Call of Duty: Ghosts Multiplayer Hands-On Preview

Justin Clouse | 15 Aug 2013 09:05
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If you don't like Call of Duty, nothing you're going to read here is going to change your mind. Infinity Ward has overhauled the multiplayer experience, taking a knife to anything that didn't improve it. Along the way the game picked up some exciting new game modes, revamped create-a-class, new squad based co-op and a number of other gameplay mechanics, but it's still the Call of Duty you either love or loathe. Whatever you think about the modern military shooter genre, Infinity Ward still displays a passion for making this franchise and they've put a lot of work into making Call of Duty: Ghosts top their previous endeavors.

For Infinity Ward, the "heart of Call of Duty is fun", and the multiplayer for Call of Duty: Ghosts attempts to channel that. Part of that fun has always been crafting your perfect soldier, and the new create-a-class and character customization really is the best we've seen out of the franchise yet. Expanding on Treyarch's Pick 10, where you could choose any combination of weapons, perks and attachments. Ghosts takes it a step further by shying away from all perks costing the same number of allocations. Perks are now valued from one to five, meaning you can take a limited number of powerful ones or a bunch of smaller effects. No longer does every perk have to fight for balance with each other; Senior Producer Yale Miller did joke with me that Stopping Power would have been a five.

In addition to the new perk systems, there are plenty of new weapons and new killstreaks to unlock. This includes Riley, the "mo-cap dog / Call of Duty dog", who you can call in to follow you around. Riley will attack nearby enemies and growl to warn you when someone is nearby. Many changes have been made to address previous imbalances or make the experience better overall. Deathstreaks have been removed, the Support strike package has been reorganized and kill streaks are now less air based. For example, the classic UAV has been replaced by a Sat-Com. The two behave similarly, but Sat-Com is a ground based equipment that you drop on the map. This makes it easier for your opponents to destroy it, rather than previously needing to take up a slot with a missile launcher to shoot them down. It's a lot of little changes that add up to a better multiplayer.

Along with that comes the new character customization, sporting 20,000 combinations. Before, you had a lot of choice over what your soldier carried into battle, but the avatar itself was not given the same amount of freedom. For Ghosts, you'll get to outfit your character with various uniforms and other accessories, some of which are unlocked through play, certain pre-orders or by partaking in Clan Wars, a meta-game that has clans fighting over territory. It will not however be driven by microtransactions the developer confirmed to us during interview. You'll also be able to select a gender for your avatar, which was slyly revealed at the end of the trailer showing that the sniper who just gunned down a team of opponents was a female. For Infinity Ward, this was an inclusion that just "made sense".

There are also seven new game modes coming to multiplayer, though we only got to see two of them at the reveal. Search and Rescue is a variation of Search and Destroy, where teams either try to plant a bomb or defend the objectives. Much like Counter Strike there are no respawns, making for some thrilling last stands when you're the sole member left. Search and Rescue changes this slightly, by allowing teammates to save their allies if they can reach their body before the enemy can confirm the kill. This means there is instead some limited ability to respawn. It adds a nice additional dynamic of wanting to stick together, and a tension of whether or not to brave a field of fire to try and save a buddy.

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