|System: Xbox One, PS3*, 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 Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts obviously looks a lot better than its Xbox 360 counterpart, but it actually falls a little short of the PS4. The Xbox One version actually runs at 720p and up-scales to 1080p as it outputs to your TV. As a result, the textures are a little bit blurrier, model lines are a bit more jagged, and everything runs a little less smooth than the PS4 version. You can really notice this early on in the game during the street-destruction chase scene where the game slows down when there are multiple explosions on the screen at once.
That being said, the graphics of the Xbox One version are noticeably next-gen. It runs at a very smooth 60 FPS in all multiplayer modes. Models interact with each other perfectly, regardless of some of the awkward outlines. As ridiculous as it sounds, Activision really knew what it was talking about during the Xbox One reveal. You can seriously see the detail put into Riley, the Call of Duty dog. In current-generation versions, he looks very blocky and unreal. On the Xbox One, however, his resemblance to a real dog is uncanny, which you will become all too familiar with when he leaps at your neck in multiplayer.
As far as controls go, the Xbox One’s controls are very solid. The triggers on the Xbox One controller have less of a pull distance than the Xbox 360 but are still very responsive. The control scheme is practically identical to the Xbox 360 version, which is a good thing. It allows you to jump right into the action without having to relearn anything. There aren’t any gimmicks here: no motion controls or anything like that. Kinect voice controls have been announced, but they will likely only be used for menus, and even then, you’ll navigate around the menu much easier with the controller or the Call of Duty app.
Choosing whether or not to purchase the Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts will come down to what you like more: graphics or functionality. You have to work really hard to see the differences between the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, but they are noticeable. However, the Xbox One will be getting all DLC and additional content for the game early, and that’s a perk that’s hard to overlook.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: November 15, 2013