A Next-Gen Engine For A Next-Gen Shooter
Call of Duty: Ghosts is the first game in the blockbuster series for the upcoming, next generation of consoles, and to mark the occasion developer Infinity Ward has added new graphics technology to its long-standing engine.
Fancy new Sub-D tech fills the world with more polygons (the triangles that make up a 3D video game's geometry) than ever before, so objects appear more realistic as you move closer to them. You'll notice weapon sights appear more rounded, and your soldier's hands will be smoother. And because of the power of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, new higher resolution textures, high-dynamic-range lighting and tessellation effects all mean you'll notice even the hairs on your soldier's arm, and the dirt beneath his fingernails.
Ghosts' environments will also benefit from this graphical lick of paint. Light peers through dense jungle foliage, and it casts shadows in real time. Step into a cave that's set behind a waterfall and you'll see mist rising from the water. Make no mistake: Call of Duty: Ghosts is the best-looking Call of Duty to date.
Defending The Home Front
And its world is a brand new one too. Rather than make the expected Modern Warfare 4, Infinity Ward has instead opted for new characters and a new plot, set in a new universe. The story, penned by Oscar-winning Traffic scriptwriter Stephen Gaghan, casts the US as the underdog against a mystery new superpower that's risen to prominence after a devastating world event.
15 years later, you, the player, one of two brothers who grew up amid the apocalypse, are a member of the Ghosts, a crack team of soldiers modelled on the real-life Navy SEAL Team Six - the team that shot to fame for taking down Osama bin Laden. Put simply, the Ghosts are our last hope in the fight against this new enemy.
To help you in this thankless task is a virtual German Shepherd called Riley who'll sniff out explosives. To get the in-game animations just right, Infinity Ward drafted in a Navy SEAL and his dog for a series of motion capture sessions. The real-life soldier told the developers he'd do anything for his best friend, and the developers hope players will eventually come to love their canine companion just as much.
For many millions of Call of Duty fans, competitive multiplayer is the only reason to play. Infinity Ward is yet to explain how the multiplayer will work exactly, but it has said there will be new dynamic maps that include map-changing events. These might include earthquakes or even floods, and are sure to keep even the most veteran Call of Duty players on their toes. And there will even be explosive traps waiting to ruin your impressive kill-to-death ratio.
As for the gameplay, there's a new mantle system that lets you leap over walls and other objects without losing momentum, there's a new lean feature for poking in and out of cover, and there's also new slide move - great for getting out of the line of fire quickly. Character customisation will let you swap our your helmet, among other things, so you can stand out on the battlefield.
Despite its new threads, Ghosts looks very much like a game that's setting out to recreate the explosive action that fans of Modern Warfare have come to expect. The silky-smooth visuals whiz along at 60 frames per second, and - given the power of the next-generation of consoles - we may even get to enjoy them at a super-high 1080p resolution. Either way, it's time to flex that trigger finger because COD is back, and it looks better than ever before.
Please Note: the screenshots above are from next generation consoles and are not a clear graphical representation of Call of Duty: Ghosts on current generation consoles