PLAYSTATION 4/XBOX ONE ANALYSIS: In this section, we will discuss our opinions on the superior Playstation 4 and Xbox One versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts. To get an extended feel for what the story, multiplayer maps & modes and other components of the game are like, read our detailed review of the current generation versions of the game below this section. This passage will talk about the improvements to the game in comparison to the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.

Graphical improvement is a major aspect of the upgrades. Call of Duty has always been a little sub-par in terms of graphics in comparison to other games, which was likely due to lack of resources. Now that next gen has landed, the development team have used the extra resources to give graphical performance an upgrade, and it has improved quite substantially.

The textures are far more detailed on the next generation versions. Particularly in character models, a lot more detail can be seen in areas like the face and hair. Lighting has also been given a bit of a tweak, and overall the game looks far more polished. It isn’t quite at the ‘astonishing’ level of graphical the scale, but, it is a very substantial improvement from the current generation versions. I expect next year’s release to make even better use of the new technology.

As you may have heard, Ghosts on Playstation 4 runs at 1080p while the Xbox One version of the game runs at 720p upscaled to 1080p. I have played both the Playstation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game, and there isn’t a huge difference, but it is noticeable on a larger TV. You can see a small difference in the clarity of the games. Both versions run at 60 frames per second, and despite the difference in resolution, both look great and are the best we have seen from Call of Duty yet.

Some other small improvements in mechanics and gameplay have been made, but most aren’t very noticeable individually. The game just seems to play a little smoother overall, and definitely is a great release for fans of the series. The next generation versions certainly make a considerable improvement on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, and are a worthy upgrade. Please read on for full information on the campaign and multiplayer. The scores have been updated at the end of the article to reflect the next generation versions.

ORIGINAL PS3/XBOX360 REVIEW (9th Nov 2013 at 22.16): Today we have our review of the current generation versions of Call of Duty: Ghosts. We will be bringing you a next-gen review closer to the time of launch, and we will be able to test both the PS4 and Xbox One versions to give you a comparison. For now anyway, lets talk about the current generation version of the game. This review will also serve as our review of the story and content, as these will be static between the current/next gen versions. The next gen versions will focus on improvements and graphics.

Ghosts is Infinity Ward’s latest entry into the Call of Duty series, and brings back a lot of their of classic elements, and adds a few new ones, most notably the new Extinction game mode, but more on that later. Unfortunately, there isn’t all that much new, but, still, more has changed than has been in some previous releases. It brings back the best Call of Duty elements, makes a few tweaks and adds a few of its own spins too.

To start, the campaign. In a not-so-distant future, ‘The Federation’ comes to power in South America and rivals the dominance of the United States. It uses all of its weapons and power to attack the US, and destroys almost half of it, ending its major influence across the globe. What is remaining of the United States goes to battle for years and this is where we get the name ‘Ghosts’. These are a group of the elite special forces, who team up with a pair of brothers (the main characters of the campaign) in an attempt to take down the Federation.

The campaign remains pretty well paced the whole way through, although, in the middle, it drifts away from the key point at the center of the plot for a while. One of the nice things is the range of locations in which the missions are based, which are far more varied and fresh than before. There is a mission set entirely underwater, another allows you to play in space, a number of missions involve playing as Riley, the dog which has been heavily advertised by the team and several other styles of play which haven’t been adopted by Call of Duty before. You also get a chance to explore tropical waters (which have sharks, so be careful!), snow-covered mountainous regions and a jungle, all of which make the campaign stay very fresh across the entire story.

Of course, even though America has lost most of its power, you still have an arsenal of state-of-the-art weaponry, the latest technologically advanced equipment, air-support from choppers and explosives. Despite the range of settings, the game still is rather linear and there is not much scope for variation, however, this is what we expect from most FPS campaigns, and particularly Call of Duty. Overall, I think the campaign has been very well crafted.

Graphically, well, the game does not look great. The PC version and next-gen versions are far superior, and offer a lot more visually. The PS3 and Xbox 360 versions aren’t awful, but they haven’t improved graphically in comparison to their predecessors, and in some cases, don’t look quite as good, due to the more demanding game physics and elements. The level design however, is excellent, and really makes the campaign one of the best Call of Duty stories yet.

Heading over to multiplayer, we have a few changes and improvements. The menu and in-game UI have had huge overhauls, and don’t look like Call of Duty anymore. The UI and menu screens are a lot more clean and modern in a design aspect, and look great. A lot of changes have been made to gamemodes and the custom class section, which we will go into detail about down a little further. Although the game might not have the biggest overhaul ever, the multiplayer aspect has still had a lot of worthwhile changes, and I do feel like Ghosts is a worthy upgrade.

In terms of the class system, the Pick 10 system in Black Ops 2 has been adapted to be focused on perks. You now have 8 perk points, which can be used towards any of the 35 perks present in the game (which we detailed here), all of which have different costs of use. These 8 points can be increased up as far as 12 by giving up your primary and secondary weapons, and your lethal and tactical grenades (1 point for each). On top of the perk system, primary weapons with up to two attachments, secondary weapons with up to one attachment, lethal grenades, tactical grenades and killstreaks are all also customisable in your class.

Ghosts brings back MW3’s killstreak system, in which you can choose assault, support or specialist. Assault is the classic killstreak system, with all types of ground and air support options making a return for varying kill chain amounts. Support is similar to the classic killstreak system, except the killstreak does not reset after death and finally specialist works in the same manner as assault, but allows you to choose extra perks rather than normal killstreak rewards.

A number of gamemodes also make a return, including Team Deathmatch, Free-for-All, Domination, Kill Confirmed, MW3’s Infected and Search and Destroy. A huge number of new gamemodes have also been introduced, which we have explained below:

BLITZ: This game mode gives you the task of entering a small enemy zone at their spawn point to earn points. After entry, your team scores points and you are teleported back to your spawn point. The first team to reach a certain number of points wins.

CRANKED: After killing an enemy, you are given double XP and a speed boost for 30 seconds, however, you must get another kill before these 30 seconds elapse, otherwise, you will detonate and incur a death.

GRIND: Similar to Kill Confirmed, in which you must collect dog tags, however, in this mode, you must return them to a marker in order to score points for your team.

HUNTED: You must battle in order to control weapon drops, as supplies are limited. This mode is available in free-for-all and team modes.

SEARCH AND RESCUE: Similar to ‘Search and Destroy’, however, in addition to trying to destroy the enemy objective, you must collect dog tags to allow or deny certain players a respawn.

There is also a ‘Ghosts Moshpit’ available to those who have the Free-Fall map which involves random game modes across a number of maps. Hardcore variations of a few of these modes are available, and finally, a Clan Wars mode is available. It is interesting to see that the team introduced such a selection of new game modes, and these make a nice change to the multiplayer formula which keeps it feeling a little more fresh than before.

I found all the new game modes very enjoyable, particularly ‘Cranked’ and ‘Blitz’. My two favourite modes, ‘Domination’ and ‘Kill Confirmed’ have also made a return, although ‘Demolition’ has been removed, a game mode which I enjoyed quite a bit in previous entries. Overall, the new game modes are valuable additions to the lineup and are very fun to play, although, the gamemode listing is a little light overall, and I would have liked a few more past modes to make a return. In the next gen versions, there may be alteration to the lineup, so, we will keep you posted in our next-gen review!

A new range of multiplayer maps have been created for Ghosts, and are quite different to the traditional style maps. Many of them are larger in area than previous maps (although small maps still are present!), and each map has its own distinct theme. Most of them are completely different to the types of maps we have seen before, and it is clear that a lot of work has been put into their designed. We have maps ranging from an old battlefield of destroyed castles, one based in a prison, another taking place in a Los Angeles of rubble and another based around an area which has suffered the destruction of a dam. Of course, we also have the FreeFall pre-order map, which takes place on a collapsing skyscraper. The full list of maps are below:

– Chasm
– Flooded
– Free Fall (pre-order only)
– Freight
– Octane
– Overload
– Prison Break
– Seige
– Sovereign
– Stonehaven
– Strikezone
– Stormfront
– Tremor
– Warhawk
– Whiteout

There is a great selection of multiplayer maps in the game, with a few of them shining as very popular maps which may rise into the category of best Call of Duty maps. Overall, it is one of the best launch lineup of maps I have seen in Call of Duty, with plenty of variation. Unfortunately, the graphical issues and slightly limited gamemode lineup does bring the game down a notch, but it still is very enjoyable.

Another issue is the lower number of players. The current-gen versions of the game only supports 6 players per team, rather than the usual 8 players per team. This is rather noticeable on the larger maps of the game, rather than the tightly-packed ones. There is nothing present which compares to Battlefield 4’s ‘levolution’ mechanic in which the maps can be majorly altered mid-game, although we may see more of that in the next-gen release (again, stick with us for the review later this month).

Unfortunately, Extinction mode doesn’t come close to zombies. The new alien-based game mode involves you carrying a drill from hive to hive, destroying them as you are attacked by hordes of aliens. It seems fun at first, however, there isn’t enough variation to make it fun over a long period and it lacks heavily in comparison to Treyarch’s iconic zombies game mode (which I am very partial to). You may get some fun from Extinction, but don’t going in expecting it to be on par with zombies quality.

Overall, the current gen versions offer slight improvements and a couple of major changes over the classic elements of the Call of Duty series, but don’t shine in terms of graphics, perhaps even looking slightly worse than previous iterations (likely due to a heavier load from mechanics). If you are a big fan of Call of Duty, it is definitely worth picking up the current gen version as you wait for the next-gen versions, particularly on PS3. At most retailers, the current gen version is cheaper than the next gen version, and if you buy the PS3 version, you will be able to pick up the PS4 version for just £10/€10/$10, which usually totals the same cost as the next gen version alone. The game isn’t as ‘next-gen’ focused as we expected, and it seems we will be waiting until Treyarch’s 2014 Call of Duty before we get the true next-gen experience.

Please see the start of the article for the PS4 and Xbox One review update