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Review: Call of Duty: Ghosts — Modern Borefare

Call of Duty: Ghost embodies every lazy trope of which the franchise has ever been accused.

Fortunate son

Story

In the near future, terrorists working for a Latin American political body called the Federation hijack an orbital missile defense platform called ODIN. They succeed in wiping out almost every major city in the United States.

Years after the initial devastation, a handful of survivors — including protagonist Logan, his brother Hesh and his dog Riley — set out to oust the Federation from former U.S. soil.

The plot is silly on a number of levels, and embraces glib jingoism at almost every turn. In an early level, astronauts fire machine guns in zero-gravity without any discernable recoil. The titular "Ghosts" are soldiers who took down a force more than 25 times their size through sheer American badassery. The plot would be comical were it not presented with such a grim, straight face.

Graphics and art

"Call of Duty: Ghosts" doesn't look bad, but at least on the current-gen consoles, it's not going to make anyone's jaw drop (PC and next-gen gamers may well have a different experience). The overall look of the series has not changed considerably since "Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare" in 2007, and the drab color palette and dull character design are starting to wear thin.

MORE: 10 Most Graphically Stunning Games of All Time

Every once in a while, the levels will show off a stunning set piece, like a church crumbling off a mountainside or a satellite crashing into Earth's atmosphere. Beyond that, though, expect a lot of burned-out buildings, broken-down cars and blasted cityscapes.

Music and sound

The sound design in "Ghosts" is mostly inoffensive. The music intersperses a fair amount of piano in addition to the usual throbbing strings and blaring horns common to military shooters, but there's nothing too memorable in the mix.

The voice acting — including Brandon Routh of "Superman Returns" fame as Hesh — is about as good as it can be, given the cliché-ridden script, but those hoping for bravura performances will have to look elsewhere.

The sound effects on the various guns, grenades and vehicles, though, are excellent, and sound extremely similar to their real-life counterparts.

The bottom line

"Ghosts" is not terrible, but it's essentially the game that "Call of Duty" detractors have always imagined the series to be.

The central gameplay mechanics are functional, if unimaginative. Even glossing over the haphazard single-player campaign, though, the multiplayer seems very content to simply offer more of the same. The game smacks more of stagnation than refinement.

For those gamers who simply cannot live without "Call of Duty" multiplayer and want to start fresh after last year's "Black Ops II," consider "Ghosts" with the feeblest recommendation possible. For everyone else, spend your time and money on a better shooter.

This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision
Price: $59.99
Release Date: 11/5/13 (Xbox 360, PS3, PC) / 11/15/13 (PS4) / 11/22/13 (Xbox One)
Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Xbox One, PS4
PC requirements:
OS
: Windows 7 64-Bit / Windows 8 64-Bit
CPU: Intel® Core™ 2 Duo E8200 2.66 GHZ / AMD Phenom™ X3 8750 2.4 GHZ or better
RAM: 6 GB RAM
HDD: 40 GB HD space
Video: NVIDIA® GeForce™ GTS 450 / ATI® Radeon™ HD 5870 or better
Sound: DirectX® compatible sound card
DirectX®: DirectX® 11

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Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • 100% agree, well written
    Reply
  • fbasseto
    I wonder why nobody did a single comment about the 6Gb RAM requirement so far... Not even one website... Shoudn't it at least be mentioned as part of a compreensive review?
    Reply
  • fbasseto
    I wonder why nobody did a single comment about the 6Gb RAM requirement so far... Not even one website... Shoudn't it at least be mentioned as part of a compreensive review?
    Reply
  • Marshall Honorof
    @fbasseto — I reviewed the 360 version, but the 6 GB RAM requirement is mentioned in the review. Check the second page under "PC Requirements." Cheers!
    Reply
  • fbasseto
    @Marshall - I know, what I meant was all the controversial facts surrounding the 6Gb requirement, and in fact the PC version doesn't even using 2Gb. In Steam Forums, for exemple, there has been a lot of noise because people that bought the game doesn't even get the chance to run it with "only" 4Gb of run, because the developer hardcoded it in the exe file...
    Reply
  • Marshall Honorof
    @fbasseto — Ah, that's interesting. I was playing on a console, so it didn't come across my radar. I'll look into it and see if there's a story there. Thanks for the heads-up!
    Reply
  • u_gonna_squeal_b4_we_cookya
    For the campaign, I was expecting them to steal some elements from MOH: Warfighter specifically the ability to ask a teammate for ammo when you run dry. I was also disappointed in the terrible AI of my teammates. It seems that they enjoy walking in front of my barrel while I am firing. I did like the different environments you are, ones which I have seen so far, such as a space station, underwater and a jungle. The jungle was my favorite mission so far mainly due to the watch that shows where enemies are. But, for some reason, you can't use it for the other missions. Seriously, if I had that device on me and I was a soldier, I would be using it 24-7. It should be a permanent weapon option even if you can only use it with the pistol. Seems like a waste of tech to me.
    Reply
  • beoir
    Maybe they can give the guys at Respawn a call. If the Respawn developers are not too PO'd about big company Acitivision, maybe Respawn will contract out and give COD all of their good ideas back. Oh wait they're putting out Titan Falls...nevermind
    Reply
  • Mottamort
    So they're finally catching up to Unreal Tournament, a 10+ year old multiplayer game, in terms of character customization and gender choice? WOW the innovation of the COD franchise is just MIND BOGGLING....

    /sarcasm
    Reply
  • Mottamort
    So they're finally catching up to Unreal Tournament, a 10+ year old multiplayer game, in terms of character customization and gender choice? WOW the innovation of the COD franchise is just MIND BOGGLING....

    /sarcasm
    Reply