Call of Duty Ghosts. © Activision Publishing

As a part of the three-year cycle, Infinity Ward was given the chance to develop a chapter of one of the most popular first-person shooter video games. They came up with Call of Duty Ghosts, a game released for Wii, Xbox, Playstation and Microsoft Windows on November 5, 2013. It was an important milestone for the software developer but also for the fans, who witnessed the birth of the new game mode Extinction.

Key facts about Call of Duty Ghosts

  • Compared to the previous installments, Call of Duty Ghosts is known for its great team focus and robust class system.
  • The storyline was highly controversial, regarded as exceptional by some reviewers, while criticized for the lack of innovation by others.
  • Call of Duty Ghosts added a new layer of complexity to multiplayer games, with larger than average maps that encouraged players to use complex strategy.
  • Compared to previous installments, Call of Duty Ghosts was considered to be overly complex and posed a real challenge even to long-term fans.

The Call of Duty Ghosts games

The Call of Duty Ghosts DLC, as well as the standalone release was driven by a strong campaign, starring Logan Walker. The single player version of the game allows players to switch between several playable characters, for the first time in franchise history.

Multiplayer Call of Duty Ghosts games were the crown jewel of the new release, with the game showcasing new mechanics and innovative features. New kills streaks were introduced and virtually every map had areas that could be destroyed, making it difficult for players to camp. Sniper wielding players celebrated the introduction of the dual render technology allowing them to see outside the scope.

Perhaps the most innovative addition to the first person shooter was the multiplayer mode that goes by the name of Squads. Just as the name suggests, players experience the thrills of being a part of something greater than themselves and the entire team levels up. Those who chose to make a Call of Duty Ghosts preorder benefited from early access to dynamic maps such as Free Fall.

What is Call of Duty Ghosts?

Call of Duty Ghosts stays in complete accord with the guidelines and game mechanics that made the franchise popular but brings something new on the table. Action takes place in an alternate timeline, one where the Middle East is completely destroyed by a nuclear war. In the wake of this devastating conflict, South American powers emerge, propelled by a wave of oil and they eventually grow into superpowers.

Screenshot of Call of Duty Ghosts. © Activision Publishing
Screenshot of Call of Duty Ghosts. © Activision Publishing

The Ghosts are actually US soldiers, highly trained for special operations and dangerous missions, fighting behind enemy lines. The main villain is Gabriel Rorke, a former leader of the team of goals who now works with the evil Federation and attempt to overthrow the United States as the world’s superpower.

If you are interested to find out more about the other games in the Call of Duty series, check out the following reviews:

Gameplay of Call of Duty Ghosts

The obvious way to start the Call of Duty Ghosts campaign is by playing the single player campaign, one that highlights all the changes made to the gameplay. While the narrative revolves closely around Logan Walker, his comrades and family, the missions also help players get familiar with the game mechanics.

In the multiplayer stage, participants put their skill and knowledge to the test in tougher conditions, trying to secure objectives and destroy targets. The addition of new kills streaks modes and the fact that familiar weapons can now be used in different ways, provides diversity that Call of Duty Ghosts players seek.

The squad mode compels players to forsake their personal ambitions and instead work together with their partners to achieve a greater goal. Dozens of new maps were included in the Call of Duty Ghosts starter pack for all consoles and PCs. An interesting addition to the gameplay is that players could choose female soldiers and apply various filters to customize their characters.

In the Call of Duty Ghosts Squads mode, you compete against 9 other customizable characters and these can be controlled by fellow players or the AI. The gameplay was changed to accommodate special game mods, such as Squad vs Squad, Wargame or Safeguard. All of them can be played offline and online and players are supposed to eliminate all opponents, survive for a period of time or secure objectives.

Screenshot of Call of Duty Ghosts. © Activision Publishing
Screenshot of Call of Duty Ghosts. © Activision Publishing

Plot of Call of Duty Ghosts

Of all Call of Duty games, Ghosts is the one taking place in the year closest to the game release, yet the timeline is entirely different. The single player campaign starts in 2017 when Elias Walker tells the story of the Ghosts to his son, while witnessing the utter destruction of major cities in the United States. The perpetrator is the Federation of the Americas, a group of South American countries that take control of the Orbital Defense Initiative’s space station and unleash its deadly weapon.

Action shifts one decade later, when the U.S. and the Federation are at war, but none of the rival powers seem to make any progress. It is then when Ghosts come into play to defeat the Federation forces once and for good while saving the country. Most of the missions take place in North America, with California being an important staging area, but the special operatives also take war to the Federation’s doorsteps.

Players need to rescue stranded soldiers in Caracas, land in the Amazon jungle and destroy a Federation laboratory hidden deep in the Andes. From Rio de Janeiro to Antarctica, the agents face impossible odds, but each time they emerge victorious. During the entire campaign, the player is torn between his personal vendetta and his desire to put an end to the bloody conflict. Those who are hoping for a happy ending might be a bit disappointed, yet the intensity of the story builds gradually until the controversial finale.

Development of Call of Duty Ghosts

Development for Call of Duty Ghosts started in the first quarter of 2013, but even though many expected the team to miss the deadline, it was released by the end of the year. The developers did a brilliant job at making sure that the transition from current consoles to next-generation gadgets was silky smooth. Sony and Microsoft released the 8th generation consoles immediately after the first person shooter hit the stores.

Call of Duty Ghosts uses the same game engine as the previous iteration, but with major upgrades and makes good use of Umbra Software’s rendering tool. This allows the rendering of larger environments, so despite the fact that the game features some of the biggest maps in franchise history, they load quickly and players enjoy an excellent gaming experience. Infinity Ward decided to emphasize frame rate instead of display resolution to make sure that players enjoy 60 frames per second on all platforms.

Where can I download Call of Duty Ghosts?

Call of Duty fans didn’t wait for the release and the software developers made it possible for them to preorder the game months ahead of the official date. It can now be purchased from Activision alongside other games belonging to this franchise and can also be acquired as a part of a pack. Extra content can be downloaded from the website together or separately at discounted rates.

What are others saying about Call of Duty Ghosts?

Call of Duty Ghosts was praised by reviewers for its complex campaign and the fact that it paints a credible picture of an alternate timeline. Character customization and the introduction of new multiplayer games was also much appreciated by reviewers, with Extinction drawing much of the praise.

Screenshot of Call of Duty Ghosts. © Activision Publishing
Screenshot of Call of Duty Ghosts. © Activision Publishing

At the same time, the critics claim that the campaign falls flat when it comes to creating an emotional connection between players and the characters. Others found the narrative to be a clone of previous installments, with the only thing that differs being the timeline. The same ambivalent approach prevented the gameplay from claiming top ratings, with some reviewers arguing that it is more of a layer of paint over the same design.

Call of Duty Ghosts tournaments

Few Call of Duty games generated so much interest when it came to multiplayer, with Ghost introducing nearly a dozen of different multiplayer games. Not all of them were embraced by online tournaments, but the most popular ones are still enjoyed online, three years after the release.

Search and Rescue, Gun Game and Cranked are still played in tournaments, with players being supposed to rescue their peers or annihilate the entire opposing team. The classic gameplay of Free For All, Team Deathmatch and Search and Destroy is preferred for tournaments. Qualifiers run live throughout the year and the most successful teams make it to the grand final where they compete for big money.

My rating of Call of Duty Ghosts

The Call of Duty franchise laid a solid foundation for future installments and Infinity Ward didn’t simply add another layer. They chose to build an intricate campaign and added plenty of multiplayer modes, so it was only natural for some players to be disappointed or frustrated. Call of Duty Ghosts isn’t the best game in the celebrated series, but it is still one of the better titles and fully deserves 8 out of 10 points.

If you are interested to find out more about the other games in the Call of Duty series, check out the following reviews:

Overall Score