on November 6, 2013
==UPDATE, January 23rd, 2014==
I added one additional star to the game (so from 2 to 3) because the game developers are very flexible with the multiplayer playlists. Many reviews were complaining about the low health, so they implemented (albeit maybe temporarily) a "Heavy Duty" playlist where players have more HP. I'm at around 3rd prestige as of now; I haven't really been playing this game too much to be honest.
One other thing that I like is Clan wars. It's very fun to participate if you have a group of guys you can handle playing with for extended amounts of time. Clan wars essentially pits your clan against seven other similarly skilled ones in a fight to control key locations on a virtual map. Holding positions gives you bonuses like extra XP and the ability to win character gear. You can check the status of your conquest on the revised Call of Duty AP. They're really trying to get more interaction with your friends here, so if you don't have any, go get some. The underlying problem with clan wars though is that the team that wins is not necessarily the better team, but rather the team that was willing to waste more time playing the game.
I love Call of Duty; I've max-prestiged myself on every installment possible and usually obtain a Kill/Death Ratio of 2.5-4.0 (I know nobody cares but I'm just setting the scene for my subsequent critiques). I typically use assault rifles, I tend not to camp, I like objective game modes and I love being a team player. To be honest, I'm having buyer's remorse and I wish I did not purchase this game. I had a feeling Ghosts would be a dud the second they introduced all the gameplay surrounding the new Call of Duty dog.
Here are my thoughts:
PROS (Both campaign and multiplayer):
(1) The campaign looks stunning (indoor lighting effects, city skylines, etc). The multiplayer maps seem kind of drab. The overall aesthetics of the game remained similar to the past few ones that IW has produced.
(2) The character customization on multiplayer and the squad point system (unlock new weapons, attachments and custom classes) are both a step up. If you're not familiar with this copy of the pick-10 system then a simple google search can fill you in.
(3) Lots of perks to play around with.
(4) The removal of gimmicks: no more overpowered C4, less quick scoping, no more tac insertions (for boosters), no more noobtube/RPG fanatics, and lastly NO MORE DEATH STREAKS!!
(5) I think Search and Rescue is a good addition to the game and a slightly faster paced version of the original.
(6) Let's face it, Call of Duty is usually fun to play with friends and clan mates (especially when you're stomping on noobs).
(1) NO DEDICATED SERVERS. I had faith there would be dedicated servers for current gen consoles and there isn't; they lied to us guys. Ghosts promised us before launch that they would put up servers to manage hosting games so that players are no longer assigned "host", making everybody reliant upon his connection. Like all previous CODs (PvP connections) the host gets a slight advantage and when the host quits/dashboard then your game is pretty much over. There are plenty of youtube video reviews complaining about this, so go look at them if you want more info.
(2) The maps are bad and certain maps are incredibly too large for 6v6 gameplay (as a result, people complain about their thumbs hurting from constantly sprinting too much). This wouldn't be a problem if they included Ground War (9v9) but they didn't. You would think the enormous maps would discourage camping, but that's not the case either, you'll find yourself spending 30-60 seconds trying to find somebody and then dying to a camper only to restart the frustrating process. To top all of that, people already found ways to glitch themselves under certain multiplayer maps, they can kill you from underneath the map and not be able to be killed! Does that sound fun to you? My theory is that they made the original maps so bad that you'd have to purchase the extra DLC maps to salvage any gameplay.
(3) Spawns are HORRIBLE. HORRID. INCREDIBLY BAD. I think this is the biggest turnoff for me. I can be aiming down sights watching an area and I'm able to kill people spawning in right before my eyes; that's not fun. What makes matters worse is when you kill somebody and they seem to find you 5 seconds later because they spawned right behind your location (despite the maps being large enough for them to spawn elsewhere, I don't get that). Oh let's not forget that times I spawn in and die instantaneously (>2 seconds), two or THREE times in a row. This leads to my next problem:
(4) You die too fast. For any other Call of duty if somebody told me they died too quickly I'd brush off their statement and jokingly tell them to go play HALO or battlefield. I know COD has been notorious for quick deaths but this one just seems even quicker than all the previous installments. My friend who usually only plays hardcore told me he switched to core because "it's essentially the same thing". Overall, nobody wants to die instantly (if you do then you play hardcore), people want a chance to fight for their virtual life. The whole element of gun-play is lost. It's not fun to "turn" on people any more and when I actually get an opportunity to do so it was because their aim sucked or they had to reload. Those moments when you managed to escape death and possibly even win the game for your team was the adrenaline pumping gameplay that kept me hooked on COD.
(5) Assault killstreaks are a huge step backwards when compared to the last few games. THEY REMOVED SCORESTREAKS! Let me quote something I found which sums this up really nicely:
"If Infinity Ward wanted to include more incentive for teamwork in Ghosts then it should have built-upon the score-based nature of the Support tree rather than focusing on kills. This is just a personal niggle, but I do feel this is something of a wasted chance. Also, the Scorestreak format from Black Ops 2 was - personally - better than the old model hands-down. It encouraged more than just wanton killing and lone wolf play. It challenged you to claim objectives and support your squad instead of worrying about K/D ratios."
To add onto that, I would dub the assault kill streaks lame and very limited in scope compared to the array found within BO2 and all the other predecessors. Am I the only one that thinks a juggernaut with a knife and super speed is probably one of the stupidest things to be put into a game? They make you die instantly to add realism but then put a super ninja into the game, how backwards is that? Infinity ward could have de-emphasize the constant barrage from the air without leaving us boring killstreaks. What happened to the simple harrier? the airstrikes? the predator missiles (no the one in the game isn't the same, it veers off so much)?.. Ghosts messed with things that didn't need to be changed.
(6) The scoreboard doesn't tell you your ping so it's really annoying when the game lags and you're not sure what your connection currently is. Alternatively, people can't complain about "3-baring" so I guess there's an upside to this.
(7) There are no graded assists. If I put 99% damage into an enemy and a teammate takes my kill then I'm rewarded the equivalent of putting 1% damage. This is so simple to implement however Infinity Ward remains stubborn to this aspect of gameplay.
(8) The squad game mode as well as the knock-off on zombies (they are aliens, watch out) aren't really fun for me.
1) The same old campaign with similar tasks to do as the predecessors: fly this helicopter, man this machine gun, use this sniper, defend this position.. it's boring. Not to mention the slow-mo breeching was overdone in MW3, but it's back in Ghosts, hoooray!
(2) You can't connect with the characters, they're not memorable, and the game tries WAYYY to hard to make the Ghosts look like badasses. They'll pop out of nowhere and slit a guy's throat and then act all macho when they interrogate people or boss you around. I do not envy the ghosts nor do I respect them as a legitimate special ops entourage.
(3) You still have to wait for scripted events or your friendly characters to manipulate objects to move on through the environment. I just don't feel like I'm in control of anything. You honestly spend the entire game following people.
(4) Enemies infinitely spawn during parts of the game which is always a bothers me (especially the fact that I notice it happening).
(5) The dog, I hate the dogs. I promise it's not because I'm not a cat person, but why did they add the dog to the game again? Oh wait, so that they could skimp on actual gameplay elements and distract us with how cute the dog is, that's right.
I usually hold Infinity Ward to a higher standard but overall this game was ultimately a let down. If you save yourself $60 then (according to my opinion) you're not missing out on much, I promise. Go use that money to find something that will bring you true happiness. As for me, I'll constantly do follow up reviews if things get better/worse to update the community!
on November 6, 2013
I was so excited to get this, and was there at the midnight launch eagerly awaiting my copy. Rushed home and popped the game in, and immediately went into Multiplayer, which is all I play. After 3 rounds, I was already disappointed and aggravated, and put it away for the night, thinking my tune would change after some sleep. Not so.
The maps are much too big, more like Battlefield. Which would be fine, if this played like Battlefield. But it doesn't. Maps this large basically promote running around in search of someone, then getting sniped from afar, or killed in one shot because someone else spots you first. I can detect no difference in the damage done by different guns, as everything seems to kill in one or two shots. Not that it really matters, since every other player is a sniper, camping and picking off anyone who wanders into the open or a lower level. So even though death comes very quickly once you're found, (or you're lucky enough to spot someone else first) the gameplay seems slow to me because of the amount of camping and the size of the maps. The only matches I sort of enjoyed were on maps like Free Fall, which are much smaller in size and therefore faster paced. But even then, the ease of killing someone (or being killed) because of the guns being so overpowered still doesn't satisfy. If you're spotted, you're basically dead. Rinse and repeat.
The maps are all in the same gray tone with not much color contrast, which makes it that much easier for campers. Everything blends into everything, and makes it not only frustrating to play, but boring to look at as well. They're all a rehash of everything we've played before, as well. Everything feels like a bigger, darker, more boring version of everything from Black Ops 2.
The character creation, which could have been a fun way to make a unique character, is filled with so many similar and yes, boring (that word comes to mind a lot when describing the different areas of the game) options that it would have been better to just leave it out altogether and focus on improving other areas of the game, especially since the only sort of bad ass looking uniforms (of which I think there are two) have to be unlocked by doing tasks that would take the average casual gamer quite a long time to accomplish.
So to sum it up, after two days of playing every spare minute, thinking I just didn't give it a proper chance, I'm putting it away and popping BO2 back in. This game just isn't much fun to me, and isn't that the point?
on November 9, 2013
For my original review, read below. I have upped my review to 3 stars. There are some real improvements to the game which I want to give them credit for.
1. The in-game mute issue was fixed.
2. DLC maps are smaller and much more fun.
3. New weapons and some adjustments to existing weapons that make the "shooting experience" more interesting.
4. Many more play modes.
5. Better but still problematic lag compensation algorithms.
They are making some real improvements so the game is definitely better than when it first came out. BUT, it's starting to get boring. Not just the game, but the genre. I still think the COD franchise could be reaching it's end point. They need something new and fresh to keep it going. Perhaps Ghost was an attempt for something new and fresh that just didn't quite work. Got to give them credit for trying.
Well, let me add my two cents worth into the COD Ghosts discussion.
I have not played the Campaign. I bought the game and went straight to multiplayer. My review is based on that.
As others have said, the maps are too big. Also, the maps do not seem well designed for choke points, instead they give the player the incentive to stay in one spot and camp the game out. Either by hiding in a corner waiting for another player to come by, or for snipers to wait on top of roofs to snipe someone out in the open. There are so many routes through a map (caves, doors, up hills, etc.) you have a high chance of getting shot in the back.
Speaking of getting shot in the back. It is true the spawning system spawns players behind you. Even though the maps are big, a player you just killed ends up finding you quickly.
One thing that bothers me quite a bit is there seems to be a serious lag issue and I believe they have tried to hide if from the players. When the match begins, you have no idea what each player's latency to the host is. This used to be displayed by green bars. If you had 4 bars and another player 2 bars, there is a good chance that what the two of you see could be off by up to 1/4 of a second resulting in one player being easily killed by another. Here is an example. You are heading down an alley. Another player is heading down the alley towards you. You see him / her and fire. You think you fired first. You unload an entire magazine into the player confident you aimed straight at him / her. Then the other player fires one shot and you die. You watch the kill cam (which is the instant replay) and it shows that you never fired and the other player fired multiple shots at you. Or worse yet, you see yourself shooting 3 feet away from your opponent even though you are sure you fired directly AT him / her. This is a result of latency between you and the opponent. Some call it lag compensation which are a set of algorithms that attempt to make a fair call between two players that have significant latency (long ping between players). There is not perfect way to solve this issue but BO 2 has perfected the solution. The best way is to have dedicated centralized servers to manage lag compensation (like Battlefield) but COD uses a peer to peer model relying on a player's XBOX with a good connection and the best average ping between all players to act as host.
This lag issue is happening to me over and over in the game. Guess what severe lag issues make you do? Yep, camp. If you can't win a head to head fight and realize the game is giving you a disadvantage you have to hunker down and fire at a surprised opponent. This is not fun since camping is boring to most players. With green latency bars, you could at least back out in games like that seeing players that either have bad connections or are too far away from you to have a decent game but they don't show it anymore. Why? They don't want you to know.
What else is wrong? The maps are bland. There is not much color and you can't really see well and distinguish players easily on the map. This allows campers to easily. Hide and shoot you.
I read that some players feel they die too fast. I like hardcore in BO 2 so I don't mind quick kills but I really think the problem is due to latency issues. Watch your kill cams and you will see what I am talking about. You are really not dying that fast. They are unloading several rounds into you in the kill cam although you thought is was a quick one or two shot kill.
The game has this thing called SatCom. It's horrible. It's a kind of a weaker UAV. It really doesn't help much and I find that sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I must be doing something wrong here.
Regarding the muting of players in game. I can not figure out how to do it. Ever started a game and then some fool starts playing their loud music for all to hear? Not good.
So let's talk weapons. Not much excitement here. Some of them have very tinny pop gun sounds. I don't feel as though I am shooting a real weapon. BO 1 and 2 have done a great job of making weapons feel real even thought they are not.
There are many new game variants. Some are fun, some aren't. Squads are interesting but still not sure what the point is really. You use Bots against another players bots. It is more fun than the multiplayer Team Deathwatch, etc.
Extinction is a game like Zombies in BO 1 and 2. I haven't played it yet so won't comment.
Seems to take a long time to earn squad points to buy things. I don't like having to buy things over and over again for different players in your squad. I would like to earn weapons and points once and give it to my Bot squad players.
This game is so bad that I feel that the franchise could be in trouble. I bought Battlefield 4 and quite frankly Ghosts is a bad version of Battlefield 4. It barely resembles any earlier COD or MW or BO game. Some folks say it is the same as the earlier COD games but I think it is starkly different. It seems to have a new game engine, different map designers and a horrible lag compensation and latency management system that makes the game feel unfair. When you shoot someone they should die. This is the simple most important requirement in a shooter. If it doesn't do that well, nothing else matters.
Looking forward to Titanfall coming out next year. COD in my mind is played out.
on November 10, 2013
Simply terrible, that's all I can really muster here. I rented the multiplayer only from Redbox, in anticipation to buying the game through Amazon, but after only two days, and about two hours of playing, I was fed up. I won't repeat what most of the other reviews are saying, so in short, the maps are too big and poorly designed, most of the time you'll be killed from behind, and the killstreaks are the worst of any Call of Duty game. Graphically it's the exact same, and the guns lack any originality. Simply put, I got tired of sprinting around the map and then suddenly getting killed because someone respawned behind me. That's 90% of multiplayer right there. I've loved every Call of Duty before this, but my love went to hate after only about an hour of playing this game.
on November 9, 2013
This game should be called getting shot in the back. Spawns are ridiculous and maps are way too big for 12 players. Awful in 1 word.
on November 22, 2013
If you buy this game expect nothing but crap.
I bought this game hoping to get some great play out of this because I was getting bored with Black ops 2. Come to find out it was not worth even $10. Lets start out with the Pros Which will be a short list.
Great graphics in story line
Lots of side games to play like squads, safeguard, ect.
Classes very customizable in mulitplayer
LOTS OF LAG (and no it is not from my internet) lots of ppl have reported this problem and complained
NO more playercards to customize
A lot of bugs not fixed (like when you invite someone to your clan and they are already in one and join you don't get points because it does not delete the old clan)
Spawn points are so bad enemys will spawn right behind you and kill you.
guns not accurate in shooting
Lots of glitching and once again not internet problems.
Story line is very short and can easily be beat in a day
All in all the reviews speak for themselfs only a hand full of ppl like this game and there is a reason. So save your money. Hell I am thinking about going back to black ops 2 tell this piece of crap blows over.
on November 12, 2013
This game was a huge dissapointment. Huge maps with no action. Best game modes are gone. Campaign is repettitive and as unrealistic as can be. Wish I didn't waste my money
on November 14, 2013
Let's just get down to it:
Camper's paradise, as you immediately perish upon a hostile glance from an enemy.
The campaign consists of being forced to ram the 'x' button every 6 minutes, feel free to set your Xbox on fire in between the 95 cut scenes
I'd literally rather do a 5 square foot puzzle of a boat with my grandma.
The perk system is like bathing in pink chicken goo.
I like the part where you run for 45 minutes to get to the other side of the map.
Good thing they got rid of Ground War, I actually enjoyed that in MW3.
It was good that they made Infected equivalent to slapping yourself with a colostomy bag, cause it seemed like people were enjoying that as well
Seriously you have ONE loadout in Infected regardless of scenario, which is a t shirt cannon with a range of 4 feet
Why am I using "tokens" to purchase "soldiers" for my "squad," I guess that is a thing now
The one good thing about this game is that if you frisbee it into the wall it explodes, however this is good for one use only.
Recommended sell price: 3 dollars
on November 9, 2013
So, it became blatantly obvious to me today that there's already hackers in the game. I had hoped that it would be a little while before they ruined the game, but I'm told they were there from day one. Given that we can't administer privately hosted servers any more and kick/ban the hackers this just ruins the game. This actually doesn't bother me, but that's only because the game is terrible.
There's no denying that the game is visually rich, but even on the "recommended" setting with my fairly recent video card, certain things bring it grinding to a stuttering slideshow and there's areas in both multiplayer and single player where I'm blinded by flaring light for no apparent reason. Unfortunately, the visual richness of the game presents its own problems. It can be difficult to see enemies even when you're looking right at them.
The audio is terrible! Whereas in Black Ops II, I could tell from the sound of footsteps roughly where someone was, in Ghost I can hear footsteps, but can't tell which direction they're coming from....until I get stabbed or shot.
Hardcore mode now gives the player too little health. This sounds great in theory, but in practice it means that luck plays a much larger part of whether you live or die. Two bullets from just about any weapon is enough to kill you, so just about every weapon is "Instakill". It's less about accurate aim and strategy, now being more about getting lucky with the bullet spray and being lucky enough to be facing the right way when you come across an enemy.
Unfortunately, this combination of issues has made the game a "camper's paradise", which just frustrates everyone... except maybe the campers.
Why, oh why are there only three game modes for hardcore? Some of us only choose to play the hardcore game modes. As a consequence, there are many game modes I never really had the chance to play in Black Ops II. I had hoped that the player feedback about the lack of hardcore game modes in Black Ops II would have corrected this in Ghost, but apparently it hasn't.
The Clan system, a much promoted feature, is completely broken. Not only does the website to manage them have a redirect loop error, the iPad app does pretty much nothing to engage my interest. At this point in time, I simply cannot do anything to manage my clan.
Also, why do I see a "Server is full" message? If I'm attempting to join a friend, shouldn't I go into a queue for the next free slot in the game so that I don't have to try and join them 50 times? Someone needs to go back and do Design Theory 101.
There are other highly questionable design decisions, like blurring my vision when I use various sights, punishing me needlessly and how hard is to to program a proximity routine for spawns? Seriously! All of us are getting tired of spawning right in front of enemies.
We, the players and customers, are not alpha testers. If I'm paying to buy a product, I want a finished product. I would not, for example, buy a car with square wheels with the expectation that the manufacturer would fix it later.
If I thought I had any chance of success, I would demand a refund.
Now I'm sure there's going to be plenty of fanatics that will disagree with everything I've said here. Let me state categorically...I don't care. This is my opinion and I have expressed it. Others will say "Learn to Play" or that I'm not good at the game. Well, to those people, I say that I have a history with this franchise going all the way back to the original Call of Duty (yes... I'm 43 years old) and that my career KDR of 1.65 in Black Ops II actually says that I'm well above average.
There's so many other problems with the game, and potential buyers need only look at the Activision forums to see a long litany of patch requests that will never happen.
I'd like to have a rant and say that I'm off to play some other game worthy of my time and money, but I'm still in the stage of denial where I'm trying to tell myself that I don't hate all these things that much and that it'll grow on me... or that these things will get fixed in a patch. The truth is that neither of these things are going to happen, but I'll live in denial for a little while longer if it's all the same to you and pretend that what I spent $135 was not a complete waste of money.
on November 15, 2013
Ugh, I really don't know what they were trying to do with this game. First they've nixed all the game modes I loved playing (Search & Destroy, Capture the Flag, Demolition, Headquarters, and Hardpoint are all gone). The new game modes like crank, blitz, and search and rescue really fall flat, like stupid flat. Why would I wanna play a game where i'm penalized for making kills (you blow up 30 seconds after making a kill in crank if you can't find one of the 99% of people camping to kill before the time runs out)? These modes should have been relegated to the party games menu found on Black Ops II, not in the core games mode.
Killstreaks are pointless. Your UAV is now a sat com which sits on the ground where any enemy can give a quick stab of their knife to disable it easily. Also, unless there are multiple sat coms on the map, its effectiveness is limited. The higher killstreaks, like choppers, also seem relatively ineffective. If I chain 9 kills together, I expect that killstreak to at least get me a few kills, not 1 or nothing at all. Carepackages are gone and replaced by field orders. So now to get a carepackage you need to capture a briefcase on the map and then go hump a guy you just killed. I'm serious. WTF? Carepackages, I feel, were the great equalizer for killstreaks. When I first started playing I was horrible, the chance of getting any of the top killstreaks was nill. So to be able to get a chopper or attack dogs or whatever was kind of a big deal. It gives bad players a chance to experience a part of the game they otherwise would be unable to. Now granted, killstreaks don't really matter in this game, so whatever, but humping guys for carepackages not what I was expecting.
Leveling up doesn't seem to matter. In previous versions you unlocked perks, equipment, killstreaks, etc. as you leveled up. In Ghosts, you get a couple tokens, which you seem to get after every game anyway. WTF? You can unlock different squad members and choose a default loadout for them, but you can't switch between them during games, again making it pointless.
OMG the hit markers. EVERY GAME you need to hit someone it seems 7 times while they only need to hit you once. How can it be standard for me and hardcore for them? This isn't a problem isolated to me as every friend I've talked to has experienced the same thing and you'll find the same issue in many other reviews. Another thing which constantly happens is you'll die and watch your opponent's killcam afterwards only to find you died a second or two earlier on their feed than you did on yours. The amount of times I've ducked behind buildings for cover only to miraculously keel over is insane, and again, you watch their killcam and you never even made it to the building.
Spawning is another thing you'll find mentioned everywhere as something that couldn't be worse. The amount of times I've spawned and been killed within 2 seconds is mind blowing. Spawn, sprint for a literal second, get stabbed in the back, repeat.
There are other things I could harp on, but these come down to stylized differences that are more subjective opinions rather than facts (how horrible the target finder looks, for one). The fact is this is just a really bad game made by a company that had 2 years to put it together since their last release in the franchise. Given these games make a billion dollars in a week or two following release, the effort here is just unacceptable. Black Ops II was a great game, brought down only by the lack of great maps. Ghosts is the exact opposite, solid maps outdone by horrible gameplay.