By Logan Barnes
If you’ve liked any “Call of Duty” since “Modern Warfare,” you probably already own “Call of Duty: Ghosts.”
This year’s entry into the “Call of Duty” series hardly does anything to innovate the genre it has so easily taken over, but it does have some merits.
Developed by the familiar studio Infinity Ward and published by Activision, “Call of Duty: Ghosts” is what you’d expect from your yearly dose of the first-person-shooter behemoth. A quick campaign, fast-paced, arcade-like multiplayer and all the kill streaks you can handle.
First off, the campaign is an expectedly short, five-hour jaunt that puts you in control of Logan Walker, a soon-to-be commando. The setting is the near future, where a military group known as the Federation is on a warpath to take over the world. By hijacking a space-based weapon known as ODIN, they assault the United States, turning it into pockets of military resistance. Shortly after the ODIN incident, Walker and his family begin military duties to protect the United States and eventually become members of the elite combat squad designated “Ghosts.”
This predictable and hyper-masculine story is rife with action-movie tropes, super-linear gameplay and the feeling that it would have worked just as well as on-rails shooter. All of the explosions, gunplay and nonsensical elements are accompanied by a techno-rock soundtrack that will get your testosterone pumping.
The graphics are stellar both in multiplayer and the aforementioned campaign, but with a game that has its own formula down pat, they can afford to spend more time ironing out the graphics.
But let’s face it, the campaign is not the reason people buy “Call of Duty.”
The multiplayer side of the game features three distinct modes: standard, squads and the new Extinction mode.
Standard multiplayer is exactly what it sounds like, familiar multiplayer modes that are team-versus-team based with a free-for-all mode thrown in. Each mode offers its own experiences, but they all relatively have the same goal of “shoot the other guys until the match is over.” Some maps now feature slightly destructible elements or in-map events, such as a vision-obscuring gas cloud in one level.
Also, the game is still packed full of cheaters and exploiters. Rarely a game goes by that I’m not quick-scoped by the imbalanced, perfectly accurate, one-hit-kill sniper rifle or torn to ribbons by an auto-fire controller using “good player.” But “Call of Duty” has always favored those willing to stoop to such means to win.
Squads is more of a training ground mode. Players can construct AI characters that they can practice against or put online for others to fight. Also, players have access to other computer-controlled squads made by players across the country to create a near infinite range of possible practice games. This mode is good for players who are new to the game or are just looking to get away from online games.
Finally, Extinction is the replacement for the zombies mode in previous “Call of Duty” titles. In it, players fight off waves of aliens while trying to complete objectives. Extinction provides several things that “Call of Duty” has lacked in the past.
First, it is actually difficult. Fending off hordes of various aliens with limited ammunition and abilities while trying to protect an objective is nearly impossible.
Second, the mode actually encourages teamwork. Without having a plan involving each player providing a different resource, you’ll find yourself quickly overwhelmed.
Last, Extinction is raw fun. The combination of the previously mentioned points with the arcade style of “Call of Duty” really fits with the mode.
All in all, “Call of Duty: Ghosts” is a ridiculously average game. With a droll, typical story loaded with muscles and explosions and a multiplayer mode that caters to those that love repetitive tasks, “Ghosts” is exactly what you’d expect from the series. The game has Extinction mode and, surprisingly, no glitches of note, which keeps it from being entirely bottom of the barrel.
As stated earlier, if you like “Call of Duty,” you probably already own “Ghosts” and enjoy it. From a critical view, though, it could hardly be called innovative or worthy of a perfect score.
“Call of Duty: Ghosts” gets far from a headshot with a 5/10.