|System: PS3*, Xbox 360, PC, PS4*, Xbox One*|
|Dev: Infinity Ward|
|Release: November 12, 2013|
|Players: 1 (2+ Online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language|
There is a new mechanic in multiplayer called Field Orders, which are randomly generated bonus objectives that give you perks and other rewards for completing them. They are fun diversions but add a level of unpredictability to the game that feels off-putting. Some of these objectives, such as “knife someone in the back,” are hard, and you may get nothing more than a level one perk as a payoff. Others, such as “kill two enemies while crouching,” are easy, and you could luck into a huge payoff. More often than not, they are ignored or used as lures for easy kills on people mindlessly rushing toward them.
Two game modes that need to be mentioned are the new Extinction mode and Squads modes. Extinction is basically Ghosts’ answer to Black Ops’ Zombies mode. Aliens, who despite their outward appearance totally aren’t the Zerg, are attacking Earth with biological terraforming hives. You and four friends have to carry a drill around from hive to hive, protecting it from alien attack until it destroys the hive. It’s basically a moving defense mode with some RPG elements. Players get to customize their loadouts by choosing a class, pistol, and four special perks, and all of these can be leveled up by spending skill points earned for destroying hives and completing secondary objectives. Your goal is to destroy all the hives and then nuke the whole area as a big finish. Good luck!
Squads mode, on the other hand, allows you to play against other players’ loadouts when they aren’t online. You can challenge another player’s squad on a game type and map of the creator’s choosing. An AI then takes control of his characters, attempting to recreate how he plays. On the whole, it does a good job, but sometimes, you’ll see melee characters or snipers just wigging out for no reason. What’s cool about this mode is that your squad can earn Squad Points for you while you are away from the game, making it less of a grind. In fact, it’s worth it to build squad members that can use weapons you suck at using just to make your team a more credible threat. Not a big fan of sniping? Who cares!? Let the AI do it for you. There’s also a basic defense mode under the squad menu, which doesn’t really have anything to do with squads at all, but is fun nonetheless.
Everything else in the game is the same old addicting Call of Duty formula that you have come to know and love, just with new guns, new maps, and new perks. On the whole, the game feels like it’s more inviting to novices without being dumbed down. Maps are easier to navigate; Killstreaks are more ground based and less lethal, and novices can just grind out Squads mode for points before they hop on multiplayer. But there is still a ton of depth for vets, with a new expanded perk system that lets you mix and match perks from all categories, tons of new game modes such as the fast-paced Cranked and Blitz, and the ability to build a near invincible squad and watch it climb the leaderboards without you even playing! I could talk forever about what each new gun handle is like and how each new map plays, but then this review would get way too long. So let’s just say that Call of Duty: Ghosts is a worthy title for kicking off the Call of Duty franchise on next-generation consoles… and it has dogs in it! Who’s a good puppy Riley? Who’s a good boy?
The PS4 version of Call of Duty: Ghosts is notably better looking than current-generation versions. Textures in particular are much higher resolution and give the game a more polished look. Oddly enough, you can see this most in the game’s foliage. Current-generation foliage seems paper thin and unmoving. Next-generation foliage, however, has real width to it and move and bends as you walk through it. In fact, character models just interact with things better on the PS4 version. You’ll notice knives awkwardly landing to the right of a person’s body as you kill them in the PS3 version, while the PS4 version gets the kill animation correct every time.
The PS4 really shines in the set-piece moments in the single-player, which is a shame because the plot of the single-player is so bad. Nevertheless, the real-time lighting effects of explosions going off on the battlefield are astounding. Watching buildings crumble piece by piece is a real treat. The bullet-trails underwater create tiny bubbles that rise independently from each other. The two scenes that showcase the PS4’s graphics technology the best are easily the intro scenes, where missiles fall on California and a satellite burns up in the Earth’s atmosphere, and the submarine scene, where massive sonar pings destroy the underwater environment around you.
As far as controls go, the PS4 controller has some interesting things to add to the Call of Duty experience. The ability to tilt the controller to enter text is gimmicky, but kind of cool. The triggers certainly feel better than the PS3 shoulder buttons do. Unfortunately, you can’t navigate the loadout screen with the touchpad, which is a huge missed opportunity. Also, the usage of the touchscreen as a “select” button and the options button as the “start” button takes a lot of getting used to.
Obviously, if you are looking for the best graphics, you should go with a next-generation version of Call of Duty: Ghosts, and the PS4 seems to be playing better with higher TV resolutions, so certainly bear that in mind. Flat out, the PS4 version is the best-looking version of Call of Duty: Ghosts. The controls are also far better than the PS3 controls, so don’t let Sony’s previous-gen console dissuade you from picking up this next-gen greatness.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: November 15, 2013