COD:Ghosts First Impressions

I got off to a rough start on launch at “midnight release” due to Steam abiding by West Coast time and not unlocking the game until 3:00AM. So having to work in the morning I turned in early and planned to dive right in after getting home from work last night. I come home and fire up Steam and well what do you know; for whatever reason I was now being forced to download the entire 24.4GB of the multiplayer bits again even though all indications previously pointed to the game already being pre-loaded. Almost two and half hours later I could finally launch the game.

Right from the start I always go to settings to max everything out and get all of my key binds set up properly. Multiple things going through initial setup such as no FOV slider – with the game locked at a FOV of 65 that honestly stresses my eyes and gives me a headace, no FPS limiting option like Black Ops 2, a single volume control option with no ability to adjust individual items and all the while with clicking on menu options I keep getting some kind of unresponsive menu off and on that doesn’t always want to seem to accept my mouse clicks. In the realm of key binds everything fits my standard method of re-binding my keys except leaning – as in it isn’t in there. The PC platform once again has the actual lean keys removed and gets the same garbage assisted peak system that has been implemented in the consoles. Good job Infinity Ward – stepping backwards once again.

Settings done on to game modes. Wait where are all the game modes that I love and have played for YEARS in my COD games? Not there. Sure we get some hip snazzy new modes like Cranked, Blitz and the new twist on S&D called Search & Rescue – but all of the intense objective game modes that I love like Capture the Flag, Search & Destroy, Demolition and Headquarters and Hardpoint are gone. Seriously? Who thinks of these things and ends up with that being a good idea? I’m baffled. Okay I get it – you cant have too many playlists because it splits up the population too much but come on. This is a freaking joke stripping out classic game modes that make me love to play this game. I am hoping that the removed game modes are still supported within the game and could potentially still be run if we ever get those “post launch” dedicated servers talked about. To get into my first game I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to play because nothing really stood out that made me want to play it. Tried a few of the new game modes but I just wasn’t getting a good vibe off of anything gameplay wise.

Speaking of gameplay. For me and quite a few other Windows 8.1 users; gameplay is severely crippled right now because of some change from Microsoft with mouse input that rolled out with the Windows 8.1 update. The game is almost unplayable right now until that gets fixed – not really Infinity Ward’s fault here from what I can tell but it really doesn’t help the already sour experience. The constant sketchiness of the mouse input causes all kinds of jitters with movement and even just trying to smoothly look around – let alone ADS and try to shoot something is almost impossible. One minute I will be looking forward and just slightly go to turn and then all of the sudden I will insta-flip 360 degrees and be starring at the ground. I feel like I am using a dam XBOX controller. However; with the gameplay that I could experience in my little bit of time tonight it was just all around sketchy so I guess I can’t honestly comment too much on the raw gameplay quite yet. I will note the lack of (once again another step backwards for Infinity Ward) ping display and also a dumbed down scoreboard once again focusing mainly on kills/deaths. Whatever the case with the horrible forced FOV and strange feeling Infinity Ward avatar movement the gameplay just feels sluggish to me moving around the maps. That is the one thing I will stay positive on is the actual maps. I haven’t played them all of course or really explored the ones I did play fully but I am happy to play on maps that are bigger than freaking Nuketown. It’s also nice to see a lot more climbing regions over walls and different objects and even on top of a lot more areas to give a good amount of verticality to quite a few areas of the maps. Overall I kind of feel like this is some old school Infinity Ward mapping from the COD4 days.

The final thing I will mention is graphics. Let’s face it this is Call of Duty and we weren’t expecting Battlefield 4 level of graphics – but we were expecting something a little bit better than Modern Warfare 3 – but yet that is what this crap looks like. The texture quality just looks terrible and everything just looks flat. Now I don’t know what it is but it just always seems to me that Infinity Ward has always had more cartoonish and strange looking art design in their maps ever since the Modern Warfare 2/3 days but there is just something about this game that makes it look really dated, dull and boring on the graphics side. But what the hell was the 24.4GB install of data for with this game? It certainly isn’t super high resolution graphics as was being played off with the NVIDIA joint venture and everything else being talked about with “taking it up a notch” on the PC. It is just flat out pathetic. That being said you would think that the game would scream on even a mid-range system but no – it seems that the normal Infinity Ward fashion is being followed here with things not being tested at all on a PC because somehow this game can still bring a high end gaming system to it’s knees with framerates bouncing all over the place.

I am just blown away by this truly being Infinity Wards best attempt for this “next gen” game. I seriously can not believe it. I honestly felt like they were really putting an effort into this game on the PC this time and that is so not true in the least. Two years ago when the studio was broken in shambles and scrambling to get their product out the door it was kind of understandable but now when they have had this much time to get their studio and talent built back up and in order this is just sadly pathetic. I loved Infinity Wards work on COD4 and put over 1200 hours into it. I didn’t buy the lame duck that was Modern Warfare 2 because the road Infinity Ward chose to go down and I didn’t buy Modern Warfare 3 because all signs were pointing to a copy & paste game – however I did end up getting MW3 as a gift later on and could only put a measly 43 hours into because I just couldn’t enjoy the direction they went with the game at all. You got me Infinity Ward – I actually believed you could do it this time and I bought it. This will absolutely be the last Infinity Ward COD title that I buy. Everyone has their preference between the studios I guess but to me Treyarch just hands down puts so much more effort into their games and I can honestly say right now that Black Ops 2 is a much better game than Ghosts. Yep, there is that reference about the old COD game being better than the current one but honestly I just can’t see how it can’t be said. I really enjoyed Black Ops 2 putting in over 1100 hours so far and I’m not sick of it – I still enjoy it. The game runs better and definitely ran better at launch (minus the server side issues), the gameplay is smoother and feels more like the old school avatar movement, the graphics look better and in my opinion the content is just flat out better all around when it comes down to weapons, perks, streaks, etc. – with the only caveat being on the mapping side a little bit. I’m sure there will be some patches and improvements to Ghosts but I can already see I will still be spending some time in Black Ops 2 trying to complete a few final challenges yet before rushing into trying to get used to Ghosts. Will I get used to it or will it be like MW3 all over again? I don’t know but maybe this will finally be the game to help kick my COD addiction. The player count numbers for Ghosts will definitely be very interesting to take a peek at over the next couple days but I can already see it doesn’t look well for the PC. More to come on that later.