Scaling Venezuelan skyscrapers and lofty player expectations in ‘Call of Duty: Ghosts’

scaling venezuelan skyscrapers and lofty player expectations in call of duty ghosts cod somethings burning

Infinity Ward is back. That’s the sales pitch for Call of Duty: Ghosts, at any rate. The Activision sequel machine straddles across two hardware generations in its 2013 appearance, but the time for reinvention is now. There’s a new story, a new cast of characters, a new near-future setting, and a ridiculously smart, armored dog. We still don’t know how doomed that poor pooch is, but IW’s behind closed doors demo offered a look at a canine-free level from the game that wasn’t shown in the recent gameplay reveal.

Story/Concept

High-rise hell. The E3-exclusive look at “Federation Day” opens in downtown Caracas, Venezuela. You are part of a three-man squad tasked with breaking into a nearby high-rise for reasons that remain unclear. Rope launchers fired off from a neighboring rooftop create a zipline bridge to the target building. The squad crosses the gap silently, detaching from the launchers midway across to create rappel ropes on the other side. They slowly scale their way downward, scoring quiet individual and group kills through various windows as they pick apart the armed patrols on each floor.

Once inside, the trio makes its way to a server room where there’s a terminal holding what we can only assume is valuable secret data. The game fast-forwards ahead at this point in one of those “In the interest of time” sequences to a building in chaos. Something’s happened. The skyscraper is toppling over and our three soldiers are still on one of its upper floors. A few firefights break out as they make their way through the crumbling tower, though it quickly comes to an end when the screen cuts to black at a climactic moment.

Gameplay

It’s Call of Duty. It’s hard to say how different the controls might be in Ghosts, what with the E3 demo being an entirely hands-off affair. A longtime fan of the series can immediately pick up on a familiar sense of pacing to the action. Finer control tweaks – if there are any – may not pop out, but it seems that this plays just like any other Call of Duty game that we’ve seen in reent years, particular the Infinity Ward offerings. 

Presentation

Pretty lights. It’s not clear exactly when development started on Call of Duty: Ghosts and when the newer hardware became a focus, but the fact that it’s a cross-gen title shows. The small details like light scattering and textures really pop in the Xbox One build powering the E3 demo, but the visual execution scream more “Call of Duty” than “dazzling next-gen.” It’s clear that this is still relatively rough code, particularly in earlier portions of the demo featuring Riley the dog. Character movements in general need to be polished up and Riley specifically looks awfully robotic.

COD-Ghosts-no-mans-land

Again though: early days. Plenty more to come here. This will almost certainly be the best-looking Call of Duty game to date, and you can get a sense of that even now with the unpolished demo. Expect plenty of improvements in the months to come as the game re-surfaces at subsequent trade shows.

Takeaway

The campaign portion of Call of Duty: Ghosts seems to deliver exactly what fans of the series would want. The sense of blockbuster spectacle dials straight up past 11 and the next-gen visual wizardry only enhances the immersiveness of what you’re seeing. With many months between now and the November 2013 release, and multiplayer elements still nothing more than a promised (and 100 percent expected) forward step, you can count on hearing much more about this game very soon.

Gaming

The best free-to-play games you can play right now

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Gaming

Out of the loop on BioWare's new game, 'Anthem'? Here's everything we know

BioWare announced an upcoming action role-playing game called 'Anthem' at EA Play 2017. Here's everything we know about the game so far, including gameplay, DLC, and when you'll be able to play it.
Deals

The best cheap-but-awesome PS4 game deals under $20

The PlayStation 4 has hit its stride in recent years and is now more affordable than ever. If you have a PS4 or are thinking of buying one, we’ve collected some must-have games. The best part? Each of these is just $20 or less.
Deals

The best Nintendo Switch deals and bundles for November 2018

Looking to score Nintendo's latest hybrid console? We've smoked out the best Nintendo Switch deals right here, including discounts on stand-alone consoles as well as bundles that feature games like Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Gaming

Got an NES Classic? Here’s how to hack it to play more than 700 games

The NES Classic is terrific for what it is, but Nintendo's discontinued device remains limited in what it can play. Here's how to hack your miniature console and render it compatible with more than 700 games.
Gaming

‘Fallout 76’ day one patch is 52 GB, bigger than the 45 GB game

Fallout 76 is a 45 GB download, but its day one patch is even bigger at a hefty 52 GB. The contents of the patch remain unknown, but it will likely incorporate feedback from the game's beta testers.
Gaming

Fired Treyarch tester spills ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies’ secrets

A former Treyarch employee revealed numerous Call of Duty: Blacks Ops 4 Zombies secrets. Among the unraveled mysteries were the Viking Boat puzzle in IX and the purpose of the Engine Room valves in Voyage of Despair.
Mobile

Get your gaming on the go with this list of the 25 best Android games

The Google Play Store is loaded with both terrific and terrible gaming titles. We vetted the store to bring you some of the best Android games available, whether you're into puzzles, shooters, racing games, or something else.
Gaming

Sony could be working on a screen-equipped PlayStation controller

A patent recently granted to Sony seems to point to the company creating a controller with a touchscreen. The patent was filed in 2017 and granted in October 2018, which could mean it is planned for the next PlayStation.
Gaming

Xbox gaming chief has sights set on improving Microsoft Store experience

Xbox chief Phil Spencer acknowledged that the Microsoft Store still has a ways to go to become a solid platform for PC gamers. Microsoft promised to work toward improving the frequently buggy experience with gamers in mind.
Gaming

The plug-and-play PC Classic joins the retro console bandwagon

Gaming company Unit-e is creating the PC Classic, a plug-and-play retro console that will come bundled with around 30 of the best DOS games. The system will support gamepads and keyboard setups.
Gaming

Everyone’s favorite Pokémon turns gumshoe in ‘Detective Pikachu’ trailer

The first Detective Pikachu trailer has arrived, and it looks like a video game movie could actually be good? Voiced by Ryan Reynolds, Pikachu is undeniably cute in what is shaping up to be a family-friendly buddy comedy.
Gaming

Here are the best Black Friday deals you can get for Xbox One, PS4, and Switch

If you're in the market for a new video game console, there's no better time to pick one up than Black Friday. These are the best video game console deals for Black Friday 2018, including PS4, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch.