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December 15, 2013
Call of Duty: Ghosts - PS4 Review
Release Distributer Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
29/11/2013ActivisionActivisionInfinity Ward12-18
Media HDD Install Resolution Touchpad PS4 Exclusive OFLC Rating

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Next-gen visuals really are superb.
For those of you that read our site will know that we have already reviewed the current-gen (read: PS3) version of Call of Duty: Ghosts. As such, and with such similar games it's fair to say that we've reused a good deal of that review, making suitable revisions where required - mostly pertaining to the visual upgrades, and increase in player count to multiplayer modes. All-in-all though this remains an impressive title, and of course if you have a PlayStation 4 we strongly suggest you get that version. Anyway for those that need details about the game, read on...

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. Of course we've already seen the impressive PS3 version of the game, but it's time to look at what Infinity Ward have managed to develop for the PS4 iteration.

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.

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Ghosts includes some underwater action.
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.

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.

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COD: Ghosts has plenty of frantic action.
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. While current-gen versions (read PS3 and XBox 360) version of COD: Ghosts saw the player count drop from 18-players to only 12-players we are pleased to report that this next-gen version sees Ground War and Infected player counts boosted back up to 18-players. Thank goodness for that as we love the larger scale battles although, to be honest, we are a little disappointed that Infinity Ward didn't push the count up higher towards Battlefield 4's 64-players. Even 24 or 32-players would have provided something exciting and fresh, although we must say at least this game doesn’t come with free bugs and game crashes like DICE's poor effort.

As expected this game provides a hugely customisable experience with the "Create A Soldier" component allowing you to set up to 6 load outs per character with each of these load outs customisable with primary and secondary weapons, Lethal and Tactical devices, Perks and Strike packages. 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.

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, Team Tactical and Ground War under the Standard game modes, with Team Deathmatch, Kill Confirmed, Search and Rescue and Domination 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 pretty much lag-free gameplay from the hours we've spent playing online.

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Riley the dog is playable in some missions!
Of course having a swag of multiplayer modes isn't worth squat without some good maps and Infinity Ward have provided some pretty solid efforts in this game. The 15 maps are titled "Strikezone", "Octane", "Prison Break", "Tremor", "Freight", "Stormfront", "Siege", "Warhawk", "Sovereign", "Overlord", "Flooded", "Strikezone", "Whiteout", "Stonehaven" and "Chasm". While we feel some of these maps are a little on the large side, the increase in player count on the PS4 fills them up a little more and reduces this issue somewhat.

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.

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The PS4 visuals really are stunning.
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.

If you've managed to snag yourself a PlayStation 4 then the big question is, what does this version of COD: Ghosts offer above the PlayStation 3 version? The biggest, and most obvious, answer to that is improved visuals. Unlike the XBox One version of the game which is rendered natively at 720p, and the PS3/XBox 360 version which are even lower, the PlayStation 4 version is the visual tour de force with full 1920 x 1080p resolution during the game (actually make sure you download the patch as the game is initially set to 720p due to a config error). The developers have targeted 60fps at all times, and while it occasionally dips it's hardly noticeable and never impacts on gameplay.

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Check out the gorgeous texture detail.
Besides the bump in resolution the next-generation hardware brings some other niceties to it as well by way of improved lighting, a major bump in the number of particles which isn't just during explosions but even just "ambient" particles such as dust etc, while the texturing within the levels is given a pretty decent boost over the PS3 version as well. Having said that we would have to suggest that just like Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag this game be being held back a little by the need to also function on the older consoles with somewhat limited and linear level design. Don't get us wrong, the PS4 version is the best of all the consoles, but we just hope that next year the older consoles are dropped and developers can unleash the full potential of next-gen consoles.

Moving away from the technical side of things it must be said that level design in this game is very impressive with a range of locations from outer space, to large city building interiors and exteriors, underwater, within forests and so much more. Character animation is superb and the enemies move and react to the ongoing action in a realistic manner.

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.

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COD: Ghosts is highly recommended on PS4.
It's pretty much a no-brainer, if you have next-gen consoles get that version of Call of Duty: Ghosts - it's vastly superior to the PS3/XBox 360. Having said that this is virtually the same game in terms of content and of course Call of Duty has to face up to the competition in Battlefield 4 and Killzone: Shadow Fall - all three games are decent shooters for different reasons - Killzone probably pushes the hardware the most, Battlefield 4 has 64-players in online modes but a pretty cruddy campaign and is bug-ridden, while Call of Duty: Ghosts seems to hit all the targets without excelling in any aspect. As an all-round package you can't really go wrong with this title.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSCertainly a visual improvement over PS3, the game doesn't push the PS4 to it's limits.
SOUNDCOD: Ghosts is a sonically impressive title with warzones that will shake your room.
GAMEPLAYThere's nothing dramatically new to get excited about, but it remains a solid FPS and unlike the gimped PS3 version has 18-player mulitplayer modes.
VALUEA longer campaign then normal, multiplayer, Extinction and Squads makes this pretty good value.
OVERALLIf you have a next-gen console, and love playing FPS's online then this is the game for you. While there isn't that much different content-wise over the PS3 version, the visual enhancements and increased mutliplayer numbers makes this a worthy purchase.

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