Call of Duty: Ghosts – First and Early Impressions of Online Multiplayer

I’ve been a Call of Duty player for quite some time. I originally played the first Call of Duty on my PC and I restarted gaming heavily once again thanks to Call of Duty: World at War. Ever since, I’ve purchased every single installment, despite the annoyances and flaws, as well as the relatively terrible community (We all know what I am talking about), I always seem to find the fun factor in these games.

So how does Call of Duty: Ghosts stack up against the previous installments? Quite well, in my mind. Yes, there are flaws (Some small, some large), the game flows relatively well overall. There are some balance issues, but there are always balance issues in Call of Duty games (Sadly). But the feel of the game is relatively solid. Let me dissect it further.

Graphics and Aesthetics
While having the best of graphics is not necessary to have the best game play, Call of Duty has had pretty good graphics overall in its past games.

The colors in this game seem very bland overall. The colors of the character models blend TOO well with the scenery, so it causes some eye strain and annoyance. Every little bush, at first, seems like it can be someone crouching down. Some foliage over there? SHOOT! It’s like I was afraid of my own shadow the first few days I played this game. Over time you get used to the levels, but spotting an enemy becomes an annoyance on most of the levels. Treyarch seemed to do a much better job when it came to this. Oddly enough, this is the first Call of Duty I have had this issue with.

There are some uniform skins that look cool, but they requite clan war wins. I was hoping that Infinity Ward would allow us incredibly detailed character customization (Example: Logos on clothing, hair color, tattoos, jewelry, and so on), but that’s not really the case. You can choose some headgear (There are some cool choices), uniforms, head/face/skin, emblems, backgrounds and, well… That really sums it up. Given the vast customization that Grand Theft Auto: V has, I figured a high profile developer like Infinity Ward would have increased customization to battle for more sales (Because, come on, we all love having a unique character!). And I don’t mean crazy outfits like monkey masks and pig masks, I mean attire that would fit well into this game.

Overall, more could have been done. More vibrant colors could’ve been added to all models. The game feels dark… Too dark.

Game Play
Like I said earlier, the game seems to flow well. Hit detection gives the illusion to be on par, movements seem fluid, and so on. However, although the game rarely lags, I can’t help but feel that I am getting screwed over many-a-times when it comes to personal firefights. I’m not the only one that seems to feel this way as well. I’ve shot enemy players a handful of times while they weren’t looking and have been decimated. If you, as a player, have the advantage (Especially such a huge advantage), you should win the firefight — hands down!

The dogs are also another issue. A 5-kill score streak in the Assault Package, the dog is relentless. It stays within the proximity of the user and will growl to alert the user of nearby enemies and attack as needed. If the user dies, the dog still lives and will run to them when they respawn and kill enemy players along the way. Dogs, in my opinion, seem to take more shots than enemy players!

The equipment seems relatively balanced, except for IEDs, which are essentially mines on steroids. They are hard to see, and by the time they beep you’re usually too late to try and escape. Other explosives and tactical equipment seems balanced and not abused.

The spawning is completely broken, which can always be modified in a patch. These spawns are probably the worst I’ve seen in any Call of Duty. Tonight I literally have spawned in front of enemy players, behind them, and even at an enemy Domination flag right in front of an IMS… which promptly killed me after spawning. I’ve been spawned in gunfire, next to grenades and other enemy explosives, and near enemy guard dogs. I know there is always instances of bad spawns in games, but they are generally more unlikely, whereas this happens constantly, sometimes back-to-back within the same game.

The guns, overall, are kind of bland. The Honey Badger seems to be the most used (an assault rifle with a built in silencer). However, sniper rifles are once again abused — with a vengeance. Quick scoping is back, although “slightly different” from what I’ve heard (I don’t do it, personally). Almost any time I’ve been hit with a sniper it’s been a one hit kill (Well, death for me). Snipers are over used given the maps… Which I’ll talk about next.

Maps
Although they seem much better than Call of Duty: Black Ops II maps (The worst I’ve ever seen in any Call of Duty, except for a select few), the maps aren’t too great. Some of them are fairly large and have too many vantage points, which seems to promote camping and easy pickings for snipers that want to sit back, especially on objective game modes.

The setup of maps are… convoluted. For example, Chasm is a mess of tunnels and rooms for the most part. On the other side of the spectrum, Stonehaven is WAY too open (Essentially a field with a castle in one corner), which seems to be a haven (See what I did there??!) for snipers. There are some good maps, but with the complexity of almost all of the maps above previous Call of Duty game online maps, I guess they take time to grow on you.

Statistics
Probably the least valued section by Infinity Ward, the stats are incredibly poor. The fundamentals are there (Win/Loss, Kill/Death, etc), but Treyarch does a MUCH better job when it comes to statistics. Score Per Minute is gone.

There doesn’t seem to be the ability to go over stats from old matches (Except for the one that was played immediately prior). There are no heat maps, no accolades… It seems very minimal.

Heck, even Halo: Reach had stats on their website that were incredibly in-depth FOR FREE. Call of Duty Elite for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops II was PAID FOR by the consumers and didn’t even work properly when it was initially purchased. It took months for it to work, and by then many customers didn’t even want to deal with it.

Now there is a free online application for Call of Duty: Ghosts, but it seems minimal as well, displaying fundamental stats, clan stats, and giving you the ability to see who is online and to create weapon classes.

Theater Mode
In a major step back, Theater Mode was discontinued in this installment. Why? No idea. It has been a staple in the past few Call of Duty games, allowing players to share their best game playing clips and create miniature montages that could be uploaded to YouTube. Players cannot even take pictures or anything.

Extinction
Infinity Ward scrapped Survival and implemented a new game mode titled “Extinction.” In this game mode players have to battle against waves of creepy aliens and complete objectives such as drilling hives. Extinction is delightful and, unlike Treyarch’s zombies, can be “completed,” as in there is an end that can be reached.

I don’t want to go too into it, but Extinction is a fresh new experience for players that is innovative and enjoyable. Although, I don’t see any other “cooperative” game modes (I want Cooperative Campaign back!).

Overall
While this review only touches upon a few of the fundamentals of the game, there is much more to it. I feel that this game is fun, but I feel that it is missing a few things. It’s hard to put my finger on it, but some aspects feel like they were rushed (Minimal customization, despite it seemed so amped up), levels being bland, leveling up system, and so on. The whole Squad system is new, but I have yet to really go into far into that mode, although there seems to be several game modes under that category from the Squad menu.

While I am having fun with this game and I like to purchase Call of Duty games (Despite them being seemingly clone-like), I wouldn’t call this one as memorable as Call of Duty: World at War or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 (And the first Modern Warfare I am sure, but I didn’t play much of that one).

Hopefully the downloadable content will be worth it and contain weapon and character skins, more colorful and vibrant maps, and much more. Otherwise, I feel that this Call of Duty will be a mere ghost when the next installment comes around (Zing!).

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