Year after year, Activision pumps out a new Call of Duty game. And year after year, I have always been skeptical that they would be able to keep up the high standard of quality that the series has maintained throughout each iteration. In all honesty, there hasn’t been a bad core Call of Duty game since the first one released on PC almost a decade ago, and while there have been a few that weren’t as great as the others, each Call of Duty game is a safe bet for a great gaming experience.
I wasn’t sold on Call of Duty: Ghosts based on the early footage and information that we saw. A few events later, and I am incredibly excited to get my hands on this game. Ghosts may not be changing up the CoD formula in any significant ways, but that’s not stopping it from being one of this year’s most exciting titles.
Most people that buy Call of Duty aren’t buying it for the single player campaign. The real breadwinner of the series has been the multiplayer component ever since Call of Duty 4 completely changed the face of online multiplayer gaming years in 2007. Multiplayer is still the biggest selling point in Call of Duty: Ghosts, and there are plenty of improvements and tweaks to ensure that Ghosts may just be bringing to the table the best multiplayer experience in the history of the series.
Players will once again have the ability to customize their loadouts before matches. In Ghosts, there will be 12 points to spend on a single loadout, and these points can be spent in any manner desired by the player. Players can choose to just have a ton of perks and go into battle with only a knife, for example. This level of customization hasn’t been seen before in the series.
Ghosts is bringing with it a couple of interesting new perks. For example, there is the Deadeye perk. With this perk active, players are more likely to land critical hits with each consecutive kill. The Gambler perk, meanwhile, randomizes which perk the player spawns with after each death.
Besides the typical loadout choices, Ghosts is also allowing players to customize their appearance for the first time. There are 20,000 different customization options total for a single character’s appearance, and players will also be able to play as female soldiers for the first time as well.
Killstreaks are a huge part of the multiplayer experience when it comes to Call of Duty. Ghosts is obviously not abandoning this, though they are making the shift back to Pointstreaks. Players will choose between three different packages that will each have their own Killstreaks/Pointstreaks available.
The Assault Package will grant players the ability to use SAT COMs. SAT COMs replace UAVs in the game. They can be stacked on top of each other at different parts of the map in order to improve the radar of your entire time. This will hopefully make the radar system not only more interesting, but more balanced as well.
At five points, players with the Assault Package will be able to summon a guard dog. The guard dog will follow the player around, warning of nearby enemies and also attacking any enemies that are spotted. The guard dog replaces the squad of attack dogs that were used in previous installments.
At nine points is where things get really interesting for those with the Assault Package. Replacing the Juggernauts from Modern Warfare 3 is the new and improved Juggernaut Maniac suit. This is a melee-only suit that gives players a giant suit of armor so they are able to charge others and hack them to death like unstoppable monsters ripped from a horror movie or something.
Other packages are returning from Modern Warfare 3, including the Support Package and the Specialist Package. Not much has been said about these, but the Support Package will focus more on the defensive side of the coin. For example, the Night Owl is a point streak unlocked at five points for the Support Package that will summon a small robotic orb that will follow the player around. Unlike the guard dog, this orb will not attack enemies, but it will protect the player from hazard such as grenades with its deflection technology.
One of the most exciting aspects about the multiplayer in Call of Duty: Ghosts is how Activision is not afraid to include a bunch of really over-the-top and off-the-wall new game modes. They’ve seen the success of these sillier game modes through game types such as Gun Game, Sticks and Stones, Infected, and many others that they’ve included, but now they’re dialing up the insanity to 11.
Cranked is probably the most widely discussed new mode being added to the multiplayer experience. I’ve already spoken about it at length, so I won’t say much about it beyond giving a little reminder of what it actually is. In Cranked, players have 30 seconds after getting their first kill to get another kill. They are rewarded with a speed-based perk, but if they fail to kill another player within 30 seconds, they will explode.
Search & Rescue is a new game type that is combining elements of Kill Confirmed and Search & Destroy. Search & Rescue basically follows the same rules of Search & Destroy, except with an added twist. The dog tags of fallen players will appear over their bodies when they are killed. If someone on their team collects the dog tags, that player can be revived for the round. If a member of the opposing team collects the dog tags, then that player is dead permanently for that round.
Blitz is another new game type that leans more toward the “silly” spectrum like Cranked. In Blitz, players are tasked with the goal of jumping through a portal that is in enemy territory. The team that is able to jump through the portal of the opposing team the most times will win the match. It’s like a faster version of Capture the Flag, and while obviously very less strategic than that game type, it’s also promising to be a lot more exciting as well.
These are the maps that have been announced for Call of Duty: Ghosts so far:
Free Fall (Pre-order bonus)
Multiplayer maps in Ghosts will be adding dynamic events. These events add a level of destructibility to the maps that haven’t been seen in a Call of Duty game before. For example, in the Strikezone map, which takes place at a baseball stadium, an ODIN (more on that in the single-player write-up just below) strike causes the stadium to be completely destroyed, which changes the layout and geography of the map quite significantly.
Call of Duty: Ghosts releases on November 5th for the current-gen and Wii U versions of the game. The PlayStation 4 version will release alongside the console on November 15th and the Xbox One version will also release alongside that console one week later on November 22nd.
That being said, players don’t have to worry about getting the current-gen version and then losing their progress in the game. Characters and all other multiplayer progress will transfer to the next-gen versions since all that information is tied to the players’ account instead of to the specific system itself.
In addition, the season pass and other DLC will also transfer to the next-gen versions. However, keep in mind that this only counts if you are moving from an Xbox 360 to an Xbox One or a PlayStation 3 to a PlayStation 4. Also keep in mind that it will cost $10 to upgrade from the current-gen version to the next-gen version, either through Activision, Microsoft, Sony, or GameStop and other participating retailers.
Unfortunately, single player progress will not transfer to the next-gen versions of the game.
Oh, and other stuff
Call of Duty: Ghosts is also changing things up with small tweaks and improvements to the basic multiplayer formula. Various graphical and audio improvements are being made, with the audio improvements perhaps being the most impressive. The multiplayer characters will now yell off audio cues and directions in a manner similar to how NPCs talk in the single player campaigns of Call of Duty titles. In addition, guns will sound differently based on the location that the gun is being shot.
Field orders are being added to the basic multiplayer experience as well and sound very interesting. Basically, there will be one set of “field orders” in the game at any given time. The only time someone loses their field orders is when they are killed and someone else takes them or if they complete them, which will then cause the player or their team to obtain a care package for deployment. Field orders will range from stabbing an enemy in the back to getting a kill with a specific weapon or in another specific manner.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is also bringing to the table the “second screen experience”. Players will be able to track stats, leaderboards, clan information, and much more using a tablet or other mobile device.
Squads have been added to really change things up, but I’ve already spoken at length about squads and will not go into it again here. Let’s just say that Activision is completing their vision of having AI controlled teammates being a big part of the online Call of Duty experience by greatly improving the AI in their attempts to make the AI act more like human players.
Oh, and Call of Duty: Ghosts will be running at 60 frames per second across all versions of the game. So, the Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC version will all run like butter.
Even though the single player in Call of Duty hasn’t had quite the same focus as it used to, it’s still a fairly entertaining blockbuster experience in most cases. Yeah, there have been some pitfalls in this department, most notably with Modern Warfare 3, but there have also been fantastic single player Call of Duty experiences, like what we saw in Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty 4, mainly.
Call of Duty: Ghosts will be offering a brand new fictional universe to the series.
The plot of Call of Duty: Ghosts takes place in modern times, but it is not set in the same universe as the Modern Warfare games. This opens the door for new stories and new threats never seen before in the franchise. Essentially, Ghosts is a reboot when examined from a story perspective.
In this universe, the United States has created ODIN. ODIN is basically a space station and a group of satellites that have been designed to counteract any nuclear threats against the United States. The power of the ODIN basically matches that of a nuclear strike, but without the negative environmental effects (except for, you know, the giant craters in the ground it creates).
Unfortunately for the US, other countries get control of ODIN and use it to decimate the United States, crippling it as a superpower and making the United States the underdog for the first time since the Revolutionary War.
Meanwhile, an organization of South American countries has united to take over the US. Thanks to their mass oil reserves and other exports that the US typically relies on, this organization, called the Federation, manages to cripple the already greatly damaged United States of America even further.
The plot of Call of Duty: Ghosts was written by an award winning Hollywood screenwriter named Stephen Gaghan that worked on high-profile films such as Traffic
With a new universe comes a new set of characters. That being said, Activision is not completely abandoning the tone and style that made the Modern Warfare games so popular. This can be seen with the games title (an obvious reference to the character “Ghost” from the Modern Warfare games) as well as the dog Riley, which is also named after Ghost, albeit his real name.
The titular Ghosts are groups of special forces that have been deployed by what remains of the United States military to act in interest of the US in an attempt to build the superpower back up to its previous position.
The game will follow a single Ghost squad from the beginning of the campaign to the end. This is in contrast to typical Call of Duty campaigns that tend to jump around from location to location and put the players in control of a bunch of different characters, which in turn had a tendency to hurt the overall pacing of the plot and character development located within the plot.
Hopefully this new direction allows us to better appreciate and enjoy the stories of this Ghost squad, which consists of brothers Logan and Hesh, their leader Merrick, and their partner Ajax. Along with the human characters is Riley, the famous (or infamous?) dog that is been used heavily in Activision’s promotion material for the game. Players can utilize Riley by ordering him to attack enemies.
Logan is the character that is controlled by the player. I may be mistaken, but I think Logan marks the first time that the player is controlling only one character throughout an entire Call of Duty campaign in the history of the series. Logan is going to be a throwback to the old Call of Duty protagonists, however, in that he is going to be mute and he will never be seen on-screen. The apparent reasoning behind this is that the developers hope players will be able to relate to Logan more easily this way.
We know that at some point in the game, Call of Duty: Ghosts will have a mission that takes place in space. However, we’ve only gotten to see a couple of other missions since the game’s announcement.
One of those missions is Into the Deep. It’s one of the most-shown missions by Activision, and for the life of me, I can’t understand why. Into the Deep, to me, just highlights everything that is wrong with the Call of Duty single player games in one mission. It is incredibly linear, banking on the fish and sharks to excite players when in reality they’re just experiencing yet another “follow me” simulator in a Call of Duty game.
Another mission that has been shown recently is Struck Down. In this mission, Logan and the rest of the squad attack a Federation-controlled baseball stadium (the basis for the Strikezone map) in order to save Ajax, who has been captured and is being held prisoner. This mission seems considerably more fun that Into the Deep, if not still painfully linear in structure.
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Call of Duty: Ghosts has multiple release dates for the different platforms that it will be available on. Check those out below. And in the meantime, stay tuned to Cheat Masters for all the latest on Call of Duty: Ghosts, including reviews, guides, cheats, and more!
November 5th (PC,/PS3/360/Wii U)
November 15th (PS4)
November 22nd (Xbox One)