphics were good but I felt that they could have been a tad bit better. The best thing about the COD games is how the gameplay flows into the cut scenes and the graphics do them justice. Overall, the environments are a treat to the eyes as they perfectly depict a war ridden world in its various different forms and the graphics are satisfactory.