We are at that time of the year once again; Call of Duty is set to return with the next installment in the franchise. Grand Theft Auto V arrived in September and managed to break records for sales in entertainment. No doubt this damaged Activision’s ego as the COD franchise had held this crown for many years. They will be eager to reclaim this accolade back from Rockstar. Expectations are high for this new title and it is time to delve into the VGU.TV preview for Call of Duty: Ghosts.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is set to be the first title in the series which will be featured on both current and next-generation consoles. It will be the 10th installment in the franchise and the sixth title to be developed by Infinity Ward. COD rotates itself annually under the two-studio system of Infinity Ward and Treyarch. The new Infinity Ward will be under a lot of pressure to revitalize the COD franchise and bring back many fans who have become dissatisfied with the direction the series has been heading in. In my own views, the company is a shadow of its former self and Activision is to blame for this after they sacked Jason West (the president) and Vince Zampella (CEO and co-founder of Infinty Ward) in 2010. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 was poor from the series standards, and this Infinity Ward need to puts it foot down with this new title. They need to deliver a vastly improved product in Ghosts and bring back a positive mood to the series.

Jason West and Vince Zampella

The central focus of this Call of Duty will be on its multiplayer. This factor isn’t fundamental for everyone but it still remains the integral core that the franchise built its reputation on. COD: Ghosts will apply the standard changes that each new title receives which includes a new arsenal of weapons, killstreaks and multiplayer modes. However there will be new additions that this COD will bring in that hasn’t featured in previous titles, such as female characters. This addition has been long overdue but it will be warmly welcomed by fans. It will integrate into the ever-expanding customization that has continued to develop since its introduction in Call of Duty: Black Ops. Ghosts looks like the title which is set to push the multiplayer customization to its limits. There will be 10 custom classes which have their own unique character and load-outs assigned.  This will combine with the Prestige Mode that the franchise is known for. All unlockables will be kept once a player decides to prestige and this will work on each class once.

There will be some new additions to the gameplay in Ghosts which includes a leaning system for cover, mantling objects and knee slide. The ability to lean and shoot around obstacles, fluidly mantling over cover and shooting whilst sliding will bring in different tactical approaches that people can create. Finally the deathstreak feature has been removed from the series and there has been a significant shift in new killstreak features. Air-based killstreaks have been heavily reduced which includes one of the long-standing steaks available UAV, now being ground based. Riley, the K9, will also be a killstreak and the developers have put every little detail into it which includes him barking, warning that enemies are nearby.

Call of Duty Ghosts Riley

Call of Duty: Ghosts will also receive two additional game modes which will expand the multiplayer roster. First up is Search and Rescue, essentially a hybrid of Search & Destroy and Kill Confirmed in which the objective is simple; eliminate the enemy team and collect their dog tags with allies being revivable if their tags haven’t been retrieved. The second mode, Cranked, seems more of a comical game mode. This takes a spin off Team Deathmatch as once you successfully kill a player you become “cranked”. The player must kill again within 30 seconds or they’ll explode. One of the developers must have thought of the concept whilst watching Jason Statham in Crank.

The knife mechanic was another feature that I frequently picked up on in Ghosts. The knife has always been a broken mechanic in previous COD titles and people have constantly cried out for change to happen. It would be aggravating when someone ran around using a Tactical Knife in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This wasn’t due to the play style but rather the lack of animation in the knife. This meant that you could be swiped with a knife in the leg and you’d be dead. It was absolutely ridiculous and pathetic to see in the COD series. The trailer for the multiplayer had an animation feature for knife kills. The mechanic has been well overdue and I’m happy to see the franchise finally embracing the change. I’m not sure whether the animation will apply to the standard knife as I only saw it for the tactical one but hopefully it does apply to both.

Not everyone will be interested in the online multiplayer for COD which is why the introduction of ‘Squads’ will be enjoyable for both online and single player people. Anyone who is familiar with Modern Warfare 3 will know that Squads is essentially an upgraded development of Spec-Ops mode. Squads will offer the opportunity for gamers to form squads of soldiers which they can take online through competitive, co-op, or solo play. Their progress will be fed directly into the multiplayer XP which can allow them to rank-up their online features like characters, equipment and weapon unlocks. Squads is an interesting addition which will be popular for people who enjoyed zombie mode in Treyarch’s COD titles.

Call of Duty Ghosts Squads

Graphically, COD isn’t the most stunning franchise and I expect there will be a huge gap between the current and next-gen versions. Ghosts will feature all the action based cutscenes which previous Infinity Ward titles have used. It seems more like a Michael Bay feature with each new title. However the environment is something which does look quite detailed and an interesting addition in the gameplay. In the online portion, players will be able to interact with the environment and use it to their advantage. Players will have to be more aware of their surroundings as it could benefit them or lead to an early death. COD doesn’t tend to craft the most incredible music but rather uses the firepower of renowned musicians. Eminem has returned to the series once again with his new song from The Marshall Mathers LP2, Survival. They have heavily promoted the song in the Ghosts trailers and  Eminem himself also appeared in a cameo during the mutliplayer reveal back in August.

I’ve never really been too keen on the COD story but this one will follow a similar theme which has been echoed in previous installments. Taking place after the United States has fallen, an elite unit known as the Ghosts are trying to take back their homeland. They must use unorthodox means of fighting such as guerrilla warfare in an attempt to reclaim their country. Riley the dog,as mentioned before, will be in the story as both a companion and a playable character. Co-written by Academy Award winner Stephen Gaghan, the franchise is setting itself up to take a giant leap forward in terms of the narrative.

The Call of Duty series may have a strong fan base but with imminent arrival of Battlefield 4 and Respawn Entertainment’s Titanfall arriving next year, Infinity Ward will have to face some stiff competition in the FPS genre. They need to recapture the public mood with COD and bring back many of their disgruntled fans. My expectations aren’t high for the title due to the lack of substance in previous installments but I do hope that Ghosts will prove to be something new for the franchise.

Call of Duty: Ghosts will launch for the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 5th. It will also be a launch title for both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 when the consoles arrive. Players will be able to cross-transfer their progress they have made between the current and next generation systems. Head back to VGU.TV for the full review once the game is released.

VGU.TV Call of Duty: Ghosts Review.