Ever since the Xbox One reveal in May, Call of Duty: Ghosts has been the point of interest and the butt of jokes thanks to the dog. After spending some time seeing the game, what makes it unique, and how the dog works into gameplay, I can safely say, this is another Call of Duty game.
Infinity Ward are taking over duties this year and although they are playing it safe they have put a great deal of work into the engine that powers the game. Beyond that they are trying to top action that has been seen in past installments. For the most part it works, but if you are not a fan of CoD before this point, Ghosts will not change your mind.
The graphics have been improved vastly since CoD: Black Ops 2. The people at Infinity Ward have improved the engine and added many new aspects that they hope will make CoD one of the most stunning games this fall. One thing they were not talking about at the time of E3 was what aspects will make it into the current generation of consoles, and what ones are only for PC and next gen. The new displacement mapping features in CoD will ensure that all terrain will have depth to it. With the demo they showed, it demonstrated how visuals change and gain depth along with clarity when they turn the feature on. The ‘Sub D’ feature will ensure the polygon count at any given time is increased yet frame rate remains smooth. It was demonstrated using the scope of a rifle, and it did indeed increase clarity. These sort of graphics processing techniques have been used in PC games for a while now yet it great to see this sort of tech making its way into more console games.
There were three levels shown to press at E3. The first, No Man’s Land, takes the heroes of Ghosts—two brothers and their dog Riley—to what looks like a bombed out suburban town. The theme of this part of the demo is gadgets. I half expected Q to pop out from behind a tree and introduce the selection before you are given time to use them. The most prominent piece of tech being shown off is the dog cam. This allows the player to control Riley as he attacks groups of enemies with stealth. This section looked good although nothing people have not seen before. The fact you are controlling a dog rather than a drone is a nice touch. It all comes down to killing with a button as your team stands back, so not much new to the genre seen here.
The next map, Federation Day, is the level that really shows off the new engine and what the game has up its sleeve in relation to action and set piece moments. The level starts with the protagonists on the side of a building, slowly scaling with the view of the city present. Players take down a selection of guards as they make their way into the building and to the server room. Visually it looked stunning, and the sections that had the players relying on stealth seemed to work well. With everything so staged it is hard to see how play out with the full game, but in this vertical slice, all worked as intended.
The Federation Day segment climaxes with the building starting to crumble. The feeling of doom as the skyscraper breaks away from under the player works well, and it does demonstrate how to new engine can bring the player into the set piece movements. That being said, it does feel like the needed moment for an E3 demo, showing destruction to entice players, yet it works and feels at home in the franchise.
The final section shown was the underwater level that has been shown in previous demos and trailers. The attention to detail was stunning. Fish moved away from the player as they got close, the bubbles seem to be generated to work with the motion of the player and even the landscape and water look realistic. The gameplay in this section seemed interesting but standard for the series. There are some set piece movements that have the player take down an enemy vessel with an underwater rocket launcher and are then forced to escape the falling wreckage. For the fans of the series it is well made with time being spent to ensure all aspects have a layer of polish fans have come to expect from the series.
The real problem with what was shown of Ghosts is that it all feels well-made but more like a checklist then an original game design. There are some great ideas seen in the demo but it also feels as if most of the choices are there to surpass the spectacle of past games. This will work and will please many plans of the series, but I was hoping for more from Infinity Ward. I have hope the final product will show more originality and give a better insight into how the single player section of the game will play. Stay tuned to CGM for this and more coverage from E3 2013.