I can suspend disbelief for only so long. I can deal with astronauts shooting each other in space or South American forces single-handedly invading the U.S. and conquering all of Central and South America. What I have a problem with is how ludicrous Call of Duty Ghosts’ story was as a whole.
You play as Logan Walker; the story starts off with Elias and Hesh, your dad and brother, sitting in the woods together telling stories. One mission later, you’re told all of South America invades the U.S., and you’re patrolling the wall on the frontlines with your brother while your dad commands all American forces on the West Coast. This is all very sudden; there’s no build up. During the development of Call of Duty Ghosts, the developers had mentioned their efforts to have a more emotional story, but I can’t see how I’m supposed to get attached to these characters when they instantly turn into killing machines. More importantly, how did all of this happen? The Federation was formed under the leadership of an anti-american General by uniting all of South America.
The general then starts to take over the countries north of them until he finally reaches Mexico and suddenly, attacks the United States. War breaks out and both nations fight to a stalemate. Ten years after the attack, you and your brother are still fighting. Call of Duty Ghosts does very little to explain what’s happening in the story and when it does, it comes up with a flimsy reason as to why things are the way they are. How did the entire Federation military agree to attack the U.S.? They weren’t trying to get land or resources; they just had a leader who really hated Americans. The background story may have some weak points but Rorke, the main villain, is full of them. His motive is just awfully stupid; he’s basically out to kill everyone because your dad couldn’t save him during a mission. Not only that but he’ll do some really unnecessary over the top things like demolishing a skyscraper while you’re in it just to kill you.
After fighting for ten years, you and Hesh are equipped well enough to take out a bunch of patrols and helicopters. Now, I understand that this is a Call of Duty game, but I expected it to have a specific tone, more akin to Homefront. I thought I would see civilians fighting alongside soldiers in their own backyards. Not only that but, everyone is very well equipped for a force that is supposed to be crippled; they’re all wearing full uniforms with scopes on their guns. A lot of these soldiers use PMags (which are very expensive compared to metal ones) and multiple attachments like EOTech holographic and Trijicon ACOG sights. Everyone looks unscathed; they generally have no dirt on them or otherwise look battle-hardened. There’s so many things that are just not plausible. There’s some really cool levels where you’re in space and you fight as an astronaut. In reality, you’d die from firing weapons in space, but it was a lot of fun since there was no definite floor or ceiling. There was also a mission where you had to infiltrate a skyscraper which was pretty cool. The previous entries’ stories weren’t either, but at least they made sense in the context of their themes and settings.
Speaking of previous entries, I was surprised by the lack of features like pre-level customization, story branching, and player voices in Call of Duty Ghosts’ campaign . Pre-level customization was a great feature and should have stayed. I liked being able to choose my weapon as it made me more in control of what happened in the game. If I was doing a stealth mission, I would have to remember to bring at least one suppressed weapon. If Call of Duty had it their way, all my weapons in every mission would be suppressed. As a member of America’s elite you would think that you could make your own decisions and choose the outcome of your fights, but unfortunately that’s not possible. Everything around you has been set up, waiting for the player to enter so he may experience the story in the way it was designed.
There’s nothing wrong with a linear storyline, but when the story itself is horrible, the entire game falls apart. Maybe if they gave the player more character and a voice, the story might be a little more bearable. The lack of the player’s character voice was odd as one of the main characters is your brother and most of the time, he’s just giving you orders. There’s rarely any meaningful dialogue between the two of them and when there is, Hesh tells you what he thinks and you just have to go along with it. I also found it hard to like Riley, the dog that was visible throughout Call of Duty Ghosts’ advertising campaign. He only played a part at the beginning of the story, a small part at that. The only one thing I can really applaud is the contextual lean system. It’s convenient for people who play with controllers and it promotes more cautious movement. It works by going near a corner and then hitting aim down sights to activate it. It’s useful, but I often find myself tapping keys to get it to work; it needs to be more fluid. I prefer Q and E.
This entry into the franchise is geared more towards the console crowd. Without an FOV slider, dedicated lean buttons, and the constant stuttering, this game is not very PC-friendly. The stuttering is a mystery to me; it could be a byproduct from porting the game from console to PC, because it’s definitely not because the game is graphically intensive. There hasn’t been much of an advance since the last Call of Duty. I haven’t noticed a huge difference in terms of graphical fidelity, so the tradeoff for the high system requirements is not justifiable. Generally, Call of Duty Ghosts consumes around 2.2 GB of RAM which may not seem like a lot, but combine that with everything running in the background and the total is 5.0 GB. So there is some merit to the system requirements; however, there are games like Battlefield 3 which only consumes around 1.1 GB and I would also argue that it looks a lot nicer than Call of Duty Ghosts. There is a difference though, even if its not huge. I did notice that the light scattering effects were nicer than they were in the past and some of the textures are better; other than that, nothing is particularly different.
Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?
Call of Duty Ghosts’ singleplayer is pretty bad. It’s full of laughable scenarios and has characters that are so poorly written, it made me take breaks in its short, five hour campaign. A lot of what happened in the game was just really unnecessary and silly. The lack of features like custom loadouts and a decision-based storyline shows regression rather than progression. If you’re considering Call of Duty Ghosts for the single player, it’s not worth the $59.99 price tag.