It's the holiday season, and that means that a large number of gamers are going to be unwrapping the latest installment of the Call of Duty franchise. For 2013, Infinity Ward released Call of Duty: Ghosts, what is described as a "next generation of the series". Multiplayer is the main focus of modern gaming mainly, and Ghosts provides a solid experience, albeit some small quirks. Now lets get into detail on what I think are strong and weak points of this title.
The Good1. Character Customization: Infinity Ward definitely delivered on the customization aspect of Ghosts. Being able to choose from multiple uniforms, helmets, patches, and even genders is a huge leap in the series. Black Ops had this feature to an extent, but the model was completely dependent on your perk choice. The items that you use to customize your character require challenges to unlock, which adds in playtime to get what you want.
2. Weapon Balancing: Compared to previous titles, Ghosts seems well balanced. Most weapons in a category are very similar, only varying in slight differences. There are still some issues that have to be tweaked (more on this in the bad/ugly), but any gun can be used as a viable weapon. When the community speaks, the developers listen. Nerfs for both the MSBS assault rifle and quickscoping have been addressed, which is good. The more balanced the game is, the more likely everybody will enjoy playing it.
3. Character movement: By character movement, I am talking about how how easy it is to access areas and traverse across maps. Both Black Ops and Black Ops II featured the dive to prone feature, but was rarely used due to exposing the player with no active weapon. Ghosts introduces the knee slide. which provides a similar purpose but is much faster to use. Mantling objects has also been improved, as you can actually see your character pulling him/herself over the obstacle unlike previous titles that just made your gun go off screen and you move over the object.
4. Graphics: Some points in here may fall into the character movement, but I can't write this without mentioning how well the weapon models are. Features such as the open bolt on sniper rifles are shown, and they operate and animate very smoothly. Weapons such as the SC-2010 and L115 have great pick-up animations, as the player checks how many bullets are in the mag before firing. From my experience also, maps seem to load cleaner than previous titles, as Black Ops II sometimes took up to ten seconds into a match to fully render everything.
5. Future support: From what was revealed so far, Ghosts looks like it will deliver as far as DLC is concerned. Additional weapons are already confirmed, as that was a major hit on Black Ops II with the Peacekeeper SMG. The base game has a good mix of large and small maps, and future maps will likely follow that role. I know that the term "microtransactions" turns off most gamers, but the previous title pulled it off well, so I would love to see more of it. It isn't like you are paying for an advantage over other players....
The Bad1. Strike Packages: Don't get me wrong, I love the system Infinity Ward introduced with Modern Warfare 3, but that's the issue. The Assault, Support, and Specialist streaks all seem very similar to what was available in Ghosts. New streaks available seem to be inspired by Black Ops II, and others such as the SAT COM require a level of communication that most games don't have. A few exceptions to this though are the Helo Scout pointstreak and the Guard Dog. These work great, but most of what's available makes me feel like I am playing MW3 all over again.
2. Lack of gametypes: Pretty self explanitory, and I'm not going to go into too much detail. Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are limited to 12 player matches, which removes Ground War from being available. Combined with the larger map style, this was a rather large oversight by Infinity Ward. Infected is limited to one class (I heard rumors of new classes appearing, hopefully they are right) and games such as Demolition, Capture the Flag, and Sabotage were removed.
3. Multiplayer scoreboard: Once again, a complete de-improvement (is that even a word?) from the previous titles. The scoreboard, when activated, is much smaller and overlaps where the killfeed is located. You cannot mute players from here, as this feature has been moved to the start menu. Other smaller inconveniences related to this include multiplayer announcer voice lag and not showing what team you are until the round starts, not the game. Small issues, but they seem to add up when you consider what came before Ghosts.
The Ugly1. "Those weapons and attachments": By this, I mean the classes that don't seem good, but play extremely broken when played. For example, most Search and Rescue lobbies are flooded with players who only use the Riot Shield, Danger Close, and C4. This is an extreme annoyance as not only do you have to use stealth perks to stay off the shields radar, but most times even Blast Shield won't save you from the C4. As far as attachments go, some are pure upgrades from others available. Very few weapons benefit from the Flash Suppressor, and sights like the VMR Scope and Thermal Hybrid are pure upgrades from the Red Dot Sight and Holographic Sight respectively.
2. Operations: These things never seem to work right. They are timed challenges that if completed, award you with XP and/or a player customization item. The idea sounds good in theory, but you can only get five at a time. You have to pay a squad point to get new operations, and some may expire on you as you are working on them. From what I can figure out, if you want a specific item for your character that is unlocked through an operation, you are basically rolling the dice for one squad point a try.
After playing the game for a month, I can say that I am satisfied with what it has to offer. The pros outweigh the cons, even though some of the issues can be very cumbersome. If you have Ghosts currently, plan on getting it, or get it as a gift, feel free to leave a comment on what you like and dislike about the game.