Call of Duty is no stranger to launch events, with the seminal Call of Duty 2 releasing on the Xbox 360's launch way back on November 22, 2005. With the PlayStation 4 release on November 15th, 2013, Call of Duty has once again found itself a place as a launch title with Call of Duty: Ghosts. Already released on the PlayStation 3, was it worth it to wait for the PlayStation 4 version of the game? Is this game worth buying at launch at all?
New Twist On An Old Story
While Call of Duty retains the first-person shooter militaristic slant of past games, Ghosts presents a “What If?” scenario that enables it to slightly diverge from the reality of past games in the series. Ghosts presents a United States that is crippled, beaten, but not out: as a new conglomerate of nations rise to overthrow America, a team of elite soldiers known as Ghosts (and their dog) are there to protect our nation. Players take on the role of Logan, fighting alongside his family to repel America's invaders once and for all.
The plot isn't memorable by any means, providing nothing more than a backdrop for bullets and explosions, but the characters are endearing and the always changing environment, thanks to a campaign that spans the globe, keeps things fresh. Call of Duty: Ghosts single player mode is best likened to a summer blockbuster movie: it's fun while it lasts but it will hardly be remembered for its plot and character development. Come for the explosions, the bullets and the set-pieces and you'll find a very enjoyable romp. In addition, this fun romp that actually has some length to it, as Ghosts' campaign spans 8 to 10 hours for the average player, dependent on the difficulty you play on and how good you are at first-person shooters. For a game that is mostly about the multiplayer, it's refreshing to see Activision finally craft a campaign you won't complete in a weekend.
However, unlike Black Ops II with it's player-driven choice system, Ghosts' campaign is a very linear affair; there are no choices to make, so once you finish it, it's over. In addition, thanks to the plot branching off from reality, Ghosts can be considered over-the-top in many instances, such as assaulting a space station. For Call of Duty veterans who prefer realism, be warned that the story does stray into the realm of the ridiculous quite a few times. However, if you keep that summer blockbuster mentality in mind, you'll likely find the times that Ghosts does go over-the-top to be one of those water cooler moments you can't wait to share with your friends.
The remaining elements of the single player campaign, such as voice acting, music and sound, feature the same high level of professionalism you'd expect of both Activision and Infinity Ward. There really isn't a lot to say in this regard; the Call of Duty franchise has always nailed the production aspects in every release and Ghosts is no exception.
If you're only buying Ghosts for the single player, it's worth a purchase if you're a fan of first-person shooters, explosions and plenty of action at all times. If you're a fan of action movies, especially 80s action movies, you're in for a treat. However, if you grew bored of the typical Call of Duty campaign years ago, Ghosts will do nothing to change how you feel. Though you're most likely not buying this for just the single player aspect, are you?
A More Personalized Multiplayer
At it's core, the multiplayer in Call of Duty: Ghosts is the same as it's always been. While there are some new game modes, they are mostly retreads of what has came before, with an emphasis on team-based gameplay. However, what has changed is the wrapping that this delicious multiplayer chocolate comes in.
The first thing veterans of the series will notice is the sheer amount of customization involved in your Ghosts avatar. For the first time in the series, players can pick between both men and women avatars, in addition to customizing both their clothes and head. The customization doesn't stop there, as your perks, weapons and attachments can be customized to your tastes as well. Not only can you make a soldier that looks unique, you can make one that acts unique as well, tailoring the perfect solider to your strengths and weaknesses. Like past games, multiple character slots means you can always have the perfect soldier ready to go no matter what map you're playing on.
Ghosts features 15 maps for multiplayer, all with an emphasis on size: these maps are far bigger than previous Call of Duty multiplayer maps. This can be a double-edged sword: while the bigger maps create more dynamic levels, they can also create a sense of loneliness as smaller teams will have trouble finding each other and fans of close quarter combat may feel left out. Like Battlefield 4, the maps in Ghosts feature some interactive destructibility, but it's nothing on the scale of Battlefield 4 and won't really change how you view the battlefield except on a very limited number of maps. For the most part, the destructibility is also triggered, not natural like it is with Battlefield 4.
Rounding out your typical multiplayer modes are Extinction and Squads, with the former pitting you and your team against alien invaders with the latter against waves of soldiers. You have probably played a variation on these particular game modes in plenty of other games, such as Horde Mode in Gears of War, so while Ghosts brings nothing new to the table with both modes they are still fun, solid and will suck up hours of your time.
That's really the bottom line when it comes to multiplayer: nothing here is anything you haven't seen before. However, what is on display here is the culmination of years of experience, presenting a multiplayer that has been carefully honed and crafted to provide hours of gameplay bliss. Like the single player campaign, if you've grown sick of Call of Duty's multiplayer you most likely won't enjoy Ghosts; however, if you're still a fan of what the franchise brings to the table, you will love Ghosts' multiplayer offerings.
Battlefield 4 or Call of Duty: Ghosts?
We've seen the war between both franchises rage on for years now, and surprisingly the answer to “which game do I choose?” is simple. In terms of single player campaigns, there really is no clear victor: go with whichever story looks best to you. Battlefield 4 skews slightly more realistic in terms of story but neither game really tells a more compelling tale. In terms of multiplayer, it depends on what appeals to you: small- or large-scale combat. Battlefield 4 hosts a whopping 64 players on its maps compared to Ghosts' 18 players on the PS4. Battlefield 4 focuses on vehicle combat in addition to ground-based combat, while Ghosts focuses primarily on soldier-to-soldier combat. Both games, despite being in the same genre, couldn't be more different in terms of multiplayer and there really is no wrong choice to make. Why not just get both to cover the best of both worlds?
It's also important to note that currently, Battlefield 4 is suffering from severe online problems, something that Call of Duty: Ghosts is not suffering from. Keep this in mind when looking for a multiplayer shooter.
The PlayStation 4 Advantage
One of the obvious advantages of the PlayStation 4 version of Call of Duty: Ghosts is going to be in the graphics. The graphics on the PS4 version of the game are considerably better than the PlayStation 3 version, featuring higher resolution textures and better models. The game looks significantly better on the PlayStation 4 even if the gameplay is the same.
However, the increase in graphics comes at a cost: the game suffers from a bit of slowdown in the single player campaign. This is most noticeable during large setpiece moments featuring a lot of explosions. While it doesn't ruin the experience necessarily, it's definitely disappointing to see that while the game runs smoothly on the PS3, it suffers a bit on the more powerful PS4. These issues are not in the multiplayer mode, however, only affecting the single player.
The biggest advantage of the PlayStation 4 version comes in multiplayer, as only the next-generation versions of the game support 18 players per map; the PS3 version only supports 12. If you're looking for the best multiplayer experience with the best graphical quality, get this game on the PS4.
With three high profile multiplayer shooters releasing at the launch of the PlayStation 4, it can be difficult to pick only one if limited funds are an issue. Luckily, each shooter is unique in its own way so making the right decision boils down to picking the game that is right for you. How do you know that game is Call of Duty: Ghosts?
If you're looking for a campaign full of excitement, explosions and thrills, smaller multiplayer battles and a familiar feel, Call of Duty: Ghosts should be one of your PS4 launch titles. Despite the slowdown in single player, the PS4 version's advancements in both graphics and multiplayer headcount make the PS4 version of Ghosts the game to get. Even though the familiar Call of Duty formula is present every step of the way and won't do anything to sway the franchise's stalwart opponents, fans of the series and first-person shooters in general could do a lot worse than Call of Duty: Ghosts. It's not a ground-breaking title by any means, but it is solid and will keep you entertained until next year's Call of Duty title focuses exclusively on next-generation systems and shows us what Activision can really do with the power of the PS4.
Final Score: 8/10
Game Category: First Person Shooter
Article by - Joshua Phillips
Insert Date: 12/5/2013