Call of Duty: Ghosts - PS3 Review
Another year and yet another Call of Duty game is upon us. Unlike the past couple of years where we saw sequels to the Modern Warfare and Black Ops branded titles, this time we have an all-new title Call of Duty: Ghosts. Despite the name suggesting a link to a character in a previous title Call of Duty: Ghosts introduces us to a whole new group of soldiers, and a completely new storyline. Another point of interest is that this year we have next-gen versions to contend with, but that's in a couple of weeks. For now, here's a look at the PS3 release.
|Call of Duty: Ghosts is out now on PS3, and will be available at PS4 launch.|
It's fair to say that Call of Duty, as with most shooters in fact, doesn't rely on a deep story to get you from one piece of action to the next, but with Ghosts the developers have given us something pretty interesting. Ten years after a devastating mass event, the nation's borders and the balance of global power have been redrawn forever. As what's left of the nation's Special Operations forces, a mysterious group known only as "Ghosts" leads the fight back against a newly emerged, technologically-superior global power.
The first thing we hit when we played this game was the Campaign Mode which offers a rather entertaining storyline which goes a little amiss in the second half, but remains playable nonetheless. With a decent mixture of fast paced action, stealth, and vehicle based shooting there's plenty to enjoy about the campaign in this game. In fact the set-pieces are some of the best we've ever played, and enjoyed in a shooter. We don't want to spoil it but the opening mission/scene will have your jaw hit the floor as the action takes place in space, and then the ramifications are seen in American suburbia.
|Riley the dog accompanies you in some missions.|
One of the big surprises at the games reveal at E3 was that of the companion dog Riley. He's not just an AI character, but also, in certain points of the game controllable with one mission seeing him stealthily moving through the tall grass, taking down enemies and then moving on. Unfortunately he's not in the game nearly as much as one would hope, and even the developers have admitted his popularity took them by surprise leaving them little time to add more missions featuring him. My only gripe, how can a German Shepard perform a stealth takedown without some noise and not alert others standing only meters away. Still, it's something new, and entertaining.
The majority of gamers however will find the multiplayer as the key component in this game, and there's no doubt that Infinity Ward have nailed this yet again although we have to mention our biggest disappointment with multiplayer this year - For current-gen gamers the number of players online has been dropped from 18 for Ground War, to only 12-players. That's a bit of a disappointment given that DICE's Battlefield 4 allows 24-players on PS3, with the next-gen version pushing right up to 64-players in large scale battles. Still, what you get with Call of Duty is a highly detailed online experience with complete character customisation with load outs. As with last year’s title you still have a set number of points you can spend on equipment and perks which means gamers can't go all-out and overpower their soldier.
|Playing multiplayer around the castle.|
Multiplayer modes, which are playable either online, in local play or over LAN include Team Deathmatch, Cranked, Blitz, Search and Rescue, Search and Destroy, Infected, Kill Confirmed, Domination, Hunted, Free-For-All, and Tactical under the Standard game modes, with Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed and Search and Rescue under the Hardcore option and under the Clan Mode there is Clan Team Deathmatch and Clan Objective. Needless to say there are a tonne of modes here which, even if you spend a couple of hours in each will add up to dozens, if not hundreds of hours of gameplay.
Of course having a swag of multiplayer game modes is pretty dull with boring maps, but fortunately the developers have included 15 pretty decent maps including "Strikezone", "Octane", "Prison Break", "Tremor", "Freight", "Stormfront", "Siege", "Warhawk", "Sovereign", "Overlord", "Flooded", "Strikezone", "Whiteout", "Stonehaven" and "Chasm". Our only issue with these maps is that some of them are so large that with only 12-player per map it can seem a little too sparse. Of course this is partially overcome depending on the game mode being played, but it feels like these maps were designed with larger scale battles in mind.
This release isn't just about the campaign and multiplayer modes with two more options available at the main menu. One new mode in COD: Ghosts is Extinction which allows 4-player to work co-operatively online to take out waves of aliens while completing tasks such as destroying hives. This mode, which is pretty much a replacement from previous zombie modes, It's a fantastic game mode with the main disappointment being the lack of maps with only one, "Point of Contact", currently available. We're certain that the developers will bring in some new maps with DLC, but it would have been nice to start with at least a couple of options.
|COD: Ghosts is a great online experience.|
The other new mode in the game is called Squads which allows you to set up a squad to compete against another players squad. Admittedly we haven't spent as much time in this as we wanted to, but it's not for a lack of enjoyment, but rather some technical issues however the time we have spent in this mode which pits six soldiers against another squad of six is very enjoyable and it's a great addition to the franchise that can only expand in future titles.
This far into a console's life we can assume that developers are wringing out every last ounce of power from the system and visually this game is quite stunning. Sure, when you sit it up next to the next-gen titles hitting in a couple of weeks there are differences, but I defy you to find too many better looking games on the PS3 and the title manages to hold a pretty steady 60fps throughout. Level design too impresses with a range of locations from outer space, to large city building interiors and exteriors, forests and so much more.
|Heading underwater for some action.|
Of course if you're going to jump into next-generation gaming in the next couple of weeks you may want to hold off for that version as the PS4 game runs at full 1080p resolution and 60fps while the XBox One version, in a somewhat very controversial announcement, renders at 720p before upscaling to 1080p. It seems the Sony system has the lead in the next-gen wars already. Either game though would provide a boost over the PS3 (or XBox 360) version. Fortunately Activision have you covered here as, for a small fee of $AU9.95 in Australia and similar in other territories, you can download the next-gen version to your console - just be mindful of the 30+GB download size!
Sonically this game is pretty spectacular with an audio experience that will leave your room shaking at times. Dialogue isn't anything to get too excited about script-wise, but it gets the job done. Where COD: Ghosts shines though is with the sounds on the battlefield; from the cracking gunfire, the deafening explosion of a grenade or C4 or the rumble when a level, or part of, is destroyed it's just superb. Naturally this game is only enhanced with a great surround sound system which brings everything to life, but also assists in pinpointing enemy gunfire. We have to say too that we enjoyed the music from composer David Buckley who is new to the franchise (as far as we can tell) but who has worked with composer Harry Gregson- Williams on MGS4's score.
|COD: Ghosts' Extinction mode is fun.|
Having now played both Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts on PS3 we can say it's a pretty line-ball decision as to which provides the better entertainment. At this stage we think EA/DICE's shooter has the edge in terms of multiplayer, slightly, but falls behind with a buggier and less entertaining campaign mode. Of course both games have a lot more to them then that, but as a product on its own Call of Duty: Ghosts is a very slick shooter near the top of the field but one which doesn't stray too far from previous titles. Call of Duty fans should be pretty happy with this release.
Review By: Dave Warner
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|GRAPHICS||As a current-gen game this is a visually stunning, non-stop shooter with some great set-pieces and variety.||90%|
|SOUND||If you find anything to complain about here you're really nitpicking.||94%|
|GAMEPLAY||It's a fast, frantic shooter that offers more then ever, and yet doesn't feel advanced much over previous titles. Multiplayer maps are perhaps too big with limited player numbers. Still, great fun.||84%|
|VALUE||A longer campaign then normal, multiplayer, Extinction and Squads makes this pretty good value overall despite not advancing the series too much.||82%|
|OVERALL||This late in a consoles' life you don't expect developers to make huge strides, and Infinity Ward haven't, but they have created a wonderful all-around package that ticks all the boxes despite becoming a little "samey" as previous titles. It's not a radical jump from previous games, but they were so good it didn't need to be.||85%|