Call of Duty: Ghosts takes place in an America under attack from The Federation: a group of South American countries. The game stars two brothers, Hesh and Logan, as they become part of an elite military group known as Ghosts. While the Michael Bay esque ride of the campaign is fun, the plot is devoid of emotion and reason. It all ends on a cliffhanger that seems like a shameless excuse for a sequel. Had the inclusion of Riley, the Ghosts’ dog, been implemented more, perhaps then the story could have had more emotion.
In terms of gameplay, Ghosts hasn’t changed, but the modes have. First up, multiplayer takes a turn for the worse. The tweaks to the leveling, allowing players fewer options in gear and instead offering cosmetic changes to characters feels worthless. In a first-person shooter about killing people, the gear matters, not the costume, or the sex, though the inclusion of females is a good gesture. That said players can level-up separate characters, put them in a mode called Squads that, on paper, sounds cool, but is poorly executed. Then there’s Extinction mode, which is more or less an alien pallet swap of Treyarch’s zombie mode. It tries too hard to be different, but fails and leaves a game that just isn’t worth the time investment.
Since the first Modern Warfare, COD seems to be stuck in a time hole. Sure every game looks slightly better, but only marginally. That’s not to say they look bad, but the engine certainly is showing its age, causing more glitches and odd physics more often. Janky animations aside, the levels are great set prices that offer a wide range of bombastic, seemingly impossible situations that, again, come off as trying too hard. The music score is fine along with the acting, but not memorable. To sum it up perfectly, when a developer reuses a previous game’s exact scene, well, that’s not lazy. That’s foul.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is disappointing. The franchise is in danger of fading away from the mighty beast it once was. Black Ops 2 is still the better experience and Ghosts feels like a regression for the series on every level compared to it. This should be skipped even for the most hardcore fans. Boo, Ghosts, boo.
Score: 2/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on November 12, 2013 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.