It is no surprise that Activision and Infinity Ward are bringing another Call of Duty title to market this year. What is surprising is that Call of Duty: Ghosts is a brand new narrative with brand new characters and that Infinity Ward is using a brand new engine. So, does Call of Duty: Ghosts deliver? Not really.
Infinity Ward showed me three levels from the upcoming game. The first was No Man’s Land, a level being shown on the show floor. The second was Deep Dive, which was shown to the public before E3. The final was called Federation Day, a behind-closed doors exclusive demo. Despite the exotic locations it kept feeling like the same Call of Duty, and it was a bit boring.
No Man’s Land was pretty much shown so that player’s could see what Riley the dog is capable of. The player is able to take full control of Riley by using an in-game tablet. Riley comes with his own moveset including being able to hide in grass, lunge at enemies and rip their throats. Players can also take advantage of his bark to distract guards and allow the player characters to pass.
Deep Dive takes place deep under the ocean. Players get to engage in their first ever underwater fights in a Call of Duty game after teases in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Players will navigate around the sea bottom to reach ship and send a torpedo its way. In the end, the ship’s parts fall on top of the player character and pin him down.
Federation Day takes place in Venezuela with the Ghosts rappelling down a building in order to hack into some servers for some unknown piece of info. Using stealth, the Ghosts make their way down the windows assassinating any enemies that come in their way. For interest in time, the demo skipped ahead to where the Ghosts are trying to escape and are under heavy fire. The building begins falling down with the Ghosts sliding out of the building through the glass.
What I saw should have excited me, but it just didn’t. Call of Duty: Ghosts just feels like any other Call of Duty, and there just wasn’t anything exciting about any of the three demos. Riley felt like a remote drone or bot used in previous games rather than a fresh new gameplay experience. Deep Dive was cool to look at, but the entire level was far too linear to where it felt like it was all on-rails, just like every other water level in previous Call of Duty games. Federation Day also felt completely on-rails and was probably just there to confirm that huge set-piece moments will be returning. Infinity Ward was the studio that redefined the First-Person Shooter genre with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare at the beginning of the current generation, but now going into the next generation it doesn’t feel like the genre is being pushed at all by them.
This also goes for the visuals. Infinity Ward is using a brand new engine, but you honestly wouldn’t be able to notice unless they showed you a video comparing visuals between Ghosts and Modern Warfare 3. The game actually looks current-gen with slightly better visuals than what we’ve been getting from current multi-platform games. Some current-gen games, like The Last of Us and Tomb Raider, actually look better when in motion. This is a huge disappointment especially with the power that the PS4, Xbox One and PC are giving developers.
Infinity Ward and Activision are in for a tough fight at the beginning of the next generation. Both Killzone: Shadow Fall and Battlefield 4 are more visually appealing games with more dynamic gameplay. If what I was shown today is any indication, next generation could have a new top dog in the genre.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is out November 5, 2013 worldwide for PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Wii U. The PS4 and Xbox One versions will launch with the consoles.