Thursday, 7 November 2013

Call of Duty: Ghosts: Single Player Campaign - Final Round Review

When I first started the Call of Duty: Ghosts campaign, I expected a short and boring affair.  I was wrong at least once.

The single player for the 9th entry to the main series has pushed the story from its usual 3 hour long explosion fest to an eight hour mix of unexplored characters, clichés, and recycled explosions. There are so many plot holes that even the biggest action fan will be left scratching their heads.

The game opens with a tale about the Ghosts, how 60 men held off an army 500 strong to defend a hospital.  It is never explained whether there is anything important in said hospital, whether documents, VIPs or otherwise.  This then begs the question, why the hell did they not just blow the damn thing up? To add to the absurdity of the story, the remaining 14 soldiers go into Ghost-Mode and manage to slaughter the remainder of the army in close quarters combat.  I understand this is meant to make these soldiers seam badass, but the delivery of the story is so cheesy and stupid that you can’t take it seriously.  In the remaining 7.5 hours it does nothing to redeem itself; it’s a lazy explosion fest with plot holes around every corner (dear god the plot holes), and little to no character development.

You take control of faceless and voiceless Logan, who never manages to develop beyond that.  Some games can pull of this approach well, such as the ever mute Gordon Freeman, but here it feels lazy. Logan’s brother, Hesh, does all the talking and leads your through most missions; telling you where to go or what to do, making you wait for him to come and open doors for you, which is a staple in the CoD franchise.  The stock standard Single-Player combat is present, with every enemy attacking you and an occasional shot fired at your team mates – standing two feet away.  If you have played any Call of Duty game in the last seven years, there will be no surprises here.

Every now and then you will do something interesting like taking control of a remote control sniper rifle, or using the combat dog Riley.  These small sections are forced upon you, no choice is given as to when or where, and the few that exist are tacked on for a more dynamic feel but fall flat into a railroaded segment that last for less than 60 seconds.

It was to be expected for the game to have a love affair with the colour brown that, after seven years’ worth of games, is borderline disturbing.  I understand that taking place after a cataclysmic event would changes the face of the country, but after ten years has past plants would still grow, painted buildings would still exist and the sky is going to remain blue.  Thankfully, you do get around to a few locations, taking you to a snowy landscape or scuba diving in the ocean, though even then everything except the water is brown.  I can’t understand how after all this time, changing the colour plate never crossed their minds.

Character models function fairly smoothly, with the exception of Riley the attack dog.  When they work they work well, but the odd running animation does not fit his movement speed and the outlandish manoeuvres he can pull off (pulling a strapped in helicopter pilot out of his seat as he takes off) simply don’t work.

It is creditable to see the developers at least tried to make the game longer and more interesting, regardless of how recycled and boring it feels; they did attempt to make it better in this respect.  However it can’t make up for the blatant copy and paste attitude the franchise has embraced for years now; from animations, colours, right down to animations, coming from a company the size of Activision there is no excuse.

Everything in this game feels rehashed and reused.  Call of Duty: Ghosts is not a next gen game, it belong back in 2008.  It is commendable that the developers generated a longer campaign but it is quite clear that in its current state, Call of Duty does not have what it takes to fill more than a three hour story.


 - Will Flynn

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