Jake Pelenis // Arts Contributor
Call of Duty is back (of course) with its latest edition, “Call of Duty: Ghosts.” At first blush the game seems like the tired old formula being trotted out once more to line Activision’s pockets with another windfall of cash, but I’m happy to report that “Ghosts” gets many things right that the last few titles have not. It’s not a revolutionary step forward for the series and it probably sits somewhere in the middle on the list of best “Call of Duty” games, but it was a real joy to play.
To no one’s surprise, the campaign of “Ghosts” is nothing spectacular. The plot centers around the protagonist Logan, his brother Hesh, their father Elias, and their dog Riley. They are a part of a special forces group known as the Ghosts. Their main objective is to drive the invading forces of a South American federation out of a war torn United States.
The campaign seems to have been put together by a 12 year-old child with ADD on a pixie stick bender; the story jumps all over the place and the variety of gameplay that takes place is impressive.
The first mission puts you in a fire fight that breaks out in space as the federation attempts to take control of a satellite super weapon. It’s an exuberant and ridiculous way to start a video game, and I couldn’t help but smile. To its benefit, the campaign seemed much more in line with a James Bond video game rather than a realistic war shooter.
“Call of Duty” has been struggling with trying to remain grounded in reality as its premises are often times absurd and impossible to follow. “Ghosts” breaks from the real world and leaps straight over the top, via dumb action sequences that are a refreshing change of pace for the damagingly straight-faced series.
The steak and potatoes of “Call of Duty” has always been the multiplayer component, a theme that carries into this edition. The map (gameplay venue) selection is a mixed bag, some of which are forgettable, others became instant favorites. Stonehaven is a great map that takes place in the ruins of a castle in the Scottish Highlands, playing it reminds of Braveheart with assault rifles.
There has been a major overhaul of the class creation interface and it is actually kind of terrible. “Black Ops II” perfected class creation with the ‘pick 10’ system, which has now been torn down as an over complicated mess of menus that took me quite a bit of time to comb through and understand.
“Ghosts” is a very solid game. It helped me realize why annualizing “Call of Duty” makes perfect sense. The game is closer to a sports title (like a “Madden” or “FIFA”) in that changing the core gameplay would be disastrous.
So long as Infinity Ward and Treyarch can continue iterating successfully on “Call of Duty’s” core competencies, this series should just be given its own holiday in November where everyone can take off work and swear at each other over their headsets.