PlayBack: Call of Duty: Ghosts

With the Modern Warfare saga seemingly tied up and Treyarch powering ahead with its Black Ops offshoot, Call of Duty: Ghosts will always be remembered as somewhat of an outlier. Although it marked the return of developer Infinity Ward, the series’ tenth mainline instalment arrived at a time of transition. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One had both just launched and, more importantly, we had started to see changes in the first person shooter genre with games like Destiny and Titanfall building towards release.

With Advanced Warfare having just touched down to a wave of critical acclaim, it’s hard to imagine the series going back on some of Sledgehammer’s latest innovations. Going back to play Ghosts, then, was definitely a strange albeit familiar experience.

Best Bit



What Ghosts does best is set-pieces – just like any other Call of Duty then, really. From the opening chapter’s earthquake and space sections to deep sea encounters and a frantic train battle, each level felt like its own contained blockbuster.

Though Ghosts still featured plenty of your typical shooting gallery segments, the more inventive portions of the game did well to balance the overall package, or at least provide some sort of distraction. Both the space and underwater levels stand-out, swapping out your regular on-foot controls to accommodate your character’s changing elevation. Even when the action started to lull, Ghosts still had some tricks up its sleeve, cutting away to rappelling sections as well as tank and helicopter gameplay.

Some may have lamented the absence of Spec Ops from last year’s instalment, though an equal number no doubt warmed towards Ghosts’ Extinction mode. Doing away with zombies and intense shootout challenges, this latest addition presented an aggressive form of survival gameplay with players seeking out and destroying alien hives. It’s appeal waned somewhat after a few runs but it still felt fresh and, more importantly, added something new to the series.

Worst Bit


The worst thing about Ghosts is just how unremarkable it was as a whole. Though Infinity Ward certainly brought some interesting ideas to the table, the reformed studio’s latest instalment failed to boost sales in the way Activision had hoped. If not outright forgotten, it will always be remembered as “the one that came just before Advanced Warfare”. That, or “the one with the dog in it”.

One particularly underwhelming part of the game was its storyline. Poised on the struggles of two brothers and their father in the midst of this was, it was a confusing, tangled affair with no real sense of closure once the credits started to roll. In fact, Ghosts is the only game in the Call of Duty series in which I couldn’t work out what was happening or why. This was despite turning off all other distractions and focusing purely on the inter-missions briefings as well as character conversations. I knew there was a villain who had a bone to pick with one of the lead characters but that was it. Infinity Ward’s insistence on using the image of iconic Modern Warfare character, Ghost, didn’t help either and no doubt threw a number of CoD with little more sense.

With Advanced Warfare having launched, it’s hard to recommend that fans go back and play Ghosts. It may have some genuinely cool moments and an interesting online co-op but neither of these make up for how uninspired the end product is as a whole. In fact, the only reason we haven’t mentioned Ghosts’ multiplayer is simply because it was a straight-up rehash with nothing in the way of meaningful improvement, even if it did still live up to the series’ name. In short, though far from terrible, you shouldn’t feel bad for forgetting Ghosts and moving on to Sledgehammer’s more futuristic debut.



  1. The story was horrid, the characters were totally forgettable and uncharismatic. Luckily Extinction was a blast – probably the best bit for me.

    • Agreed. Picked this up on the PC (in a sale) and was left utterly underwhelmed and (now) almost unable to recall any of it.

      I only ever play the single player campaigns and am happy to say that the original Modern Warfare campaign was stunning. Six hours of high-octane tomfoolery of the highest order. I avoided MW2 as so many people thought the single player campaign in that was terrible. MW3, however, was very enjoyable. Ghosts doesn’t hold a candle to either of those.

      Oh, no. Wait! I was thinking of Black Ops. That was a terrible single player campaign. I haven’t tried Ghosts and, in light of the above, probably won’t. Cheers for the heads-up! :-)

      • It’s alright, Mike. Calm down and the nurse will be along to take you back to the home.

      • Old-style with the temperature taking, please. *assumes position*

  2. It wasn’t that far from terrible.. Probably the worst CoD I’ve played.

  3. Well I remember finishing it, so, in my book, it must’nt have been that bad :).

  4. Ah now I really didn’t think the story was that bad and enjoyed it for the most part. They clearly left if wide open for a sequel too, with that ending… I must be in the minority of those looking forward to a follow up to see what happens next. Extinction was good the first few times but soon became frustrating. Maybe it was the trophies that tarnished it for me. Whilst it’s a damn sight better than Exo Survival in the new game, it’s not a patch on Spec Ops.

  5. The only CoD I’ve never played (well, this and the new one). Had never been much of a multiplayer, but had still somewhat enjoyed the single player bits in CoD games. However I wasn’t hugely keen on the shift from WWII settings, so these near future games have totally turned me off the series.

  6. I’m only about half way through the single player and to me it’s ok so far, nothing special but certainly way better than blops2 story! I’ve (re)done every COD on veteran but passed on blops2, nothing on earth could entice me to replay that awful story… but the multiplayer was great fun – most hours I’ve invested in any game I think.

    Ghosts multiplayer is merely ok by comparison, typical COD fare. But extinction really saved the title for me – been pretty addicted to that. I even picked up the season pass for the extra extinction levels and as yet haven’t played a single one of the multiplayer maps from it. Each to their own though, never really got why everyone seems to love zombies so much…

  7. World at war was my favorite

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