‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ haunted by predictability

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Author: Will Westwater

Another year, another “Call of Duty.” Publisher Activision has churned out this franchise at the end of every year since 2005, including this year’s game, “Call of Duty: Ghosts.” Activision’s strategy was made possible by using two different developers for the “Call of Duty” series who work on a two-year cycle. Staggering the years gives gamers (and investors) what they want: a new “Call of Duty” (COD) game every year. COD’s success has grown to the point that developer Treyarch’s “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2” sold 5.6 million units in its opening 24 hours, making it the biggest entertainment release ever not just among video games, but in entertainment as a whole. It is clear that money talks, and that Activision will continue to pump out COD annually.

The present-day Middle East has encountered conflict that results in nuclear destruction. Economic crisis ensues as the world struggles without a major supply of oil. However, the South American countries combine their oil resources and unite to form an economic superpower called The Federation. The Federation presses its influence north and eventually hijacks the U.S.’ ultra-powerful space weapon ODIN, using it against major North American cities. Ten years later in a warzone America, the player joins an elite squadron of soldiers: Ghosts.

As a Ghost and a U.S. soldier, the player will engage targets behind enemy lines in many different ways: often by fire-fight, sometimes by stealth and occasionally by tank or helicopter. The player will complete missions all over South America, the Arctic, the American Southwest and even in space. It should be noted that there are plenty of segments in which the player actually controls a whole vehicle, not just a turret or a gun onboard a vehicle. This marks a first in Infinity Ward COD games.

The multiplayer has changed in many ways while still maintaining the same look and feel. In addition to the usual faire of every new COD entry (new weapons, attachments, perks and camouflages for the player’s guns) the player can now play as a woman (finally) in multiplayer and fully customize the look of his or her avatar.

Some other additions include new game types, most notably cranked, an intense team death match in which the player becomes cranked after killing an enemy. Once cranked the player has faster movement, aiming and re-loading, but these perks come at a price. The second the player becomes cranked a 30-second timer appears on the screen, and if the player does not kill an enemy within that 30 seconds the player explodes. Cranked is an awesome pulse-pounding game type and, coupled with the aforementioned changes, does an alright job of shaking up what otherwise is just more “Call of Duty.”

COD games are always extremely well-made, but tight controls and beautiful graphics do not make a game extraordinary. Yes, COD can and will keep its core audience (and Activision’s higher-ups) satisfied with annual releases, map-packs and season passes, but satisfied is not enough. “Call of Duty: Ghosts” is good, but COD is always good. It has been a while since “Call of Duty” has taken a chance on anything creative. The new additions pump some life into the series, but slowly COD has been digging itself deeper into a well of monotony. As with most triple-A titles, which take millions of dollars to create, it can be hard to change too much for fear of losing the developers’, publishers’ and their stockholders’ investments. But “Call of Duty: Ghosts” just didn’t change enough to make it new. “Ghosts” will keep players moderately entertained, but “Call of Duty” hasn’t made some players say “wow” in a long time.

Call of Duty Ghosts
Platform: PC, PS3 (Reviewed), PS4, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One
MSRP: $59.99

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