Call of Duty: Ghosts, and what it Can do to Stay Fresh-er
(Aka: Story, Story, Story)
I’ve been a skeptic pertaining to the matter of Call of Duty: Ghosts since day one, literally. This hasn’t changed, although I must admit that the little “early-leak” trailer that Infinity Ward showed off was alright, and peaked even my interest in terms of looks and game aesthetics. Despite this fact, I must point out, as it is essentially my civic or community-wide duty to do so, that there is one major thing that this game can do to not only set itself head and shoulders above the past three entries in the series, but to remain fresh, and visibly be a concerted effort to regain the trust of fans disappointed with Black Ops 2 and MW3’s flawed final products. I’m not denying that they were fun, or even good times- just that they certainly lacked some polish, for more reasons that I care to take the time to count. In order to get a bead on where my thoughts are on the Call of Duty series, look no further than my various remarks and comments pertaining to the games, as well as my MW3 Review and Black Ops 2 one, for reference. Well, and there is that one Black Ops: Declassified one, but you can hardly pass that stinking pile off as a true Call of Duty game, so we’ll ignore it for the time being…
Anyway, having stated my opinion in blunt terms, and the fact that I am really hoping something major changes for the better in order to halt this downward spiral, I’ll get a little more to my core point here. Please note, this blog will be pretty short as well, probably only a few paragraphs in total, simply as it is really a statement of intent and suggestion to Activision/Infinity Ward more than anything else- and a suggestion to any other designers willing to listen and learn from it as well. Story has been my biggest issue with, not just the Call of Duty series, but many First Person Shooter games for the past six years or so, more than previous times. Since we live in an age of improved graphical fidelity, and one where breakthroughs are constantly overridden by bigger breakthroughs, we shouldn’t still be skimping on story. We have discs that can hold up to forty thousand times the RAM and ROM space used in classics such as the first Legend of Zelda or Mario. Come on folks, everyone likes a good story! So that is my thesis here, my bone to pick, my mantra: story, story, story. Story is key, even for gameplay juggernauts such as Call of Duty. Even titanic successes need a decent story at least, and its been proven that you can’t get by on names alone anymore- as MW3 and Black Ops 2 go to show, having sold well, but still not as universally as previous series titles such as 4, 5, MW2, and BO1.
My hopes have been slightly elevated due to witnessing the setting of the gameplay and cinematic trailers, not because it looks beautiful and is past due for a graphics checkup- which it was and is, but because it shows narrative promise if penned correctly, as I think Activision knew when they signed on the lead writer of “Traffic”. The decayed urban vibe is a departure from most other settings showcased, and could mean one of many things- ranging from the aftermath of a nuclear explosion (Maybe Ghost could survive and return to the places he used to roam?) such as MW1’s, to a simply decaying shantytown such as the ones in Africa in MW3. It could be many things or nothing at all, but that simple factor alone shows a spark of ingenuity and promise, and I like that a lot. In a series that has disavowed many of us, much as Task Force 141 was disavowed unceremoniously, this could be the title to bring us back…or the one to shun us even more. It’s all up to Infinity Ward at this point, and I hope they can do us proud, even without their original visionaries, West and Zampella, leading them. Those are my two cents, so be sure to let me know yours in the feedback zones appropriately. Thanks again, and until the next time folks.