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Monday, November 11, 2013

Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts - No Steps Forward and Two Steps Back

It's no secret that Call of Duty games are very similar. Year after year they are nothing more than a re-skinned version of the same game, coupled with slight gameplay changes and a few new modes. The foundation is unchanged however, so much in fact that people have trouble distinguishing between specific titles.

What's peculiar about this trend is that despite gamers across the world realizing this, each Call of Duty sells incredibly well. Record-breaking sales are nothing new to the franchise. And while each game is essentially the same formula there's always just enough changed to make it a fresh (enough) experience.



With Call of Duty: Ghosts this isn't the case. I'm not the type of guy to dock points for "more of the same" when the previous product is brilliant. When people play a Call of Duty game they certainly expect a certain experience. To drastically change that would be a horrible business move. It's why Starbucks is so popular - your drink tastes the same regardless of where you order it. Nothing is changed because nothing is broken.

The problem with Call of Duty: Ghosts is that while nothing was added to the formula, the broken pieces weren't fixed either. Horrible spawn points, buggy multiplayer lobbies, and pop-in textures are more evident than ever. Rather than keep the 'Perk 10' system, it has been replaced by 'Perk Points'. A cumbersome, unnecessarily complex perk system for a game whose focus should be on simplicity.

With 'Perk Points' each perk is given a specific value. You can have several perks that cost 1 point each or one perk that costs several points. It's not confusing by any means, just doesn't seem to bring anything welcome to the table.

While Perk Points aren't anything worth your time, Squad Points certainly are. These Squad Points are earned by leveling up and give you the freedom to unlock new guns and equipment. There are no llevel requirements.

If you know what you're looking for you can have it unlocked by level 20. While I can already hear the Call of Duty addicts complaining about how this takes away the desire to max prestige, I find this to be a very nice addition.

It levels out the playing field, allowing people of all levels to have a fighting chance.

Unfortunately that's all that's been changed for the better (or at all). Even 'Strikezone', a "new" multiplayer map is nothing more than 'Dome' from Modern Warfare 3. Sure this may have been a flashback map, but with no official word from the devs it certainly doesn't feel this way. It feels lazy. It feels cheap.

It feels... shady.

There is nothing new to Call of Duty: Ghosts that makes it a better game than anything before it. Sure there are a few new modes, but certainly nothing original. 'Extinction', the alien replacement of zombies, takes you outside of the comfortable buildings of past and requires some serious cooperative effort. Sure it's a lot of fun, but the zombie modes were a fan favorite. I'm not entirely sure why Ghosts continually removes elements that were loved, only to replace them with a sub-par product.

The only two new modes worth mentioning are 'Cranked', which only gives you 30 seconds to make your next kill before you die (eliminating camping), and 'Search and Rescue', which is 'Search and Destroy' with the ability to save your fallen teammate by grabbing their dog tag before the enemy can.

Other than that it's all very familiar, only slightly worse. It's as if we have been drinking from the same carton of Call of Duty milk for years now and now that we're at the bottom it's finally become sour. To put it simply, the formula either needs to literally remain the same, with nothing changed outside of what fans are asking or needs to be completely revamped.

The product in front of us with Call of Duty: Ghosts is a half-assed attempt at a yearly installment of a great franchise long forgotten.

This review is based off online multiplayer alone. Single player was not touched, nor will it be.

Scores are out of 100 and are meant to be taken very seriously.
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