- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Infinity Ward
- ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- Pros: Deep Multiplayer, Great Graphics, Intense Gameplay
- Cons: Thin Storytelling, Repetitive Action
I think most of us who saw those early commercials for “Ghosts” with Megan Fox, in which a group of guys who look like they know “The Hangover” by heart rappel off a Vegas casino and do other ridiculous things in the name of video game warfare asked the same question – “Is there really a part of this game that takes place in outer space or is this another Gravity commercial?” Believe it or not, the answer is yes. Early on in “Ghosts,” you’re in a space station, exchanging gunfire with those trying to commandeer a missile system on their own terrorist behalf. You don’t succeed and very bad people drop very big bombs on most of the U.S. population. You become a part of the “Ghosts” team, those fighting for a return to American freedom in a world in which much of our society has been decimated by warfare. You will traverse desolate landscapes in which you have to stay unseen and often use your dog to do your recon and even take down enemies. You will also, of course, blow up a whole lot of junk. A LOT of junk.
The single-player campaign starts off with a bang, literally, as the world as we know it comes to an end and you run for safety. The space mission, the dog controls, etc. start to give one the feeling that “Ghosts” is breaking some sort of mold, but then the regular expectations and standard blow-em-up action settles in and “Ghosts” gets pretty straightforward. Despite that, I found the singleplayer campaign, as I have most recent “CoD” campaigns, pretty entertaining. It’s a rollercoaster ride – you don’t question the lack of narrative thrust or character worth caring about when you’re being this forcefully propelled through the action.
Of course, there are millions of gamers who probably don’t even know there’s a singleplayer campaign in “Ghosts.” They jumped into this multiplayer world and never looked back, saying goodbye to friends and family, who understand their loved one’s addiction by now. And this multiplayer is more addictive than most in that it is constantly offering customizable ways to upgrade. Unlike most multiplayer games, how you upgrade your character in “Ghosts” is very much up to your own discretion. Yes, things unlock at certain ranks but you also need points earned through gameplay that can be spent on various weapons, attachments, abilities, and even characters. Everyone’s multiplayer experience in “Ghosts” is going to be a bit different than mine and I like that sense of authorship here.
For me, multiplayer customization is important but map design is the key ingredient to an enjoyable experience. Fans of About.com will know that we broke down most of the maps of “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” one-by-one as they were released on DLC offerings like “Uprising” and “Apocaplypse” throughout this year. I have played hundreds of maps throughout the years and the ones in “Ghosts” are….OK. There’s nothing here that stands out like “Siege of Shanghai” or “Rogue Transmission” do in “BF4” and I even long for a few “BO2” maps like “Grind” and “Vertigo.” The best here are “Freight” (especially in objective modes given its natural division), “Octane,” and “Prison Break” but even the names here hint at a relative predictability. A multiplayer shooter machine would spit out something similar to “Flooded,” “Warhawk,” and “Siege.” I hope that the first game designed truly for the PS4 or even the DLC releases for this one are a bit more adventurous in their map design.
To be fair, there are new game modes in this world of “Ghosts,” including a Squad structure and the coolest new mode in “CoD” in years – “Cranked.” In this mode, every kill gives you special powers for 30 seconds, in which you have to kill someone else or die yourself. It creates a marvelous sense of chaos, especially when multiple players are cranked at the same time. Squads are a nice introduction to multiplayer gameplay, allowing you to build your rank up in a less stressful environment. It’s still all about “Kill Confirmed” for me.