Release Date: 5 November 2013
Developer: Infinity Ward
Where to get it: SteamPrice: £39.99
I'm going to preface this review by outright stating that Activision and Infinity Ward are lying sacks of shit - there are NO dedicated servers, no options for it, not even for unranked play. Contrary to any reports from real gaming news sites such as Eurogamer, Joystiq, Gamespot and a whole bunch more I can't be bothered finding on Google.
In light of the above, Call Of Duty Ghosts will not be eligible for approximately all of the score I'd normally give out to a game just because the developers are cunts.
So, on to the singleplayer first then:
The singleplayer is your typical Call Of Duty experience, about 4 hours long, full of things exploding and dogs, controllable this time too. Well, sorta, you're not actually the dog - you're a dude with an iPad remote controlling the dog through a little camera on his vest, but you're really a dude sat infront of your PC controlling a dude with an iPad controlling a dog through a vest. Whoa, dogception.
Before we go any further; yes, the dog gets shot at some point. Does he live or die? Who cares? I am a dog lover, it's just that I don't give half a shit about the digital dog. The said he's portrayed really well and goes from being adorable to terrifying and back again in seconds.
The characters are flatter than ever, the textures are shinier than ever and the guns are less varied than ever. Set pieces range from dusty brown to dusty grey to black at least once. It's practically impossible to fail save for the starting area where you can get "left behind", like you don't know the way back to your own fucking house, which by the way was visible from where I got the "left behind" failure.
Setpieces are Call Of Duty's bread and butter these days and it wouldn't be fair to not comment on some of them at least. There's two sections in space, one a bit naff right at the start and then another decent one that had the sad effect of making me wish I was playing Shattered Horizon instead. There's also a nifty underwater section that uses the same physics/controls as the space sections and looks absolutely beautiful in every regard until a ship above starts blasting audible sonar strong enough to kick up the sediment and make you think you might be a squid (sonar makes their heads explode, for those who didn't know). Undoubtedly the highlight of all the set pieces is rappelling down the side of a skyscraper shooting people through the windows while they remain completely oblivious inside but it's over rather quickly.
The deformable terrain is pretty nice too, it's fun to see something huge impact a building or the ground and actually make a difference but it's all scripted nonsense as we've come to expect, that's not saying it's not pretty to look at because it is, it's just nothing special. A good example of this is one mission where you're controlling an orbital weapons platform and launching huge rods at the planet to kill battalions of tanks (despite the same rods landing less than a mile from you on foot previously and leaving you perfectly fine) and the holes in the ground when shown from the air don't match up to where you aimed in the previous sequence.
Sadly there's not much to say about Call Of Duty Ghosts because it's Call Of Duty, you know what you're getting in the singleplayer if you've played any of the games previously. Just go play Black Ops 2, it does the future setting better, better level design, ability to choose your guns, likable and hateable (it's a word now) characters and an ending that doesn't look like the setup for a Lost episode.
Multiplayer, oh boy:
Despite my earlier statements I have forced myself to sit through the multiplayer for a few hours to get a feel for it and play most of the maps and gamemodes and a few of them are entertaining. Cranked especially was one I expected to hate but ended up loving in the end; kill someone and you get a 30 second countdown until you explode, keep killing to reset it. It's manic, twisted and full of people going pop.
Sadly, because the gameplay is so close to the older Call Of Duty games the series veterans are already ruling the roost and for a (blech) casual multiplayer player like myself that means joining a game and being shot, shot, running a bit then shot, and shot some more.
The multiplayer maps are small but with lots of corridors, twists and turns and surprising hidey-holes for those who like to just shoot people as they run past. The multiplayer map design is far superior to the singleplayer experience at least, I'm still not giving them a point though.
There's a pretty good selection of guns too, with a half dozen or so in a half dozen or so different categories, though they all feel remarkably samey when used one after the other. You either hit with that first few shots or the guy you shot at does a triple three-sixty no-scope and one shots you. Except he didn't do all that, he just turned and fired and was actually standing 10 feet away from where you saw him because of the horrific lag.
But there's a semi redeeming feature for those of us who are either antisocial or couldn't give two squirts of piss about listen server multiplayer: Squads mode! You basically have a team of customized gimps, uh soldiers (ghosts?) who you throw into bot matches either against another player and their squad, or just the squad without the player (AI). The gamemode and map are randomly chosen in the lobby and you actually rank up and unlock things as though you were playing real multiplayer, so it's the same experience but 100% better because it's lag free (unless you play against another person, then it's 50-50 whether you or them will host, in which case one of you is lagging to hell).
I honestly really want to give it something. It would be tremendous fun if only it had the dedicated servers that were promised, the lag and not being able to choose what game to enter really ruins the experience. But, I made up my mind while thinking about what to say about the game (i.e as soon as I saw there were no dedicated servers).
Since words can't adequately describe it, allow me to provide a video that someone so helpfully plopped on youtube; I present to thee Ghosts Multiplayer
So should you buy it? Absolutely not. Infinity Ward and Activision have blatantly lied for the second time here and consumers really shouldn't keep buying their shit when they do this stuff. Sadly, they lie in such a way that we can't know until we buy their shit. Excellent business plan, you wankers.
Score: 0 dedicated servers out of 10 promised by lying monkeyfuckers.
Direct comparison to Battlefield 4:
At least Ghosts is playable (to some degree), I didn't experience a single crash in about 10 hours with the game and some of the multiplayer (read. the bit where you play alone) works fine. That said, once DICE fix Battlefield 4's issues the game will be far superior, so just keep your cash in your wallet for now and really don't buy either, they're both a bit naff.