Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Call of Duty: Ghosts - CRANKED

Call of Duty: Ghosts is out and naturally everyone fucking hates it. Down with The Man! Stuff you Kid Popular! And so forth. I haven't had a chance to go online with it yet, waiting to get my mitts on the PS4 version, but I have had a go of someone else's Squads and campaign mode. If nothing else, Infinity Ward's latest bot battle does a fantastic job of recreating online player habits. Shotgun rushers pinball around the map blasting anything that moves, while one AI always posts up in a corner with a light machine gun and waits for traffic. The studio has obviously been running gobshite metrics.

Single player starts dreary with breadcrumb trail missions and an ultra paranoid framing device that ties itself in knots to frame the American player characters as underdogs. Eventually though a nifty country hopper emerges that reminded me of the industry sabotage missions of the World War II era Call of Dutys. The vehicle sections are especially strong, ranging from a helicopter aside that feels like god powered killstreak training, to a turbocharged tank assignment that comes on like a cross between World at War's blood and steel interlude and Sega's Model 2 pip Desert Tank.

Embedded above are a few Day One clips from TheSandyRavage and his hetero life partner fickmoley. Moley leads with a tickbox rundown of multiplayer features that sounds pretty fucking rad. Slight health allowance is fine by me if enemies drop at a similar speed. Asymmetrical maps that promote roaming is music to my ears. Black Ops 2's three route rush to the middle never really went over with me. It revealed the bleak black heart behind the series - a callous meat grinder designed to leave players permanently unsated. Solid connectivity is the big surprise though. After last year's bullshitathon the idea of consistent latency seems faintly wonderful.

It's always difficult to get a bead on Call of Duty multiplayer. Aside from an online feedback loop that delights in regurgitating the same tired phrases that the speaker imagines defines him (or her) as a unique thinker, even fans are a curmudgeonly bunch. There's no consensus on which instalment is best, gamers usually coming down in favour of whichever one they played first. As for me, I want speed, burst-fire death sticks, and streak rewards worth chasing. Although I'm feeling a little burnt out on the series, it sounds like Ghosts has at least the first two covered.

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