Skip to content

Call of Duty: Ghosts (Xbox 360)

November 22, 2013

Call of Duty: Ghosts (Xbox 360 version)

CoD-GhostsWhat’s Good:
-Context leaning is nicely implemented.
-Player model customization in multiplayer, while not extensive, is still a welcome addition.
-It’s the same multiplayer as last time.

What’s Bad:
-Poorly realized near future campaign setting.
-The writing in the campaign story is lackluster.
-Too many experience/unlock restrictions in place while playing Squads mode.
-It’s the same multiplayer as last time.

What I thought: Too similar to previous entries.

Single player:
I like the visual motif which the single player uses during the loading screen, but any sense of style or creativity stops there.
The writing is face-palm worthy in several cases, and if the outcome of the story is intended to be implying a continuation of the Ghosts storyline in the coming years, then I hope they go to lengths next time out to develop the story a bit more.
Within the story, you’ll go through the same motions as you have been for the past few iterations, in which you follow an AI companion and do as they say when they say it, before shooting your way through a legion of unintelligent enemies, then repeating the process.
They break it up with the typical stuff, with your token slow stealthy sections, and your token animal attack sections, and your token over the top set piece sections, and at this point, if you’ve been playing these games for as long as they’ve been pumping them out, it’s hard to get anything out of how the campaign is structured. It feels oddly generic and formulaic at this point. While Black Ops 2 last year had interesting things going on with its multiple endings at least to cull the boredom, Ghosts is very straight forward, and the story it tells is easily the worst part of the package.
It is of average Call of Duty campaign length, so at least it doesn’t waste your time for too long.

Competitive Multiplayer:
Everything you’ve loved and hated about Call of Duty’s multiplayer since Call of Duty 4 blew the doors off of console shooters years ago is still present here, with a number of minor tweaks and additions, as well as a few omissions.
Killstreak rewards seem to have been toned way, way back this time. While on the upside, this means there’s more emphasis on the gunplay, the changes made to some of the existing killstreaks, as well as the general lack of new or particularly interesting rewards makes them less fun to fool around with than in previous games, with a few that are practically useless.

The most notable difference between how Ghosts handles multiplayer progression compared to previous games is that you no longer have one player level, but instead a number of Squad members which each have their own individual level progression. You begin with one Squad member, and can purchase more as you level and complete challenges (which reward you with squad points). These squad points are also used to unlock things such as weapons, killstreaks, weapon attachments, and equipment.
Each member of your Squad has his or her own loadout though, and an item that has been unlocked for one Squad member is not available for another (until unlocked there as well), which is somewhat of a bummer in my opinion.
Before you go into a match, you pick which Squad member you wish to play as, and once you’re in a match, you can change custom classes all you want, but you cannot change your chosen Squad member until the match is over. (So if you want a shotgun, but Squad member A doesn’t have one but Squad member B does, you’re outta luck until you can swap to Squad member B once the game is over.)
I could list out every minuscule tweak and refinement that I noticed as far as loadouts are concerned, as well as the overall progression as a whole, but at this point it seems as though the development team is more focused on making things seem different, than they are at innovating or otherwise changing things up in a meaningful way.

Some of the maps are alright, and a couple of them are very bad. Several of them are a little too convoluted or a little too large given the player count for which they are played, and IW or Sledgehammer (or whoever it is who has been designing these maps over the past few iterations) seemingly still can’t  resist the urge to fill the multiplayer maps full of a ton of “junk”, which makes picking enemies out (stationary or prone enemies especially) a bothersome effort in some of the maps.
Some maps can be altered into a destroyed version via a particular killstreak, greatly changing their appearance and slightly changing their layout, and while the transition is laughably executed, it’s cool seeing a map that was relatively pristine at the start of the match, become a charred wasteland at one point in the match. The only gripe I have with this, is that it’s only a feature on a few maps, and as it requires a large killstreak (or far more commonly, a lucky care-package drop), it doesn’t happen very often.

The matchmaking is still as it’s been for some time, with seemingly no method of searching for similarly sized parties of players (unless you have a full group of folks for Clan vs Clan stuff, which I do not), nor is there a Mercenary playlist. The available playlists (as of now at least) also leave much to be desired, as the large majority of them are simply variants of team deathmatch. There are no objective gametypes save for the terribly conceived Blitz mode and Domination (Why in the world would they remove Headquarters?).

I found the “dudebro” tone to be higher this time than ever before, with titles sporting text right out of reddit, as well as field orders (which give you a care package upon completion) that might have you “teabag” an enemy you have killed. This stuff is absolutely insufferable.
If you were looking for alterations, Ghosts’ multiplayer has them, but if you’re looking for improvements or something completely fresh and interesting, it is not that.
The weapons seem pretty balanced, though this is simply because everything will down a player in just a couple of shots. You’re still severely handicapping yourself if you’re using a weapon without a silencer, though.

Other modes:
Building individual Squad members makes little sense in competitive multiplayer proper, but it seems to make more sense in the Squads mode offerings. These will have you going into faux multiplayer matches alongside your available Squad members, and they’ll each use the loadout you’ve prescribed for them, but at the end of the day, AI is still AI.
The available gametypes are player+squad AI versus a full team of enemy squad AI, player+squad AI versus player+squad AI, a survival mode against waves of increasingly difficult enemies, or a full team of player versus enemy AI bot match sort of deal.

Squad Assault seems like a cool idea at first, but as I imagine a defending team of bots will just about always lose against a team with one (or more) human players on it, the feeling that your Squads will have a better fighting chance if you outfit them accordingly is no where to be seen. Aside from that, it doesn’t appear as though your Squad members gain XP or Squad tokens when you bring them into matches (or when they contribute to matches while you’re away), so the whole conceit is practically useless.
While we’re on the topic of Squads mode XP, it’s worth mentioning that there are a number of restrictions on how you unlock things in this mode.
Within a match, there is a certain XP threshold you will run up against, which will cause you to stop earning XP after a certain amount has been accrued. The progression tied to things such as player emblems, squad point-earning Contracts, weapon sights and weapon camo are also locked out entirely.
I believe I understand where they’re coming from with these restrictions, as you want to encourage people to play Versus multiplayer, but if you’re going to let people earn XP in Squads mode at all, why limit them so severely?
I would hope the next time around, people who prefer the alternate modes aren’t treated as second-class citizens.
Squads seems like an awesome idea on paper, and maybe it can be improved upon to make it interesting in the future, but as it stands it comes off as a little half-baked.

There is also a Black Ops Zombies-esque cooperative mode called Extinction, in which players carry a drill around an abandoned town to destroy alien hives while defending themselves (and the drill) from the alien onslaught, and this mode is pretty interesting at first, but as each match progresses in generally the same way, it seems to lack the replayability of some of the Squads mode stuff.

Maybe my opinion could change on the multiplayer after more time with it, but as it stands, it feels too similar to recent years to warrant getting any sort of excitement out of it. CoD:Ghosts’ single player is severely suffering from diminishing returns from a gameplay loop and spectacle perspective, and its plot is a complete bore this time around, especially after Black Ops 2’s campaign last year, which offered a legitimately impressive take on multiple choice in its single player campaign.

While the multiplayer and cooperative offerings this year are as competent as the past few, nothing is done to set it apart in a meaningful way from what has already been done in the past, and while it’s impressive that CoD:Ghosts was released on six platforms at launch, the hurdles that had to be overcome by the development team to make that possible don’t mean a whole lot to the player on the other end of the controller if the game itself doesn’t do anything new or interesting.
If you’ve played a Call of Duty game in the past five years or so, Ghosts is tremendously difficult to recommend.

From → Games

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: