Review of : Call Of Duty: Ghosts

I recently bought this title when it was on special with a steam sale and was bewildered by the size of the download. 30 GB! It took me longer to download that it did to complete the first play through on Normal Difficulty.

 

I quite enjoyed COD Modern Warfare, but didn’t like BlackOps. I suspect that it is an unconscious bias towards Infinity Ward. If Treyarch made the Modern Warfare series, I wonder if I would have a bias towards them. I should also take this time to point out that I am not really into Online Multiplayer. I realise that these games are designed primarily towards that aspect with “lip service” to the solo campaign, but I felt that it was a decent lip service and there was evolution in how the mechanics progressed over the series. There were subtle things, like not needing to pass a trigger to end the swarming multitudes of enemies in a particular area.

 

I did have some preconceived ideas before purchasing the game. I figured that there would be most of the “standard” COD features. A flash back where you play as the mentor and meet or battle with the antagonist of the game, a helicopter crash, some uneventful “training” levels, some large pitched battle, some slo-mo breaching scenes and possibly a slo-mo “shoot the antagonist” scene, “making some hard choice” somewhere in the game. Oh, and some “airborne” warfare level where you are targeting ground troops.

 

These events were all covered and not much else. It really seems like they took the formula from the First Modern Warfare, which seemed to have worked well, and have replicated it over and over with each release since.

 

LIKES.

 

I always enjoy the battle scenes and fighting the enemy. There are usually an array of dropped weapons that you can pick up and use, as well as an array of fixed weapons distributed throughout various level to add to the sense of variety. In all honesty, I would have enjoyed more of the Grenade Launcher at the end of the “Severed Ties” level, but they say that too much of a good thing can be bad for you.

I did appreciate the variety of different battle types, the Apache attack chopper, the underwater scenes, the space scenes, the tank scenes plus, of course, the ground battles.

I think I liked the twist at the end, despite having to abandon any sense of credibility for the ending to have worked out that way. I really did like how the game waited until after the credits for the player to find this twist.

Like most players, I left the credits to run while I occupied myself with other concerns, expecting to find the main menu up when I returned. I found the animations of ships being blown up in a harbour while “my brother” and I watched. I moved the stick to look around and then the final animation played out. The only way to miss that would be to power the game off during the running of the credits.

 

DIS-LIKES.

 

Still too many QTE’s. I feel that they are lazy design and, in my case, they break my immersion in the game. I still have an “Assassin’s Creed” title that I played for about 2 hours, before a series of QTE’s suddenly blocked me out of the main campaign. If it was the same QTE for the same actions, I could probably get through it, but the QTE’s were randomly assigned and you could not predict how to beat the enemy in that instance.

The main offender in this instance was when the antagonist captured myself and two other family members. I only had to mash “X” at a certain time to break my bonds and progress further into the game. I had great difficulties with this scene and I got sick of repeating the same scene over and over again. I eventually got there by virtue of the game help forums, where is became apparent that many people were certainly sick of enduring the same thing.

The game was too easy. I have spent 30 hours on it, played it through twice, once on Normal and once on Veteran difficulty, and earned 30 out of 40 achievements. I know that with COD 4 (Modern Warfare) it took me somewhere like 2 – 3 days to complete just the last level on veteran difficulty … and I didn’t mind. I knew it was going to be bloody tough but there was a sense of definite achievement in completing the game in Veteran.

I didn’t mind suspending my disbelief in order to shoot guns underwater, or in the void of space, but the ending was a large concern. Talk about “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”! To imagine the antagonist to have survived being shot through the heart and being left for dead, under the water, and then dragging the player off at the end of the game, after complimenting you on how good a “Ghost” you were, with the intention of turning you against your brother in the following instalment, beggars belief. It seems insulting to me as the player. I could see that the bullet went through his heart and into “my brother” who was holding him from behind. I escaped in the “nick of time” on the verge of suffocating. Then to have the antagonist holding his side, before dragging me away, belies all of the feedback that the game told me at the time of his “death”.

 

 

CONCLUSIONS.

 

Am I interested to see what evolves with the COD Ghosts story? Yes. I like the premise of the story, even if I do not like how the writers/designers got there. Will I buy the next installment? Definitely not on release but probably yes, when it is on sale with Steam and if it is cheap enough. I didn’t get enough value for my money, even at the $30 sale price, for this release. There is little to no replay value from here, except to gain more achievements, but considering I have 70% from just two play throughs, I doubt I will be doing that. I don’t know why they discontinued the concept of having an “Arcade” play through from COD 4. That was enjoyable and gave great replay value, but then again, there was more focus on the Single Player.

Considering this was one of the highlights of the year for a lot of gamers, it left me somewhat disappointed with the franchise.  It seems that if the best you can do to make the game fresh is to mount a camera on the top of a dog and use that for stealth kills, than you have been wasting your time for the last 5+ years.   The 30GB dowwnload couldn’t have just been for the solo campaign, so they have obviously created maps for the Online Multiplayer component which have no place in the game.  This used to be done only with after release DLC that provided extra maps.  I guess this is a good way to supply them with the release package, but my guess is that they will still have extra maps with after release DLC so why do they have to occupy 30GB of data on release?  It reeks of lazy design not to incorporate the maps from the solo campaign into the multiplayer component … or am I missing something?

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