Final Verdict: ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ a paint-by-number exercise

Above, a scene from “"Call of Duty: Ghosts."” (Photo credit: AP photo by Activision)

Above, a scene from “”Call of Duty: Ghosts.”” (Photo credit: AP photo by Activision)

Multiplayer aside, ‘COD: Ghosts’ is nearly unnecessary

Look, say what you will about the “Call of Duty” franchise, but you have to give it this much credit: COD knows what it’s doing when it comes to online multiplayer. Anything else, though? Well…

With these type of first-person-shooter games, I’ve come to realize there are two types of gamers: the ones who enjoy the story line and plot, and the one who wants to compete against other players for whatever glory they can achieve. If you can’t tell, I fall into the former category. But with this franchise in particular, the vast majority is located in the latter.

That’s OK. If you enjoy the camaraderie and adrenaline rush that comes with a mission well done, the online features of “Call of Duty: Ghosts” are top-notch. Multiplayer is addicting and engaging, a production juggernaut worthy of its fame. With the addition of the Extinction mode, you’re in for even more chaotic adventures.

In Extinction, we forgo the zombies of past games with alien invaders who offer more to “Ghosts” than you would think. Deep and challenging, Extinction will offer hours of fun outside of the rather lackluster campaign. The creative tasks take some ingenuity to complete; the AI is formidable without being overpowered or glitchy; the aliens themselves are shockingly fast, making them all the more dangerous; and the emphasis for cooperation among teammates is heavy.

Compare this with the less-inspired Squads mode, which focuses on customization. Yes, decking your NPC with immense skills and battling against others with equally unrealistic abilities has its draws, but not for any length of time. Sooner than not, you’ll find yourself unengaged from what turn into spectator matches.

Speaking of spectating, if you are the type to go it alone in multiplayer, like me, you’ll find yourself in a whole different world. Search & Rescue, a retake on Search & Destroy from previous installments, essentially punishes players who’d rather be a team of one. When you die and drop your dog tags, your teammates have to collect them before an opponent does. If they fail, you’ll stuck watching the battle rage without you.

And good luck reaping the rewards of memorizing maps after hours of gameplay. You see, a drone likes to fly over every once in a while, hit the map and change the entire layout of the location. It’s just slightly more than aggravating.

The other modes are hardly worth mentioning for either creative or gameplay worthiness. If you’ve played any other online multiplayer game before, you’ll won’t be surprised with what these modes offer.

As for campaign missions, well, they’re at least are more entertaining those our protagonists, who offer little in the way of engaging story lines. In fact, most of “Ghosts” comes across feeling like a holding pattern. Little stands out to make the game special in any significant way, but you won’t find yourself in a rage while partaking in your big-budget wartime adventures.

While battling my way through the last half of the campaign (for the Initial Impressions review, click here), I just felt … tired? Maybe bored is the right word, but it doesn’t matter. The familiarity and repetitiveness wear on you from the start.

What memorable quirks do exist aren’t really meant for the target audience. Yeah, it’s awesome floating through space and using cosmic debris as a shield when your space station is being overrun, and being able to direct your obedient German Shepard, Riley, can be fun. But both, along with a handful of other moments, are fleeting and easy forgettable.

In the end, “Call of Duty: Ghosts” just maintains the status quo. It’s stubborn, really, for a company to not think outside the box simply because people will buy the game based simply on title alone. These games are cash cows; you’d think you could get away with some creativity. But we don’t play COD for creativity. Haven’t you see the ads? The draw centers around chaos and destruction. You want a story? Try “The Last of Us.”

Three conflicted stars out of five.

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One response to “Final Verdict: ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’ a paint-by-number exercise

  1. Pingback: ‘Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’ (2014) review: Suit up! | Silver Screening Reviews·

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