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Call of Duty: Ghosts (Wii U) Review

Review for Call of Duty: Ghosts on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

This year's Call of Duty campaign is what everyone has come to expect from the series: high octane action across various locales, copious amounts of explosions and plenty of enemies waiting to fall into the players cross-hairs as it has been for the last decade. The story is set 10 years after an orbital rod attack (Kinetic Bombardment) by the Federation on the US that throws the country into an unstable wasteland that's fighting for survival against their invaders. The player takes control of Logan, a member of the titular Ghost squad (and no, it doesn't have any reference to 'that' character in Modern Warfare 2, unfortunately) as they, as per usual for Call of Duty, try to prevent another world threatening crisis and come up against an old turncoat. Read on for thoughts on the game, as well as some feedback on the PC version as well.

There are some bland moments in the campaign, however. Occasionally the lead will take command of the squad's pet pooch, Riley, in recon, stealth and clearing a path for the platoon. These lack any kind of challenge and just involve following an objective marker. Thankfully, these are few and far between and are over relatively quickly unlike some of the vehicular sections that revolve around piloting a chopper, sections that drag on for too long. Saying that though, the tank missions are a little more interesting and engaging. Mission structure hasn't diversified much either, and causes the title to feel a little fatigued (though it has been going for over 10 years now, so it's to be expected). Everything is the typical "go here and gather Intel," "defend this area until all bad guys are despatched," and "Go! Go! Go! Another building is coming down!" That said, the level design is more intuitive this time around and lets the players find their own way through the stage instead of opting for a large 'follow' icon. This helps with the pacing in general and helps prevent the title feeling too on-rails. When all is said and done, the story is a pretty standard affair but doesn't out stay its welcome in length.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Ghosts on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

With the campaign's structure, players get to see a wide variety of locales, the most impressive being the space station complete with anti-gravity fights set against a backdrop of earth. It's all very 'Gravity' and breathtaking and recalls some of the series' more stellar moments, complete with magazines floating away upon reload. Other areas involve sneaking through enemy-infested jungles, taking the plunge and entering combat underwater and infiltrating high tech facilities. All of this is presented beautifully. With the new generation of consoles hitting the shelves it seems Infinity Ward has finally taken the plunge and visually upgraded the title as a whole; weapons seem more lifelike, environments are more detailed (apart from some of the more bland cityscapes, which are still drab) and character models are a little more believable. However, it still has a long way to go catch up to its competitors in terms of graphical fidelity and attention to detail.

Anyone that tries this on PC, for whatever reason, Infinity Ward still refuses to put Field of View (FoV) settings onto its PC ports. It's locked to 65 (same as console counterparts), whereas Treyarch has no issue adding them to its titles (like with Call of Duty: Black Ops II), which makes for a much more comfortable gaming experience. There are still Crossfire and SLI issues, which cause major frame drops and unstable play, too.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Ghosts on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Do not be fooled, though, single-player is not what made a name for Call of Duty in the long run. It's always been the multiplayer that has sent waves through the gaming community and had players coming back for more maps, weapons and kill streaks in its quick and smooth gun-on-gun action. Ghosts provides exactly what the players expect: more of the same. A host of new maps and modes have made it into Ghosts to offer a little bit of variety, as well as a roster of near-future weaponry to decimate the opposition.

Out of the new modes, Cranked is easily the most interesting as it forces players to be a lot more aggressive; each kill earned (starting with the first) starts a timer, and then here is 30 seconds in order to secure the next frag before exploding. Each subsequent kill nets additional perks and powers (considerably faster sprint, reload and aiming, and so on) causing the player to be a one man wrecking machine, an ode to the specialist perk in Black Ops, and gamers have to chain kills in order to stay alive. Hunted is another shake-up to formula; every player is equipped with a limited inventory and has to secure the enemy's base in order to upgrade.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Ghosts on Wii U - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Where Black Ops II refreshed the series, Call of Duty: Ghosts tries to carry that momentum but doesn't do much to innovate. Infinity Ward has scrapped the fantastic 'Pick 10' system that Treyarch introduced that allowed players to create classes to truly tailor to personal play styles. Now, there is only the option to pick different soldiers (after earning points to unlock), each with their own class setups to adjust and tweak - it's one step forward and two steps back. Players can earn extra points in the field of battle by picking up additional objectives (such as getting an additional kill with the secondary weapon or an airborne kill) that must be completed before they die. There are 14 new 'dynamic' maps that each have set pieces that can be destroyed to alter routes through maps, eliminate foes and destroy cover. It's a nice little twist on the standard map formula to prevent matches getting repetitive and learning each map's little niches is fun, but seldom very rewarding, apart from some nice eye-candy.

Unfortunately, the multiplayer is plagued with more issues than the single-player. Whilst not as bad on Wii U, those with the PC version have had to endure three patches before it's been even somewhat playable on a machine that can chew through Crysis (yes, it can run it) for breakfast and still have room for an extra helping of Metro. At launch, the PC requirements were unacceptable at 6GBs (the title barely touches 2GBs in all actuality), a 64bit OS and 50GBs of disk space...Seriously? Patches have dropped the requirement to 4GBs but it doesn't fix the game in any way, leaving the multiplayer dropping frames to the point that it actually hurts to play and damages Call of Duty's reputation for butter-smooth multiplayer. Users are having to remove standard settings (such as AA, textures/maps, Depth of Field) in order to get even some remote playability out Ghosts' multiplayer - and in some places single-player - leaving them playing a 'next-gen' title at potato quality. This is a port, and a very bad port at that. If Treyarch got it so right, how has Infinity Ward got it so wrong? Oh, and Theatre Mode has gone, too, so no more easy recording and sharing greatest moments with the rest of the world.

Screenshot for Call of Duty: Ghosts on Wii U- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Where Black Ops II refreshed the series, Call of Duty: Ghosts tries to carry that momentum but doesn't do much to innovate. Just remember, though, that single-player is not what made a name for Call of Duty. Multiplayer is where it is at.

Graphics

With the new generation of consoles hitting the shelves it seems Infinity Ward has finally taken the plunge and visually upgraded the title as a whole; weapons seem more lifelike, environments are more detailed and character models are a little more believable. However, it still has a long way to go catch up to its competitors in terms of graphical fidelity and attention to detail.

Sound

"Go here and gather Intel," "Defend this area until all bad guys are despatched!" and "Go! Go! Go! Another building is coming down!" What more do you need?

Value

Pick different soldiers (after earning points to unlock), each with their own class setups to adjust and tweak, and work through the intriguing solo player mode. However, most fun will be had in the multiplayer elements (not on PC, though, yet!). Sadly, Theatre Mode has gone, though.

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Average

About this score

Call of Duty: Ghosts is everything that Call of Duty titles have been in the past: fast-paced action and the usual competitive multiplayer with a few twists thrown in. Single-player is interesting to a point, if a little too short this time around, multiplayer will keep players coming back for more, but does little to push the series forwards, and Extinction is a nice little distraction but nowhere near as fleshed out as it could be.

For anyone thinking of getting the PC version, though, knock the score down to 4/10 as in good faith it certainly cannot be recommended until it's fixed. Right now it is plagued with performance issues that would make many consumers' heads ache and even the most average system die a death. At current it feels like only 1/3rd of the game is playable and that isn't good value for money.

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10.01.2014

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Developer

Infinity Ward

Publisher

Activision

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

I can't help but feel this was 80% PC review 20% Wii U review. More focus on the PC specs than how the game holds up on the WiiU.

Got this on PS4 and, surprisingly, I loved the campaign. Apart from the cliffhanger ending that seemed forced and not needed, the story and campaign was fun and varied enough.

Multiplayer is not much different than every other CoD though I hate how big the maps are. With 6 vs 6 matches, it means you spend half the match looking for someone. :/ Too big.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Sounds like Call of Duty franchise fatigue kicking in...I know there were sales records broken on the first day of release, but long-term sales have been lower than the likes of BlOps, from what I've heard.

Ifrit XXII said:
I can't help but feel this was 80% PC review 20% Wii U review. More focus on the PC specs than how the game holds up on the WiiU.

...in all honesty, that's because it was. The console game isn't as flawed in comparison, but it's wise to let people know that what many might think IS the better version, actually really isn't. How often can you say the Nintendo experience is better than the PC counterpart? Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

What I miss is smaller, tighter maps - maybe nostalgia kicking in, but the enclosed spaces in Perfect Dark, Goldeneye, Timesplitters etc were so much better for multiplayer than CoD. You can go 20 minutes in more recent CoD releases and not find a single person (in local). Whatever happened to the background music too?

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

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