Plot: What’s it about?
In the realm of video games, Call of Duty reigns as the lord of the land. With annual releases that never fail to spark massive sales and rack up millions of in-game hours, Call of Duty has a dedicated fan base that is envied in the industry. Players just can’t seem to get enough of the campaign’s action movie inspired set pieces or the deep, addictive multi-player component. Call of Duty: Ghosts is 2013’s installment and as expected, it more than lives up to the hype. The campaign thrusts the player into a world that has been devastated and the balance of power is in flux. Once the world’s most powerful force, the United States is now in tatters and the Special Forces team known as the Ghosts is the central military faction left. The Ghosts have the odds stacked against them, as the South American power core has more soldiers, better weapons, and an entrenched operation. Can these elite Ghosts manage to overthrow the corrupt forces, or will the United States be simply another conquered foe? As you can tell, this isn’t the usual Call of Duty storyline and fans will love the action packed campaign’s ride.
While the campaign is fun, the real draw of the Call of Duty series is the competitive multi-player, which continues to be the most popular console gaming experience. The developers haven’t just copy & pasted this component either, as there has been an overhaul on most aspects of the game. The perk system looks a lot different and when combined with some loadout alterations, provides you with perhaps the most flexible system to date. You can fine tune your warrior more than ever, including customizing the visual aspect of your soldier. You can even choose to charge the battlefield as a female, which is a first for the franchise. The in-game action feels more refined as well, with smoother overall action. I found the maps to be a little big at times, but they’re well designed and adding more destructible elements was an excellent choice. The maps also feel varied, both in core design and visual theme, so players have a nice selection of battlegrounds this time around. If you’ve enjoyed previous Call of Duty on-line clashes, you’ll love Ghosts, as it improves on the formula across the board.
While the campaign and on-line competitive modes offer a wealth of content to explore, Ghosts doesn’t end there. A new mode called Extinction, which allows you to team up with other players and battle alien forces. If this sounds a little like the beloved zombies mode, that is because it is similar to that. But the feel is a little different and the challenges add some freshness, so this is not a rehash. I loved Extinction and as a huge fan of co-op experiences, I was thrilled this new mode was included. You can also check out the new Squads mode, which is a new spin on bot battles. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but the more content and more options, the better. While Call of Duty risks player burnout given the annual releases, installments like Ghosts prove that the series can be fresh and offer deep content every year. Call of Duty: Ghosts offers a lot of value and the kind of content depth that players dream about, so of course it earns a high, high recommendation.
Video: How’s it look?
As this game was developed with next generation consoles in mind, this isn’t going to be the most impressive version in terms of visuals. Even so, this looks better than last year’s Black Ops II and while the series usually looks quite good, Call of Duty isn’t beloved because of bleeding edge graphics. So it looks good and shows no real problems, as the maps are dense and visually detailed, while the campaign offers a host of visual feast moments. The game looks as good as can be expected and in this case, that is more than enough.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The soundtrack is pure popcorn action, with explosions, gunfire, and epic set pieces that put your home theater through the paces. The campaign audio focuses more on impact than subtle manipulation, but given the nature of the game’s action, that works just fine in this case. When you go on-line however, you can listen for your enemy’s footsteps to get a jump on them, as well as pick up other subtle audio clues. So whatever the needs of the game’s atmosphere, the audio always delivers.