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Review: Call of Duty Ghosts

November 20, 2013 • Gadgets and Gaming

The entire Call of Duty franchise is one of the most successful in the gaming industry. So much so that it is almost a given that any new title will be well-received. Call of Duty Ghosts managed to make more than $1-billion in the first 24 hours of being on sale, but is it as good as the previous titles?

A screenshot of Call of Duty Ghosts (image: Activision)

A screenshot of Call of Duty Ghosts (image: Activision)

What we like about it

A couple of new aspects introduced in Ghosts aims to keep the franchise fresh and the most notable addition is Riley, a German Shepard who assists the player in a number of missions.

Riley has the ability to sniff out enemies and viciously attack them – clearing the path for the player to proceed. He has a number of other gadgets strapped to his body as well, which will help players to control him and spot enemies.

Players of the previous Call of Duty games will know exactly what they will be getting themselves into in terms of graphics, controls and game mechanics – and Ghosts is no different. However, that is also an aspect of the title that we love about it – the predictability!

The controls and graphics have pretty much stayed the same since the last iteration from publisher Activision, a tried-and-tested formula that players know absolutely works. It may come across as slightly unfair to say that only the setting and plot is different, however, if gamers delve a bit deeper, it becomes obvious.

At the same time there are some exciting set pieces in the title and it will provide for a number of hours of good fun.

What we do not like about it

A problem that plagues almost all shooter titles is linear way of telling a story and forcing the player to be at specific points during the title. Call of Duty is no different and players will often be forced to return to a previous point if they have wandered too far ahead of the non-playable characters (NPCs). This is also evident during scripted dialogues, as the NPC characters will block the path of the player – forcing them to listen to the conversations. It is not always a bad thing, but it sometimes feels like the secondary characters in the title have no sense of urgency.

Also, in an attempt to include the player into as much action as possible, NPCs will often tell the gamer to execute a strategy or action – but if they were the ones that came up with the idea, why don’t they go and do it?

As mentioned, it is a problem that plagues almost all shooter titles, where the developers want to cram as much action into the title for the player, that they often lose sight of the fact that squads should works as a unit, not as a one-man army with a couple of sidekicks.

Speaking of action, in terms of the assaults and story line, it is sad to say that Ghosts is pretty much your stock-standard Call of Duty title. Sure, there are a number of small changes and naturally a plot and setting shift, but in essence it is CoD at heart. On the other hand, that is not such a bad thing, as it is for that exact formula that has made the franchise one of the best-selling history.

Conclusion

The lack of a mini-map and enemy-snapping that is not entirely accurate can cause a bit of frustration for players, but as mentioned Ghosts is at heart and soul exactly what the Call of Duty franchise has been all these years. There are some sections that are incredibly tough to get through, but once completed, it feels like it was all worth it.

While the main single-player campaign is not very long, value for money lies in the multiplayer aspect which is sure to keep gamers busy for hours – with a number of modes to choose from and the ability to fully customise characters.

Minor issues aside, Call of Duty Ghosts should be on the shelf of every Call of Duty fan. For those who have yet to play any of the CoD titles, Ghosts is an excellent place to start.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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