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Locke reviews Call of Duty: Ghosts

Hoo, you guys are in for a treat with this one. My darling hates this game, and she has asked me to write a blog on it. Well, since I don't want to sleep on the couch tonight, let's pop this bitch in the PS3 while I pop the tab on a Hurricane. If I'm going to play ths game, I am not going to do it sober.

I'll continue the Ergheiz review after this one. I promise. This is just a special review for someone dear to me.

Alright, time to confess something. I actually DO like some Call of Duty games. I thought the Modern Warfares were okay, welll....Except 3, that one's fucking crap, and I remember playing the PS2 titles quite often as a kid. But the reason I'm not optimistic with this one? Even Call of Duty fans are saying this one sucks. It had the worst sales of the series, and a lot of people are saying it's the ultimate sign of the franchise's flat out refusal to actually come up with concrete new ideas. A lot of people accuse the game of lying about its content, and that it's another generic shooter that tried to pass itself off as something different.

Boy, that's got me quaking in my boots. But let's see what the big fuss is about.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is a-Oh, screw it, you all know what it is. They advertised this game like it was the next coming of the Beatles. You'd have to live out in the boonies not to lknow what it is.

Story:

Now I'm only going to be going into the single player in this game because fans of CAll of Duty that I'm friends with have described the multiplayer as "You play one game's multiplayer, you've played them all." Given the briefness of this game's singleplayer, I decided I will cover the plot entirely. IT's only about 4 hours long. Shouldn't take that long.

I'm going to break my no spoilers rule here too because...None of you really care about this game's plot.

So the game starts on a monologue about the origins of the Ghosts, the protagonists of this game. A hospital was under seige by 500 enemy soldiers. 60 US troops held the hospital, fighting over the course of three days. Despite heroic bravery, they were overwhelmed. In the end, only 15 soldiers remained. they decided the mission was a failure. One soldier opted to evacuate the hospital, and the remaining 14 stayed behind to hold the line. 

Taking a stand amongst the bodies of their fallen comrades, the 14 fought back using guerrilla tactics the enemy was not prepared for. The soldiers refused to back down. When their ammo ran dry, they used their field knives. When the blades dulled, they used their fists. By the end, the 500 enemy troops were slaughtered. Only one survived to tell the story of these men, who fought with courage and determination beyond anything believed humanly possible. This began the story of ghosts on the battlefield.

Now...bad news. This is a cutscene. What's wrong with that? Well, for one thing...this sounds like it would have been a fucking awesome moment of the game to play through. The stakes are high, you're in a hopeless scenario, your resources are finite, your enemy is overwhelming, and you must rely on wits to survive. That would have been awesome, even as it's own game. But it's not. It's this stupid cutscene where this guy talks over the scene. Potential squandered right off the bat. But what do you expect?

So anyway, the cutscene ends with 3 guys sitting around a campfire. Turns out it was just this dad telling the story to his two sons, one of whom is the player controlled character. The other doesn't doesn't believe him, and you're then given gameplay control and made to follow your brother and father. Earthquake tremors start to happen overtime as you're walking, to the point trees around you start collapsing. Your brother begins to freak out, and the dad tells you both to haul ass to the house.

Smoke and fire, and panic arrives as you enter into town, and this isn't going to really be an earthquake, is it? The dad believes something is amiss, mentioning "Odin", and splits off from the two brothers, Logan and Hash (You're Logan. What the fuck kind of name is Hash?) The two make it to the house, whereupon Hash begins to freak his shit. Looks like Hash needs to smoke some hash and calm down, eh? The house begins to collapse no sooner than you get inside and you and Hash bust open the front door.

The door gives way from the two brothers' efforts and the screen fades to white. We flash back to fifteen minutes earlier and you're now in control of an astronaut, who is observing a large satellite. I noticed the wing of the satellite says Odin. This is what Hash and Logan's father was talking about. It turns out Odin isn't a regular satellite. Rather, it's a big fucking laser cannon.

You control the astronaut as he floats back to his space station, and how the fuck are they moving through the void? There's no tethers, they don't have any propulsion systems, so...what the hell? I thought you needed a force pushing you in order to move in space, or you'd just float there. Well, whatever, the actual gameplay for this section's pretty fun to goof around in and the Earth looks pretty well done.

No sooner do you enter the station does it come under attack...Okay, how the fuck did that happen? How the hell does an enemy raid on a space station happen without someone noticing any approaching craft? Your partner wrestles with an enemy attacker and in the struggle, his gun is knocked away and floats to you. He grabs you, trying to get his weapon back, but you kill him with it.

Your partner identifies him as a Federation soldier. Federation? I thought this was set in modern times, who the hell is the Federation? This isn't Star Trek or Metroid for fuck's sake. A fucking Federation is in this game, and they've "broken the truce", I guess...I am so lost.

You fight with the...*Sighs* Federation and Odin suddenly fires. Turns out the Federation has seized control of the weapon and are using it to attack areas....It's only been like, a minute since they showed up, and they've already gained full control of this thing, input attack codes, moved into position, and are firing?! HOW THE FUCK DID THEY DO THAT?! Is the security so lax on a fucking satellite laser that it's this easy and quick to hijack control of the damn thing?!

Well, the headquarters for the ODIN program decide to blow the space station to avoid the Federation getting control of it, but this doesn't stop Odin from continuing to fire on the USA's many cities. Your partner and you decide that ODIN must be shut off manually, and make their way to the weapon.

Kinda thought this game was about a stealth unit called the Ghosts. Am I mistaken? Or did I rent the wrong game?

One of the astronauts exposes and fires upon the fuel line for ODIN, and ignites the fuel system for the station, causing it to explode and drop into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, this act kills your partner, and you must watch as ODIN descends on a crash course. The final astronaut, you, are pulled into the descent as the game returns to the brothers.

Logan and Hash push through the doors and see something burning in the atmosphere-Oh god, Odin's coming right at me! The weapon crashes into the ground, creating a massive crater that pulls a large chunk of the city into it. Logan and Hash must run through the collapsing city being pulled into ODIN's crash site, and run, jump, and run some more as the area falls apart and sinks around them.

This is fun to play, but it would be cool if I wasn't sure this was just ripping off the scene from Uncharted 3 where Sully and Nate flee from Iram of the Pillars as it's being sucked into a massive sinkhole, which itself ripped off the part in Uncharted 2 where Nate has to escape Shambahla as it collapses. What I'm saying is...Seen this before.

The two almost make it out of the area, but Logan is knocked out by a falling tanker truck exploding nearby. Hash goes to save his brother, and their dad arrives to help carry Logan into a truck to escape. And all this is related to the Ghost unit...how?

You get an admittedly pretty dramatic scene of pieces of Odin and the space station falling to Earth and dropping on top of the city, causing immense damage. The title of the game finally pops up, confirming I have NOT been playing the wrong game after all. We find out that the Federation is a united army of South American countries that came to power after the destruction of the Middle Eastern deserts that the world relies on for their oil and energy needs. This is starting to sound like the plot of a Tom Clancy book I once read...But I guess if you're going to rip off anyone's war plots, you don't get much higher than Tom Clancy.

Also, want to know why and how the Middle East was destroyed? Want to know why the South Americans are suddenly capable enough to go toe to toe with the most powerful military on the planet? So the fuck would I. The game just completely ignores those detail.

The Federation started taking over everything in it's wake and eventually set its eyes on the US. Why? Cuz they're evil, I guess. It's Call of Duty, that's their excuse for everything. They used to be able to get away with it when it was a World War 2 shooter series, but it doesn't work so well nowaways. Turning Odin against the US, (...Funny, pretty sure I just blew that fucking thing up,) the Federation tried to invade the weakened US, only to find the US isn't as weak as they thought. Umm...Pretty sure the nation with the highest military budget and supply of nuclear weapons in the world, is not weak. I mean...what do you think? Odin only destroyed the state of California before it was finally destroyed, that still leaves us with 95% of the country still intact. I'm pretty sure that we wouldn't be destroyed as a military superpower just because our sandy beaches and Hollywood got blown to shit.

Ten years pass in the US-Federation war, and the chapter Brave New World starts. You and Hash, and a german shepard named Riley, are now part of the US military, and sent on a patrol task in the ruins of Los Angeles. Riley senses the presence of something strange nearby, and you and Hash investigate, to find...a deer. Great work, Riley. I know who to take hunting now.

The three make their way through what appears to be a ruined mall that reminds me how much I wish I was playing Fallout instead. They exit out into a plant overgrown city which makes me wish I was playing the Last of Us instead, and meet up with another soldier. They talk a little, and split up for the mission. A short firefight happens between the brothers and 5 Federation soldiers. Kind of a slow start for this game...Usually Call of Duty games start off in massive intense battlegrounds, but this...this game is so fucking boring so far.

Although thankfully, a skirmish between your unit and federation soldiers eventually breaks out in a large drainage ditch, as we finally get some action in this damn game. Turns out the Federation is attacking The Wall, which is a wall that's for...some...reason...Why? This isn't a zombie game, what the fuck are we keeping out? The federation could easily get over a wall, they have aircraft. Hell, they could just over the thing with artillery.

Whatever. A fight with a helicopter happens, making me wish I was playing Metal Gear Solid instead. And oh wow, what the fuck was that? You can tell they're not really putting effort into this game because that Helicopter blew and I swear I've seen better explosion effects in an episode of the Angry Video Game Nerd. The explosion looked like 16 bit 3D shooter explosion graphics. I'm honestly laughing my ass off here. I wish you could see it.

Wait...that was it? The Federation attacked The Wall with 16 soldiers and a helicopter? What the fuck kind of assault is that? I've seen better military strategy playing with plastic army men with my 6 year old cousin.

Oh my god, another timeskip? 20 minutes later, in Fort Santa Monica, it turns out what's on the other side of the wall is civilization. Okay...again. This is not a zombie game. What is the purpose of the wall except for dividing the destroyed area of the city from the not destroyed area? You know what this feels like? This feels like the setpieces were made without consideration of the plot in mind, and they just tacked a story on around it. This looks like an area that should be in a completely different game. Again, it reminds me of the fucking Last of Us. In fact, I'm convinced this game just copied The Last of Us here. Because LoU has some pretty badass setpieces, and this area doesn't look like it belongs in Call of Duty, it looks like LoU. Except the reason why Last of Us looks like that? Is because of the rampant growth of plantlife and the presence of spores that turn the human mind feral. That's why there was overgrowth. That's why there was a giant wall.

This game has no reason for this shit. There's overgrowth and a giant wall for no reason. You could argue it's to prevent attacks, but we are not dealing with feral creatures or a small time militia with obsolete tech. This is a massive military organization that could EASILY get over this goddamn wall. This entire level makes no sense.

Oh dear god, your dad is the military operations manager for this area. Really? Why?

And why do I look like I'm a foot shorter than everyone? I mean, if I was a woman, that'd be okay. But I'm in First person, so gender unspecified. My name's Logan, but I knew a female Logan in real life...But like, I could be a male here, and when I look dead straight, I'm staring at people's chest. Oh lord, this game has so many design issues. Seriously. Hesh is a full fucking head taller than me. I only come up to Hesh's shoulders. Why did they set the first person camera so low?

Oh, by the way, my mistake, his name is actually Hesh. With an E. Apparently someone made a typo in the first mission. See, in Call of Duty games, if you look at someone, their name will appear in blue letters. In the first mission, I could swear the name for this guy was "Hash". In this mission, it's Hesh. What the hell?

Okay, I'm just going to assume it's Hesh. I really don't care, his name could be Jerikoff van Pisswasser for all I care.

So your dad and Pisswasser talk about how the Federation is executing civilians in hopes of finding a way to get into the Wall...Again, they can just fly over the fucking thing and airdrop into it. Also, there's no barrier for the side of the city that faces the ocean, so that's a plan too. Your dad decides it's time to take the offensive. You're going into "No Man's Land" to fight the Federation. And you're going to the place you know best. Your hometown.

So apparently No Man's land is a barren wasteland between LA and San Diego which is nothing but ruins, death, and landmines. It is the same location where the pieces of Odin crashed. People don't usually go there, hence the name. Hesh makes a comment that if your dad is sending you there, it must be important.

Why is your dad sending his two sons out in this dangerous area instead of any of the vast amount of soldiers the US has? Never explained.

So anyway, we continue with our heroes I see no reason to give a shit about ambushing a Federation patrol with the dog Riley, and later come upon the ruins of their old house. Hesh quickly finds a shotgun just....out of nowhere. He doesn't pick it up, he just suddenly has it and says "Never thought I'd see this again" so...that happens. You also find Odin's crash site, which I will admit is a really cool view. This crater is enormous, and gives an awe-inspiring feel to the location. 

You continue on, and my god, I realize this whole game so far, I've been in ONE firefight with the enemy. Oh boy, I'm really for a real fun time. Anyway, it turns out Logan has the ability to control Riley...How can he control a dog? NEver explained. Riley kills a few soldiers, and we continue.

Why did none of these guards scream "Oh my god, a dog is ripping my juggular out! Please help!"

At one point, I accidentally shot Riley, and got a game over. Why...why can you not shoot your allies, but you can shoot the fucking dog on accident? Are human lives more precious to you, Activision? Did Riley not have hopes and dreams?

Okay, one thing we need to talk about here. The game developers treated Riley like he's such an amazing new idea. That the idea of having a dog psychic was ground breaking. Riley is nothing special. The idea of having a dog help you in missions is so fucking old. Fable 2 introduced the idea a few years ago, in having a dog by your ally. I remember another game doing this, Fallout doing it twice. This is nothing new. And yet, this game advertised Riley like he was an amazing idea never experienced before. IT's fucking retarded how they thought that saying "Oh, a dog is your ally now" was going to be this big mindblowing thing. Activision is so out of touch with the market that they honestly thought this idea that has been done several times before by other franchises is going to suddenly be the greatest thing they've ever thought of.

Pfft. He's not even fun to use. He takes one hit and he's dead. Also, given that he's a dog, that means he's restricted to melee attacks, which, sneaking up on an enemy and killing them with a bite to the throat is really weird considering the easier solution is just gun down the lot of them. He's used for sneaking past or eliminating small pockets of enemies, but I don't see why none of these elements of gameplay couldn't be handled by a human.

All in all, he seems like an unnecessary bit of gameplay.

So we find a Federation dig site where they're digging up something that looks like Odin. Gee, I wonder if it's going to turn out to be Odin. Another gunfight happens, before Logan, Hesh, and Riley must sneak through a huge patrol of Federation soldiers.

Eventually we see a guy in a weird mask who has been taken by the Federation troops and is doomed for be interrogated by their soldiers. Unusual. Something called Operation Homecoming is mentioned, and we continue. Also, these Federation guys are awfully white looking for South Americans.

Riley suddenly starts to freak out about something, and OH SHIT! WOLVES! The three are ambushed by a pack of wolves, Logan is jumped by one, Riley pounces it and struggles against it before Logan grabs his pistol and shoots it. Riley limps off, and another wolf jumps Logan before a stranger appears and tackles it like a badass. This guy is Merrick, and he scares off the rest of the pack. Merrick looks like Bane from Dark Knight Rises, and that's all I have to say about him.

Another man, Keegan, appears with him. Hesh mentions that they were looking for these two soldiers...Funny, I don't remember that ever being brought up. Hesh and Logan decide to stick with these two, and the group gets larger by two men.

It is revealed that Keegan and Merrick are members of the Ghost unit, and they were on a mission to rescue their partner Ajax, who is another member of the ghosts. I believe is the guy we saw being captured earlier.

We pick up again in a San Diego baseball stadium that has been converted into a base for the Federation soldiers. (Can I just say one thing real quick? The name Federation doesn't sound right for these soldiers. I mean, the word federation is an english term. These are South Americans. Shouldn't their name be something in spanish?) Anyway, Logan scans the base with a sniper rifle, and finds Ajax in the press box getting his ass handed to him by a Federation soldier. Ajax flips the soldier the bird, and gets knocked out and dragged off. Logan then tags a passing convoy of trucks with special grenades that are detonated with a trigger, and the troops make their move to rescue Ajax.

They load up into a truck and move out. And I'm assuming being that the Ghosts are established to be a stealth unit, this'll be a delicate operation requiring subtlety and finesse, and they absolutely must not draw attention to themselv-They just rammed the truck into the entrance of the base and went in guns blazing, while exploding the convoy trucks and alerting EVERYONE to the attack.

Activision? Do you even know what the concept of Stealth is?! Here. Let me help you learn.

Stealth: Noun.

a secret, quiet, and clever way of moving or behaving

In other words, NOT rushing in with the loudest fucking method possible and drawing a fuckload of attention to yourself, you dumb assholes. Seriously, we don't even have silencers on our guns!

Anyway...The group moves in, shooting everyone in sight between them and Ajax. You're switched to a remote controlled Sniper Rifle (Before you say anthing? Those actually exist.) and must pick off enemies while the ghosts infiltrate the press box. Riley picks up Ajax's scent, (Odd because a dog has to actually know the scent of the person they're looking for before they can track him down.) and they follow him to Ajax's location.

This sniper rifle makes the most unconvincing gun sounds outside of a toy gun I've ever heard. Also, at one point, you use tear gas to get the advantage on a room filled with soldiers. Despite the fact that Riley is not wearing a gas mask, this has no effects on him whatsoever. Are dogs just immune to gas? Anyway, Riley is eventually able to find Ajax, who dies with the final words that someone named Rorke is targetting The Wall. Well...We kind of already knew the Federation was attacking there, and this would be a dramatic reveal if I even had the slightest clue who Rorke was. But Hesh finds a kill list of various people who all happen to be members of the Ghost unit. The Federation then comes in with the counterattack, forcing the Ghosts to flee in a chopper. Logan and Hesh gain their extract method when Riley...takes down a fucking helicopter in mid-flight by jumping into it and killing the pilot...

Is this game real? Am I really playing this? Did I honestly just see a fucking dog bring down a helicopter?

Logan, Hesh, and Riley escape in the chopper that Riley took down, only to learn that Fort Santa Monica is under heavy attack. So...that wall turned out to be entirely useless after all.

...HAH!

I'm not going to lie. This chapter...Is fucking awesome. Does it absolve this game of being boring and stupid? Not by a longshot. The US military has a desperate standoff against an overwhelming Federation force, and a massive battle between the two sides breaks out in the heart of the city. Logan takes the defensive with a massive mounted turret and must defend the beach from the Federation attack, leading to a short recreation of the Normandy landing. Here you must waste EVERYTHING in your line of sight. Logan forces the enemy to retreat, but the defensive line is quickly obliterated by a battleship. A helicopter swoops in and fires a rain of lead into your position, forcing you to stay under cover. 

Two American drones fly in and waste the chopper attack before flying off. More choppers fly in, and the drones waste those two. However, the intensity of the firefight causes the building Logan is in to collapse and throw him out of the balcony. He recovers and runs along the crossfire with Hesh, killing Federation soldiers along the way. You constantly switch between Logan and the drones, both forces mowing down Federation troops by the dozens in this standoff.

The drones eventually get shot down, and the US military fights its way back into the heart of the city. However, without the drone support, things just got a lot more complicated. Without the drones, the beachfront falls quickly, and the area is overwhelmed by the attack. Logan gets wounded in a struggle with a Federation soldier, and the Ghosts suddenly drop in to airlift him out. Don't know how they knew where you were or that you needed assistance, but at this point, I'm done questioning the plot holes.

It turns out that Logan and Hesh's dad Elias is in fact...A GHOST! *Gasp* That was...so fucking predictable that I knew it as soon as the game started. Was that supposed to be shocking, Activision? Because it wasn't. It was so fucking easy to put together that he was part of this unit. If you wanted something really unexpected, you should have said Riley was a member of the Ghosts.

It turns out that your missions so far were just an initiation to see if Logan and Hesh were qualified to become Ghosts. *Gasp!* Because you knew they had to join this unit eventually, they advertised the fuck out of these guys. Also, it turns out Rorke knows how to track down Ghosts and knows their identities because he IS a Ghost! *Gasp!* ...No shit. I'll say this, they really botch the exposition drama in this game.

Oh, and if you think I know all this because I looked up the plot....You're thinking way too much into my dedication to this storyline. I'm just not stupid, that's all.

So it turns out Rorke was a member of the Ghost assassination unit sent to kill the leader of the Federation, random Che Guavara expy anti-American activist stereotype, 12 years ago, but became with the hunt for this guy. We flash back to that mission. You play as Elias this time, during an American attack on the Federation's capital of Caracas, as the Ghosts sneak in for their kill with the invasion as a distraction.

And I'll admit, this is probably the funnest mission yet, though that's not really saying much so far. Call of Duty could always do one thing right, and that was massive battles in cities. Although lately, I fear they've come to rely too much as these being the intense mission of the game. I know your only options are "Big battle in a city" or "big battle NOT in a city" but sometimes these all start to feel the same. I know the showdown between the Russian military and the US in the Eastern coast of the US was a really cool mission. My favorite in the series. But...kind of feels like all they do is copy it these days.

Also, if this is a stealth unit, why are they participating in a full scale invasion? They're supposed to be guerrilla warfare experts who don't need these kinds of tactics. This is...ridiculous. So far, the Ghosts have done NOTHING related to their actual area of expertise. It would have been cool to see a guerrilla warfare game, but it seems like that part of the gameplay was an outright lie on that development team's part.

See, guerrilla warfare is the act of using stealth, subtlety, and well organized, small team skirmishes, hit and run attacks, and clever use of arms to wittle down a superior enemy overtime without the need of a massive military funding or high tech supplies. You see these kinds of tactics deployed by Private Militaries, rebel factions, terrorist organizations, special ops teams, and militias. Guerrilla forces almost NEVER directly engage the enemy. They always take their foe by surprise, and usually vanish without ever drawing too much attention to themselves.

These guys don't do that. They have tank support, drone support, aircraft support, whatever they need, and they are NOT SUBTLE. They fight out in the open, they use massive explosives, they bullrush their enemies and take them out in the open, on the streets...These guys are the exact opposite of the concept of guerrilla warfare. And it's starting to piss me off how badly this game is misinterpreting that.

The Federation decides to pull a Battle of Fan Castle and blows the dam with a missile launcher truck, thereby flooding the entire city and destroying both half of their own forces, and the US invasion unit. The ghosts, despite these odds, press on because Rorke refuses to let his prey escape. They continue their advance, but the building collapses due to the flood and Elias is swept away in the tide. This would be a suspenseful moment of the game, except I already know he's going to survive this and that none of these ghosts are going to die in this mission. You know, these are moments that break immersion and just bore the player, when you put the character in situations where they're in potential peril, but the player already knows nothing is going to happen to him. It seperates the player's feeling that he and the character are one and the same, and takes him out of the experience.

Rorke saves Elias and pulls him out of the rushing water....How did he get ahead of me, when I was being swept away in a 100 mile per hour current? Never mind. The two meet up with the rest of the Ghost Unit, and find their target, and oh my fucking god, he's wearing a red beret. Jesus fucking christ with the cliches in this game.

The group leap onto his escaping VTOL craft and after a short fight with his bodyguards, Elias shoots the Federation leader in the back with a pistol as Rorke distracts him. This kills the target, but then the VTOL crashes with the Ghosts still inside. Elias desperately holds onto Rorke, but the VTOL is breaking apart, and Rorke is trapped behind a piece of the aircraft. Elias must release him, as they'll both die if he doesn't. No seriously, you actually get a game over if you don't let him go. The downside to this is the window to actually pressing the O button is fucking ridiculous. It's so unforgivingly short that as soon as you even know what pressing that button will do, you're already dead.

The game goes back to Elias narrating, as he explains that they searched for Rorke's body for weeks before declaring him MIA. It was later found that the Federation got to him first and indoctrinated him into their ranks, using him to find and assassinate members of the Ghosts. Elias comes to the conclusion that Rorke will never stop in his hunt and they must kill him first. They make the plan to return to Caracas, where a contact of Rorke's might be "convinced" to help them find him.

The group slips in under the cover of a festival celebrating the unity of the Federation, and Logan uses an optical scanner to locate the contact on the building across the street from their infil point. They make their way over there using-Saint Paul on a Cracker, I want one of these things! They use a massive zipline launcher to cross 200 feet onto the building where their target is at. They drop off the line and rappel down the building, killing any soldiers they see inside.

I actually like rappel sections in video games, by the way. But I won't say it saves the game, because it's really short. You infiltrate the building, and wow, there's actually stealth in this stealth game? Finally! Unfortunately, it's all scripted scenarios, so not good enough, Activision.

Logan uploads a virus that kills the lights to the building, and kills some dude with a kunai he has for some reason. The game then immediately abandons stealth and you go into full on assault of the building mode. Well...that was fun for the whole 30 seconds it lasted.

OW! This stupid game makes you use a strobe light in a dark room to blind enemies and it just blinded me instead! My eyes hurt! Thank god I don't have epilepsy or this game probably would have killed me right here.

Why does a South American building have japanese architecture? Anyway, they find the contact, but Rorke appears on a TV screen, and oh my god, the voice doesn't sync up with his mouth...*Sighs* Anyway, apparently Rorke is pissed about the fact that Elias left him to die, apparently too fucking stupid to realize the obvious no survival situation he was in a decade ago, and this is why he hates the Ghosts.

Because were you really expecting a creative motive from this game? I'm still expecting to find out Russia's involved in this somehow. Anyway, Rorke collapses the building, because of course an expert in stealth and assassination wouldn't know a more subtle way to kill his enemies, and the game tries to recreate the tanker escape scene from MW1, because rehashing old scenarios is all Activision knows how to do. You fall out of the building and parachute to safety.

You know what this is? This is trailer food. This was a scene that was made for no other reason than to put something "epic" into the trailer for this game. It's so forced in that it cannot possibly be anything other than that.

Using a briefcase taken off the contact in Caracas, the Ghosts track Rorke down to an oil field in Mexico. You're then given control of an Apache attack chopper, making me wish I was playing Soviet Strike instead, and fly through the canyon and make a full assault on the oil field with other choppers. Because you know...guerrilla warfare unit that don't rely on anything but their own skills and stealth abilities always use choppers and full on attack-Oh fuck it, it's not even worth pointing out anymore.

The Ghosts grab Rorke and exit with him. Back on a plane, Elias interrogates Rorke. Rorke refuses to talk, so Elias opens the cargo ramp and logan to push Rorke near it. Elias decides to throw Rorke out the back, but before he can, Rorke mentions we "Made his job a hell of a lot easier" before an attack jet appears behind the plane. The jet tethers to the plane, and other fighters blow it in half while the Federation grabs Rorke and escape with him. Logan then falls out the hole in the plane.

Well, that just made the whole last 2 missions pointless.

Logan survives and parachutes into a jungle, where he must locate the other ghosts. Because hey, let's rip off Bad Company 2 while we're at it, huh? Also, for once in this fucking game, ACTUAL STEALTH! Since you're badly injured, and don't have your gear, you must sneak past enemies instead of fighting them. Although...Stealth in a jungle...This does remind me of something...Can't quite put my finger on it.

Oh well. I'll just sing a song until I remember. I give my life....Not for honor, but for yoooooou, Snake Eater....

You can make a bingo game out of all the things this game rips off....

Actually, you don't even need stealth. The AI's aim is so shit that you can run right through the enemies and they probably won't hit you until you reach the Ghosts.

They're reunited, make their way through the jungle, only to spot a rocket firing off into space. Swear to god, if that's what I think it is, I'm going to scream because this game is so predictable and cliche it stopped being funny after the dog and the helicopter incident....

The Ghosts escape a helicopter attack, jump down a waterfall, and get rescued by the army.  They then head off to a facility in the Andes to find out what's up with that rocket. Sniper mission on a snowy mountain while avoiding enemy patrols from Modern Warfare 2, pretty much. 

Oh wait, never mind, they actually tried on this one. You wear enemy uniforms to casually sneak into the base. Huh. If that rips from a level in a previous Call of Duty, it's not one I'm familiar with.

Hey, wasn't there supposed to be a dog in this game that was going to be a vital member of the team and a huge game mechanic? I haven't seen him since the baseball camp raid and that was half a game ago. Now I'm getting what people meant about them lying.

See, if you paid attention to the advertisements, the BIG innovation for this game was that Riley was supposed to be a crucial member of your team. He was your sidekick, you had him in all your missions, he was your friend and constant companion. They advertised the fuck out of this dog. He was treated as a big deal.

Guess how many missions he's been used in so far? One. ONE mission where him being used as a tool for your mission, and that was hours ago. After that mission ended, I haven't seen him once! So if you're looking forward to your awesome combat dog? Look somewhere else, cuz someone was obviously full of shit when they were talking about him.

Hesh says there's nineteen seconds until a powerdown of the facility happens as part of their mission, but on my mission clock, it said 12 seconds. Somebody doesn't know his numbers!

When the clock runs out, the base blacks out. The ghosts don nightvision goggles, and proceed to do what they do best. Anything but their actual job. Time to spray lead! You know...we're wearing enemy uniforms, and it was pretty effective at fooling the enemy. Why didn't we just keep walking in? Oh never mind. The ghosts blow off a vault door and continue the attack, pushing into a lab and gunning down soldiers and defenseless scientists alike. Because good guys shoot defenseless bystanders.

As we push deeper into the base, our disguises continue to fool the soldiers, but the Ghosts continue to shoot them anyway. Hesh works to retrieve the data on the rocket while the Ghosts hold back the responding soldiers, using mines, turrets, claymores, and Tear Gas to hold the line.

And yeah, this is a decent shootout.

The download temporarily freezes on the words "ODIN.plan". Remember how I said if that rocket was what I thought it'd be, I was going to scream?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!

God, that was so fucking predictable!

The Ghosts grab the data and escape by pretending to be Wounded Federation soldiers, fooling the guards and this time NOT needlessly shooting them. However, the disguise doesn't fool them forever, because we need to end on a stupid escape scene that's forced in badly.

The Ghosts escape on a submarine that breaks through the frozen sea, and decide it's time to blow up an oil platform that supplies the Federation with fuel. Right, because...the whole of South America clearly runs on one fucking oil platform.

Oh boy, we're going to swim our way into the platform. Finally, some mission variety-Nope. They just blow the ice under a convoy, shoot everybody and go into full attack mode.

I miss having variety in a game.

The Ghosts overload the platform and cause it to explode, escaping before it blows and pollutes the ocean, making this level an environmentalist's nightmare. Now it's time to destroy a battleship guarding a facility that we need to infiltrate in order to gain info on a classified operation mentioned in the data Hesh collected that it obviously the Federation's version of ODIN.

Due to childhood trauma that makes me have panic attacks at the sight of water dangers, and the fact this level is a scuba mission with sharks in it, I actually had to pass this mission off to be played by someone else and have the details told to me. That doesn't mean this section of the game would be scary to any normal person, but to someone who has post traumatic anxiety episodes to these kinds of imagery, I didn't want to risk setting myself off. Apparently there IS a moment in the game that might have triggered an attack.

The Ghosts follow the ship and launch an underwater missile at it, blowing it's hull open and sinking it. Now it's time to attack the factory. The Ghosts sneak in (Yes, they actually use stealth for once) and find that the secret project is indeed, the Federation building their own ODIN. Are you really surprised the game went this direction?

The Ghosts find data on the Federation's ODIN, but suddenly the room explodes.  Federation soldiers attack the Ghosts, and they must go hot and fight their way out. They barely manage to escape in a truck as a US Air Strike arrives to blow the facility sky high.

The Ghosts rendezvous at a Vegas safehouse, but the Federation get the drop on them by gassing the room. Rorke ties up Elias and his sons, and in a struggle with Logan, overpowers the soldier before shooting Elias dead.

I'd be sad about his death, but...I have no reason to like this guy or feel bad about him. He was generic and I'm probably going to forget about him completely in a couple days. They establish nothing about him or give him any traits of a proper character. He was a trope, and nothing more.

Rorke disappears, and Federation soldiers attempt to execute the Ghosts. A sniper appears and shoots them, allowing Hesh to escape and clear out the rest before rescuing his team. The ghosts fight their way towards the Vegas strip, and Riley reappears finally! Are we going to get some use out of him no-Oh, he just got shot. Well, looks like I'm carrying a wounded dog for the rest of the mission. Sounds fun.

By the way, in the desperate attempt to make this scene emotional, they made Riley's pained whimpers as loud as fucking possible. Even the cacophony of gunfire that happens in the moment can't drown out his whimpers. It really bugs me, because this is the one I HATE hearing most. A dog in pain.

They escape, and plan the attack on a Federation space station, knowing that the Federation cannot be allowed to use Odin or all hope of resisting them is lost. Throwing everything they've got, the military makes a desperate stand to give the Ghosts an opening to attack the Federation and their satellite. They make the attack, but the Federation fights back, using Odin to attack the fleet. 

The ghosts link up with an assault unit and assault the control center, hoping to use one of the Federation's missiles against them. The game defies all pretense of stealth and subtlety whatsoever in this final mission and just lets you ride on into the federation with a fucking battalion of tanks.

And to the game's credit, this part KICKS ASS! I love tanks! These babies rip through the federation like tissue paper and outright rape their base, allowing the Ghosts an easy entry. Hesh fires the missile, and hears that Rorke is on the base. Obsessed with revenge, he and Logan track down their father's killer, hopping aboard the train he hopes to escape on.

Back to the tanks, who continue to whittle down the base's defenses to allow the missile to destroy the area. With nothing left to stop it, the missile reduces the base to a crater. 

Alright, after a good night's sleep, let's pick up where we left off. With the controls for ODIN destroyed, a US Task Force using a space shuttle fight the federation for the control of the satellite. By the way? Fighting in the void of space is not thrilling. It is slow, awkward? And guess what's in space? NOTHING! Meaning nothing to take cover behind! I'll give them credit for trying here, but what was meant to be a thrilling climax battle just comes off as slow, boring, and frustratingly difficult.

Anyway, the unit eventually take control of Odin and the player is given the option to fire it, without inputting a targetting code or anything to adjust the gun's aim to their target, yet somehow they hit the exact thing they wanted to. Odin brings down the Wrath of God on the Federation, giving you full control of it's fire as you reduce the Federation facility to a smoking hole in the ground. 

The man controlling Odin is then given a shocking order. The ghosts want him to fire on Rorke's train, killing everyone on board, including them. Okay, let's light Thomas the Tank Engine up!

Yeah, sorry, but in order to hesitate in this order, I'd have to actually connect with these soldiers, and that requires they not have the personalities of sandpaper. *Hits the button and blows them away*

But before this, the game cuts back to 15 minutes ago, with the ghosts assaulting Rorke's train. Wait a minute, if it's 15 minutes ago, why does the military already have control of Odin? That was like, 4 minutes ago. This game's fucking bullshit with it's time jumps. The Ghosts find Rorke, but in the spirit of Call of Duty, he easily overpowers them. Hesh, given no options left, makes the order for Odin to fire on the train. Rorke, unaware of the plan, does not realize to make his escape and all three are caught in the blast. The train falls down the canyon and into the ocean, but Rorke, Hesh, and Logan are still alive, and fight over a magnum laying nearby. Hesh distracts Rorke, while Logan fires, hitting Rorke in the heart.

Due to the water pressure, the cab of the train is soon flooded and Logan and Hesh swim to safety. Logan drags his brother onto the beach, and the two celebrate their victor over their father's murder. The Federation is decimated by the attack, and orders a full retreat. The US has won the battle, and it's time for champagne and strippers. Logan and Hesh sit back and watch Odin annihilate the fleeing Federation Fleet. Now, this is a good ending. They survived, the Federation is done. The game cuts to black, the Call of Duty Ghosts logo is shown, and the credits roll.

So that was a decent ending, I guess. The enemies are annihilated, the two brothers came out with their revenge, the plot shits all over itself in 3...

2...

1...

Rorke's not dead. Despite drowning at the bottom of the ocean and having a bullet in his HEART, Rorke ambushes the two, kicks Logan's ass, knocks Hesh out, and drags Logan off with the claim that "We're going to destroy them together" foreshadowing his attempt to brainwash Logan into becoming his partner. A post credit's scene shows Logan in captivity as Rorke begins the indoctrination procedure.

Well...That happened. I know this was thrown in last minute, Activision figured this game was going to be so mindblowingly good and a sequel MUST be made, so they purposely halfassed the shit out of their ending, so they had an excuse to make one.

I'd be shocked by this stupid move, But all in all, what'd you really expect? It's Activision.

Story review:

Hoo. What to say, what to say? Well...That was dumb. I mean it, that whole game was dumb, dumb, dumb.

First off, let's address the outright lies in this plot. The Ghosts were advertised as a stealth guerrilla unit. Neither of these things really come into play long term in the game. They have whatever resource is convenient, they use full on assaults as their only strategy, and they're as subtle as a truck ramming through a gate.

The dog is used once. Riley was advertised as your constant companion in battle. You use him once.

The plot was said to revolve around fighting an enemy inside of a destroyed United States. Only 1 state is destroyed in the game, but that's somehow militarily weakened the entire US. Despite being militarily weakened, they sure kicked the shit out of the Federation when it came down to it.

The Federation is one of the worst villain factions I've ever seen, and it's bad even by Call of Duty standards. They're supposed to be a union of various South American states that rose into a superpower due to the destruction of the middle east, which is never addressed by the way. How the hell does the entire Middle East get destroyed? Was it rampant sandstorms, the war between Islam and the Israelis? A revolution that caused immense damage? Did the US, Russia, and China just decide that place wasn't worth the effort it takes to try and keep the area in order and just nuked the place? The fuck happened? That's a big plot issue, and the game just skirts over it.

But anyway, I'm getting offtrack. The Federation is dull. They're generic enemies, with a generic plot (Destroy the US) and worst part is, they're not given a motive. What's the reason behind this? Give the old Call of Duties credit, their villains at least had reasons for their actions. Zakhaev was a man who was fascinated with the days of the Soviet Union, and was disgusted with how low he felt Russia had fallen, so he led a nationalist revolution to restore the motherland to it's former glory, and sought to "liberate it" from the Western European and American powers keeping it a weak shell.

Makarov was a student of Zakaev who wanted to continue his mentor's work, but was far too radical in his methods. Shepard was furious over America's lax handling of a botched Marine Corp. mission that led to the deaths of thousands of men under his watch, and wanted to start a war to make America realize how truly important the lives of it's military men and woman are.

Even the Nazis in the old World War 2 games had the idea of Aryan supremacy in mind when they went to war with the world.

The Federation has no motive. You're led to believe that their mere hatred of the US is good enough. But they have no clear reason for hating the US, they just do. They hate them so much that even American born south american citizens are put to death. Here, I'll give you a way that I could explain a potential hatred for the US.

History lesson. There was once a man named Che Guevara. Che was the leader of the Cuban revolution, that despised the US for the capitalist tyranny he saw in them and led an uprising that usurped power from the US backed Cuban president. He is considered something of a heroic icon to revolutionaries worldwide, and especially in South America. Maybe the Federation worships him, and hold the torch of his hatred of the US.

Just a thought. I came up with that in seconds. But nope. Nothing like that. just "Grrr, we hate the US, becaus the US is good, and we are evil!"

Although I will give them credit. They didn't just resort to Russians like most games do.

Rorke is easily the worst villain in the series. His motive "Revenge because my team would rather save themselves as a whole than be dragged down with me" is cliche'd, horrendously written, and dumb. And this carries his entire character, this dead horse of a villain motive. This is easily one of the worst, most overused character backstories ever, and it doesn't make him an interesting villain, more just another cardboard bad guy that needs killing.

The ghosts have no personality. They speak, but talking does not mean a personality. They display nothing outside of entirely identical, dull behavior, and their voices even sound alike, making it difficult to know who is even talking.

They're generic soldiers, might as well be redshirts.

Logan is your typical silent protagonist. He does nothing, he doesn't interact with the team, he doesn't even have body language to give him some element of character like what Nintendo does. You don't need a protagonist to talk to give him personality, but what you do need, is to try a little harder than "Just the first person camera with arms". You know what Logan is? The film Wreck It Ralph takes a shot at first person player characters at one point, where you see that the "First person shooter" is just a TV screen with your face on it, and arms to hold the gun.

Logan is the First Person Shooter from Wreck It Ralph.

So all in all, there is nothing gripping about the story. They say that plot isn't important in a shooter, the action is. I think the plot helps the action. If characters in a war game have depth, you'll feel bad when one of them dies, because you connected with them. If the villain has a motive, you'll either sympathize with their plight, but damn their methods, or you'll be driven to hate them, and thus it is satisfying to see a bullet shred their skulls. Makarov, as much as I didn't like him as a character, he had depth. You were given a reason to hate him, not just because he at one point massacres a civilian airport, but because of just how low he'll sink to get his way. And thus, finally killing him and ending his mad rampage felt sweet.

There's nothing like that in this game. Rorke is a generic villain who won't fucking die no matter what because the plot keeps finding ways to need him, The federation are just generic US hating enemies from a different part of the world this time, the Ghosts are hollow characters, the plot is riddled with cliches, lazy writing, and copy and pasting from the previous games, without even using the elements that made those games actually enjoyable, and the whole thing just stinks of mediocrity. You can tell this game was only made knowing that Call of Duty fans would buy it. There's lies everywhere to make the game seem like it's doing more, but you only realize too late that that awesome dog is a level gimmick, the characters are lame, and the game just...blows.

And then there's that lame, lame, LAME ending. That stupid plot twist that you knew was literally thrown in at the last moment so that Activision could have an excuse to make another one of these. It was deliberately rushed just so they could go "Well now we HAVE to make a sequel after such a thrilling cliffhanger as that", I'd say I'm disappointed...but I really don't care. And I saw it coming. They will milk this series dry if they haven't already. And as long as people keeping buying them, it'll never end.

Gameplay review:

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