The Average Gamer

Call of Duty: Ghosts Review (PS4)

Call of Duty Ghosts - Space
Dugan is a lifelong gamer and yet somehow, has never played a Call of Duty game. What with the new generation and all, we sat him down in front of a PS4 and made him try out Ghosts. This is what he thought.

The last time I played Call of Duty was.. er.. oh actually never. I have played a fair bit of Battlefield 2 Bad Company before though, so was looking forward how this latest edition of COD would play out by comparison.

Things didn’t start off too well – once the game installed to PS4 I loaded it up. It then seemed to install a patch as the game was running, but as I made my way through the single player campaign it kept warning me it couldn’t save the game.

The next day I wanted to continue from where I left off, but hey presto I got a warning that the save data was corrupted and needed deleting. Maybe my situation was a one-off? If you get the save error too I would advise quickly exiting the game and restarting to see if it resolves the issue before you waste too much time.

On the main menu you have a single player campaign, multiplayer (which includes a number of game modes), Squads and Extinction (which is unlocked by playing the single player or reaching level 5 in a multiplayer mode).

The Single Player Campaign

The intro and cut scenes are all a bit dreary with cheesy dialogue you will have heard many times before from any number of war and action films. The visual style of the video – making people look made of milk – was strange, but as video games artist myself I can see why they went for stylistic approach as it would be a much easier method to make it look slick and tell the story than if they had taken a realistic approach.

The campaign is made up of many short sections of gameplay which can be quite varied but often feel lacking in depth. They often look very pretty but behind it all is a pretty much linear game where you don’t need to think very hard and just need to worry about moving/shooting/aiming.

Call of Duty Ghosts - SniperA very early outer space section stood out as quite fun however, which reminded me of the finale to James Bond’s film Moonraker when the action kicks off.

Sadly the majority of the other levels are fairly run of the mill gruffly voiced military stuff, revolving around two brothers and their father (who sounds a lot like Stephen Lang the grumpy Colonel from Avatar) [That’s probably because he is Stephen Lang the grumpy Colonel from Avatar – Ed.]. Come to think of it I can only remember one distinct female character, and she was in the early space bit.

A new addition to COD has been a dog of course (probably a male dog). In some levels the dog helps you out, in others you can control the dog to do some stealthy stuff in the grass – but overall there didn’t seem to be much doggy action considering it’s meant to be a key USP. In later levels he could be used to target enemies and sent to rush off to bite them to death, but really you could progress fine by just concentrating on your shooting instead.

Xbox One Call of Duty Ghosts DogI started off on the default difficulty level which was really dull. The game felt like some awful interactive movie experience where you tagged along for the ride as your squad members did all the hard work.

Switching up to HARDENED (the one below hardest difficulty) was far better, making the game a challenge but not overly so. Now I had to clear enemies for the squad to progress, and enemies seemed much better at targeting me. As a result, now when I finished a section I felt like I had deserved it.

In summary the single player felt repetitive (shoot this, shoot that), with a yawnsome plot and some scenes which seem lazily lifted from movies for clear reason. It did have some fun sections to it but they always felt too brief such as the doggy stealth ones.

Multiplayer Modes

The multiplayer, however, was far more interesting.

Call of Duty Ghosts - HelipadThere are 12 match types ranging from the more familiar team deathmatch (which I tested out) and free-for-all, as well as more bespoke ones like Infected/Hunted and Ground War. The environments all looked very pretty, and after learning the map layout I could get into things pretty easily.

This was way more fun than the single player campaign part of the game, playing with real people it felt much more tactical and interesting. I should also note the PS4 controller handled really well, I usually much prefer mouse/keyboard when playing fps games, but for the first time found myself getting on with a joypad fine.

Lastly I tried Extinction mode but playing solo, where you need to destroy alien hives whilst being attacked. You place a drill by a hive, defend the drill, earn cash for kills and then spend that cash on items and try to level up your stats. It was hard but quite fun, I am sure it would be even better with other people playing coop as you really need someone to be covering your back.