Gaming Reviews SKNR Cover Jun2013

Published on November 17th, 2013 | by gareth

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Call of Duty: Ghosts

Call of Duty: Ghosts is the latest installment in the commonly popular series and the first design with the next generation of consoles in mind.  The 10th main game in the series is brought to life by series creator Infinity Ward with assistance from Raven and Neversoft, was written by Academy award-winning writer-director Stephen Gaghan who lists “Traffic” and “Syrianna” among his many credits.

 

Starting a whole new story arc, the game is set in the near future when a group of militants from the Latin American-based power conglomerate called the Federation, launch a surprise attack on a space station and unleash a devastating attack upon cities of the American Southwest that utterly destroys many of them in the process.  The game jumps forward in time and follows the exploits of two brothers named Logan and David who nearly escaped the destruction of San Diego and 10 years later find the remaining American forces fighting a war against the ever-expanding Federation forces.  When a rescue mission goes awry, Logan and David find themselves recruited by their father Elias into an elite Ghost Squad unit who soon discover that members of their unit are being hunted down by a former member named Rorke who was assumed killed on a mission many years earlier.  The fact that Rorke may also be behind the attack on the United States as well as a big cog in the Federation’s plans springs the team into action with the fate of the United States hanging in the balance.

 

Players will play as various characters and assume control of everything from remote operated weaponry, Apache helicopters, tanks, and even a German shepherd named Riley who is a very welcome addition to the series.  The heavily modified engine produces some amazing graphics in the game especially during some of the more scenic locales ranging from underwater missions to snow-covered landscapes as well as desolate cities such as Vegas and San Diego.  Playing on the PC, did require a bit of patience at launch as the graphics did not seem up to par with what we’ve come to expect from the series much less a next-generation tweaking of the engine.  Thankfully the game was soon patched and the graphics stepped up considerably although in multiplayer there were some frustrating moments where the mouse was not recognized and I had to do a series of workarounds until a patch resolved the issue.  I still have occasional issues with the system wanting to reset the graphics down to the base level even though my card is more than capable of running the high-level graphics setting.  This is a very minor annoyance though as I am able to customize the controls and settings anyway that I like and the gameplay is absolutely phenomenal as the developers clearly put an emphasis on a higher frame rate and smoother gameplay experience.

 

Fans of the series will know what to expect as there are a lot of familiar touches such is the wave-based attacks, stealth missions, and at the gun battles that are signature of the series.  Early in the game, many moments seem to have been almost carbon copies of earlier games but thankfully the game finds stride roughly at the midway point and presses the accelerator all the way to the boards for one nonstop thrill ride which includes an epic finale and some shocking moments along the way not the least of which are the bonus scenes during the credits.

 

While I was able to complete the solo campaign in just under five hours I did find myself really caught up in the story and the characters which is something that I had not experienced in Black Ops 2 as a largely completed the solo play portion of that game out of obligation rather than compulsion.  Absolutely love the space fight sequences as the Zero G combat was great and I would absolutely love to see an entire game set in this environment.  I also loved taking control of the tank and running over opponents while unleashing furious amounts of firepower upon all those that crossed my path.

 

Now multi-play is the bread-and-butter of series and Ghosts definitely has a lot to offer in this category.  From the co-op missions to the alien infested “Extinction” mode for up to four players battle against hordes of aliens for survival the game truly has something for everyone.  Fans will be happy to know that in addition to the standard Death Match, Team Death Match, Kill Confirmed, and Domination modes there are five other modes which include Infected, Blitz, Search and Rescue, Search and Destroy, and Cranked as well as the standard and Hardcore modes of play.

 

Customization has long been a big part of the series and this timeout players can play is either a male or female character and have the option to customize the look of their player and online matches down to the type of headgear and uniform that they wear.  As with previous games in the series, players are awarded points for kills, assists, and other challenges and actions during gameplay which allow them to rank up and obtain new weaponry, perks, and kill streak rewards.  While I did find the customization menus took a little bit to get used to after being so familiar with the ones in the previous games, I soon was up and running and found plenty of options to my liking and I continue to experiment with various configurations to date.

 

The online maps are fantastic and full of detail however some of them appear to not have the same graphical wow as others because most of them absolutely blow you away and are filled with all sorts of nice touches such as dust and particle effects which have caused players with itchy trigger fingers to jump at shadows and shooter the paper flowing in the wind.  The biggest complaint many people have with the maps is that they are extremely large in size and would be better suited for larger teams rather than the current number that is limited for online play.  I specifically enjoy one in the snow as well as one set in a devastated city complete with leaning and partially destroyed buildings which allow endless opportunity to get the drop on your opponent especially from many floors up.

 

While I had some initial frustrations with the game, they quickly vanished and the more time I spent with it the more I was drawn into the characters and storyline as well as the multi-play versatility of the game.  Well if used frustrations remain I have no doubt they will be patched eventually, and while I would’ve liked a slightly longer story mode what was presented was absolutely epic and delivered one of the best call of duty experiences to date.

 

I highly recommend the game and encourage people to focus on the many things that the game and gets right instead of lamenting about things that you wish they were included or what you feel was done wrong because it is a phenomenal ride that is not to be missed.

 

4.5 Stars out of 5.


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