Building (Critical) Consensus: Call of Duty: Ghosts (PS3 / 360)
If there’s a franchise that’s used as a metaphor for everything that people see as wrong with gaming today, it’s Call of Duty. People are using racial, ethnic, homophobic and misogynistic slurs online? Damn CoD kids. Effectively recycling last year’s game for a big profit this year? Old CoD trick. The death of the single-player campaign at the expense of getting everyone into and spending money on multiplayer? You better believe that’s a CoD’ing.
So with the release of the transitional Call of Duty: Ghosts on current generation consoles yesterday, one had to wonder if the reviews would be a referendum on the franchise as a whole.
The answer is that I’m not entirely sure. I’ve never played a CoD game so I won’t be able to tell you how Ghosts this stacks up. (Sorry, I’m just not a big FPS fan.) Many reviewers noted that this was remarkably similar to Infinity Ward’s last effort, CoD: Modern Warfare 3, and marked it down as a result. Others noted that but gave it a high mark because it was still fun. So if you loved MW3, there’s nothing to turn you off here.
Hardcore Gamer (90%): The single player is disposable, albeit fun, but it’s irrelevant as there’s enough content in multiplayer to keep gamers busy for hundreds of hours until the next Call of Duty comes out. After a great entry from Treyarch, Infinity Ward has cemented the brand as the go-to online shooter with Call of Duty: Ghosts, one of the most satisfying experiences of the series.
OXM (80%): Ghosts is by no means flawless, but it’s also such a well-constructed experience that it shouldn’t immediately be written off and forgotten simply because it’s formulaic. We wish Infinity Ward had been bolder with their design decisions, sure, but everything from the campaign to the competitive multiplayer to the alien-battling version of Treyarch’s zombie mode remains outright fun. Imperfect and unsurprising maybe, but fun nonetheless.
PlayStation Universe (75%): As a whole, nothing significant has improved to make for an impressive experience I had with Ghosts, despite changes made here and there. Executive Producer Mark Rubin explained the lack of innovation is because Call of Duty is now a sport, saying, “You can’t change the rules too much you have to sort of live within the boundaries that you created.” It’s a strategy that may avoid upsetting a lot of people, which soon will cause Call of Duty to feel more stagnant for players like myself, especially compared to not only other games in franchise, but those in the shooter genre.
Giant Bomb (60%): Ghosts offers the same style of video game combat that Call of Duty has had since 2007. The core of it is still engaging and can be very thrilling, if you’re receptive to this type of action. In fact, it’s still my favorite online multiplayer shooter. But the bells and whistles surrounding the game are muted and missing, leaving behind that same core without giving you enough new and exciting reasons to come back. Even with the improved graphics to be had on next-generation consoles, I’d rather play Black Ops II.
Destructoid (50%): Contrary to the old saying, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Black Ops II demonstrated that with style. Ghosts, however, is a dog that simply doesn’t want to change. It knows what it is, and sticks with it. It would be a respectable endeavor, if it didn’t lead to such an underwhelming and predictable little product.