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Call of Duty Ghosts!

The latest in the award winning, record breaking, and industry changing series of Call of Duty has arrived to, predictably, much anticipation but the question is how improved the latest in the franchise is.

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Invasion Of Invading Invaders The Call of Duty franchise has typically always been well known for a strong multiplayer and a solid, but underappreciated single player campaign. The plotlines tend to follow in a similar vein of somewhat lacking depth, but exciting and engaging gameplay and missions.

Ghosts is not any different, as the campaign, while shucked aside by most consumers, is a very respectable single player romp. Based around a US invasion from a South American alliance named "The Federation", the battle has fought to a standstill in 2023 on the shores of tattered, destroyed US cities.

The story revolves around Logan, David, his father Elias and the legendary squad of superiorly trained soldiers known as Ghosts. Like a version of the US Navy Seals, the Ghosts are brought in for special tasks and missions that most other squads and divisions would be unable to carry out.

The plotline lacks a bit of depth occasionally and jumps around a little bit, but it is fairly easy to follow and paints a comprehensive picture. The gameplay of the campaign is the focus and its strongest point though, as explosive and fast paced gunfights are commonplace throughout.

An additional gimmick added into the campaign (and the game as a whole, actually) is the inclusion of the now famous German Shepard dog Riley. Riley accompanies you on many of your missions and can be used as a tool against the enemy, occasionally attacking and ripping out the throats of those who oppose you.

As well, occasionally you will be able to take control of Riley and guide him through little recon missions, silently sneaking around and paving a safe path for his human friends. It is not a ground breaking addition, but it an appreciated one that adds a bit of "awww" value to the typically gritty, intense gameplay.

Tried But True: In typical Call of Duty fashion, the multiplayer was probably what the developers at Infinity Ward spent the most time trying to perfect and refine. The first destination for many of those who get their hands on Ghosts, the multiplayer returns and is, once again, an addictive and engrossing experience.

The gameplay remains true to the classic Call of Duty style but there are a sizable amount of slight, but noticeable alterations to the specific customization of your multiplayer experience.

Take for example the system that determines when you unlock new weapons and gear. Rather than simply unlocking new goodies when you level up, a bigger focus is placed on how many "Squad Points" you have to spend. The "Squad Points" act as a currency that is used to purchase new weapons, equipment, perks and kill streaks.

You earn "Squad Points" by simply playing the game and you will find yourself content for a little while after a couple hours of grinding for more of those coveted points. It quickly becomes a case of intense anticipation for more points though, as you find yourself desperately wishing to purchase certain items or regretting wasted points spent on inferior gear.

Another large change is a variation of the "Pick 10" system displayed in Black Ops II. Infinity Ward altered the system a bit and now puts the system to use predominantly alongside perks. Each perk is assigned a value from 1 to 3, and you can choose any combination of perks to add up to 5 points.

It is perhaps unnecessarily complex but no matter what needlessly critical people may say, it does allow a lot of customization and to anyone with marginal intelligence, it shouldnt be difficult to figure out how to add up perk values to make for 5 total points.

In addition to a deeper customization system, there are also a few additional new modes, both in multiplayer and as a replacement for the Combat Training of Modern Warfare yore. In its place is the "Squads" mode, which sees a host battle AI controlled enemies. It basically acts as a training ground for new players who may feel intimidated jumping right into the fray of competitive multiplayer against live opponents.

As well as the typical modes of Domination, Capture The Flag, Team Deathmatch and everything else you would expect, one of the more interesting modes is "Cranked". Obviously a direct rip-off of the similarly named movie, every time a player scores a kill, he earns a speed boost for 30 seconds. Any assist or kill will reset the timer, but if he fails to notch either one within the needed time, he will explode and die.

The gameplay is standard Call of Duty, the most played modes are, as always, Domination and Team Deathmatch, but that doesn't mean the multiplayer is not as addictive as ever. A quest for the next level, that next piece of gear, experimenting with new builds and load-outs, it ultimately ends up being a massive time killer that absorbs more of your day than you would like to admit.

Crystal Clear: The visuals in Ghosts is not the strongest aspect of the title, but it does a very respectable job as gamers prepare to experience the next generation of consoles this month. The character models are fairly detailed and to be honest, the game looks good but is arguably unimproved from say, Modern Warfare 3.

However, that statement does not quite apply when it comes to the next gen consoles, in which the visuals received a significant boost. Environments and weapons are vastly more details and as a whole the entire game is much sharper and clearer, particularly on the PS4 which runs at a native 1080p.

As far as the voice acting goes, once again the developing team hit it out of the park with their casting of the voice actors. There are not many notable actors behind the voices in Ghosts but almost all of them do an excellent job of delivering clear, engrossing dialogue.

The only real misstep is that there are a couple of slightly odd graphical bugs that occur at times, with enemies that disappear and reappear at times and bodies that seem to convulse despite being completely devoid of life.

Rent vs. Buy: The Call of Duty franchise has garnered a reputation of being a slightly altered series that makes small changes, but generally stays the same; near perfect in many ways, but never really making big jumps in innovative.

Ghosts does not change that pattern but I do not consider that to be a horrible thing. The latest in the franchise is a stellar addition to the series and both the single player and multiplayer give a lot to offer for gamers. Once the solid single player campaign is finished, the multiplayer is sure to keep you entertained for months and perhaps even years, until the next iteration hits store shelves.

It goes without saying that Ghosts, while unchanged in many ways, is still close to perfection in the saturated genre of military shooters and first-person-shooters.

Report Card

It goes without saying that Ghosts, while unchanged in many ways, is still close to perfection in the saturated genre of military shooters and first-person-shooters. (Krakrabbit.com)


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