'Call of Duty: Ghosts' Haunts The Battlefield

November 8, 2013

It's everyone's favorite time of year again; time to do your duty. Call of Duty: Ghosts is this year's entry into one of the biggest franchises in all of video games. This release is also the series' first foray into the next generation of video game consoles, and the crowning achievement for a series that has transformed the way people think about and play first-person shooters over the course of this console generation. Call of Duty 2 was a launch title for the Xbox 360, and it helped set the bar high, and then Activision and the teams at Infinity Ward and Treyarch, raised it again with each successive release. It only seems apropos that Call of Duty: Ghosts is one of the last releases of a lame duck generation, and one of the first on the new, and improved Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The culmination of ten years worth of working on the franchise, Call of Duty: Ghosts is everything you'd expect from the series, and then some.

Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision

While Infinity Ward has gone through some ups and downs in recent years, they are the reason you even know what "Call of Duty" is. They're the team that worked on the first two, groundbreaking games set in World War II, and then completely changed the face of gaming with Modern Warfare. While other well-known teams, like Treyarch (who actually worked on the Wii U version of Ghosts), have been entrusted with the franchise, Infinity Ward are the ones that truly define what a "Call of Duty" game is, and they are the ones at the heart of the franchise.

It's an epic battle of the north versus the south in Call of Duty: Ghosts, as the oil producing nations of South America have banded together, and try to invade the United States. In the wake of the nuclear decimation of the Middle East, a force of power rose in South America, and the Federation has swept through Latin America and the Caribbean, and are now sitting at the footstep of the United States. The invasion is tipped off when the Federation attack a space station that houses an extraterrestrial defense system, ODIN, and uses it to destroy a series of U.S. cities on the west coast. Players take control of a young Logan Walker as he, his brother, and his father barely escape the destruction of San Diego.

Jump to 2023, where Logan and his family are key fixtures in the fight to hold the Federation at bay. After a series of tests, the brothers are asked to join a group of elite soldiers, the Ghosts, where the commanding officer is their father. On the team the boys are able to put their superior skills to good use, going behind enemy lines, chasing down high value target. Their missions take them to some of the most dangerous places in their world, as they hunt down the men behind the Federation, one of which is one of their own.

Outside of the single player, Call of Duty: Ghosts includes the robust multiplayer experience that has become a hallmark of the series. Take your skills online, and prove you have what it takes in the tried and true modes, like Deathmatch and Domination; or try something new like the Extinction mode, which pits you against aliens (yes, aliens). As always, the better that you perform, the more stuff you'll unlock, and the more upgrades are available to your characters. You can then take the soldiers that you’ve unlocked into the new Squads mode that lets you play with your own team, or with others.

This year, Call of Duty is everywhere… even in your pocket. Ghosts lands on every major console on the market, and is there at launch for the two that aren't out yet. PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PC owners can grab their copies of Infinity Ward's latest epic right now. However, if you're planning on picking up a PlayStation 4 or an Xbox One over the course of the next few weeks, you might want to wait a beat and grab CoD as one of your first games.

Should you want to get your Ghosts fix on the go, you can grab the new app for either iOS or Android devices. While it isn't a substitute for a full 3DS or Vita release, the app allows you to always be on top of your game, includes second screen functionality, and a Clan Wars metagame.

You come for the campaign, but you stay for the multiplayer. Yet again, Activision has released another well-rounded gaming experience in Call of Duty. The single-player campaign manages to take you on an entirely new ride, sending you to places you'd never expect, to do things you've never done before in a video game. While it's a reliable fact that there will be another Call of Duty game every year, Ghosts manages to prove that each entry holds something now, and is not just a rehash of its predecessors.

And then, there's the multiplayer. The gameplay that has revolutionized an industry has returned to sink its hooks into this year's gamers. While the assorted updates to multiplayer may appear insignificant to the untrained eye, CoD veterans should enjoy one of the biggest overhauls of the series to date. These changes help to stir the pot a bit, making the mode feel fresh again. Either way, the race to your next Prestige is always "just one more match" away.

Whether you're playing on this gen, next gen, or PC, Call of Duty: Ghosts is everything that you hope it will be, and maybe even a little bit more.