'Ghosts' looks to keep 'COD' on top

Spook 'em up?

Spook 'em up?

Peter Nelis, ClickOnline.com

, Last Updated: 12:53 PM ET

If we had to choose one series that defines the current generation of gaming, it would undoubtedly be Activision's Call of Duty, and even then, it wasn't until Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in 2007 that the series really hit the stratosphere.

Since that title launched, Call of Duty has found itself sitting atop the first-person shooter pyramid, untouchable by the competition in terms of sales, popularity and, for the most part, critical acclaim. It's now the de facto title in its genre, known by gamers and non-gamers alike as the poster child for the HD generation, and with November's Call of Duty: Ghosts, it's looking to not only cement that position, but establish itself as a mainstay for the next generation.

Although it's likely that we'll be seeing ports of future titles hitting Xbox 360 and PS3 for years to come, it's Ghosts that will be seen as the series' swansong before the PS4 and Xbox One establish themselves, so it's arguably more important than ever for Infinity Ward and Activision that expectations are not only met, but surpassed in every way, especially given the fact that DICE's Battlefield 4 looks like pushing it hard for gamers' money.

So what does Infinity Ward have up its sleeve to ensure superiority is maintained? As an all-new branch in the series, Ghosts takes place within its own distinct timeline. A catastrophe has changed the balance of global power, and the United States is forced to fight to preserve society within its own borders. What remains of the Special Forces has banded together to create an all new team of elite warriors known as Ghosts, and it's their job to keep the peace and ensure that no further ground is given to the enemy.

In terms of storyline, it's a brave move from Infinity Ward to relegate the U.S. to the position of underdog, but it's one that holds much potential, especially since Ghosts is very much an exercise in polishing the absolute crap out of a well-established formula, rather than attempting to reinvent things for the sake of it. Even the next-gen versions of the game, while looking stunning, certainly don't break any moulds, but rather deliver almost exactly what gamers expect from Call of Duty.

When all that is said and done, though, it's worth pointing out that there are some features here that will both surprise and impress. For starters, you'll be able to play as a dog on occasion. Yup, you're reading that correctly, at key moments in certain missions, you'll be able to commandeer, as it were, the canine member of your squad in order to access areas that would otherwise be unreachable, distract the enemy so that your team can get behind their lines and take them out, or just go nuts (or for them) and try to take your foes down. It's a neat addition, but only time will tell whether it's been worthwhile or not.

The other notable new features are the inclusion of underwater sections for the first time in the series, and a vastly improved destruction engine. It's the latter that holds the most interest for us, particularly since Infinity Ward has chosen to show off a level that includes a collapsing skyscraper, much like the one seen in Battlefield 4 - talk about going toe to toe!

It's the multiplayer mode where this new destruction engine should have the greatest impact, though, as maps will dynamically change to reflect the carnage taking place. This is accompanied by all new animations and movements like leaning and sliding, which could potentially change the way players compete online forever.

Despite suffering with a little COD burnout of late, we're genuinely looking forward to Ghosts, and if it can deliver on its early promise, we wouldn't rule it out from surprising some of you skeptics! The battlefield awaits - literally!


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