Call of Duty: Ghosts Review

Activision’s Call of Duty: Ghosts—known to some as the OTHER modern military shooter—is out, and we got quite a bit of time with it. What’s special this time around is a supposed new game engine that works well on both the current gen as well as next-gen systems. We didn’t get to try it out on either of them. Instead, we took what should be the most superior version of the game (if logic is to be followed) out for a spin—the PC version.

A major annoyance managed to pop up right off the bat—the massive 30GB download. After the initial wave of annoyance owing to my woeful internet connection subsided, I got a bit excited, thinking that this would truly be the next-gen version of CoD that both Infinity Ward and Activision had been talking about. Sadly enough, that’s not entirely true. After starting up the game and playing the single player campaign for a couple of hours, another wave of anger hit me: why does the game have such high hardware requirements? Where are my 6 gigs of RAM being used? What is in the 30GB I downloaded? Infinity Ward even goes as far as to assume that it knows what's best for gamers: there's a complete lack of any way to change the field of vision in the game, and it is locked at 60. While it was fine for me, I still prefer to have at least 85-90 degrees of FoV, and playing Ghosts makes me feel like I have tunnel vision.
I can feel the next-gen graphics oozing all over the place

Well, it sure as hell isn’t in the textures. I played the game with every setting (save for Anti-Aliasing) cranked up to the max on 1080p, and the game doesn’t look that much better than Black Ops 2 did. Sure, there are some minor extras here and there, like some tessellation effects and enhanced particles. Overall, however, the high system requirements feel quite unreasonable. Even worse was the fact that there were moments where my computer was brought down to its knees. For a game that looks like this, my reasonably powerful rig shouldn’t be facing much of an issue, especially when I was able to play the vastly better looking Battlefield 4 without so much as a hiccup (save for a couple of bugs here and there).

Moving on… the single player campaign is nowhere nearly as good as Infinity Ward’s previous outing—Modern Warfare 3. It’s a very American story told through an American point of view where anyone or anything that isn’t American gets painted as the villain. As the story goes, some unspecified catastrophe wiped out the entirety of the Middle East, which in turn gave South America a monopoly on the world’s oil supply. The continent decided to merge together to form an alliance called the Federation, which was at an uneasy peace with the US. Eventually, the Federation got bored and decided to add the US to its empire.
Once again, there is an over-reliance on setpieces

Players take on the role of Logan who, with his brother Hesh, joins the remnant of the US army which is commanded by his father. As for the titular Ghosts, they’re supposed to be an elite taskforce, reminiscent of the SAS from the first Modern Warfare or Task Force 141 from Modern Warfare 2. Logan and Hesh eventually become a part of the Ghosts unit as they undertake a bunch of missions all over the Americas. The missions themselves aren’t that good either, owing to the series’ ever-growing reliance on larger-than-life setpieces that would make Michael Bay want to retire from the movie industry. The game uses some incredibly cheap tropes to get you to sympathise with its characters, such as making you related to your CO and partner. This still falls flat in some supposedly dramatic moments, and the much-hyped dog—Riley—ends up getting the best characterisation in the entire campaign.

Ghosts eschews all of the innovative things Black Ops 2 did, such as the branching storyline and mission structure. Instead, it opts for a much more linear path. Owing to it doing away with Black Ops 2’s pseudo-sci-fi setting, Ghosts is much more boring to play. Sadly enough, even when compared to other modern military shooters, Ghosts’ single player campaign is pretty bad, and nowhere near the awesomeness of the original Modern Warfare or Bad Company 2. Use of setpieces doesn’t necessarily mean a bad thing, as was proven by Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. Sadly enough, Ghosts does little in terms of originality, and one of the setpieces was straight out lifted from The Dark Knight Rises.

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