Call of Duty: Ghosts Multiplayer Hands-On Preview

August 14, 2013Written by Joseph Fait


During the Activision conference earlier today, there was mention of the “oh shit” moments that happen so often while playing online in Call of Duty, and Infinity Ward plans to bring multiplayer gaming to a whole new level with Ghosts.

Concepts have been dropped that many would think of as the core design facets of CoD’s multiplayer. This might sound scary to the die-hard fans, but those concepts of yesteryear have been let go in favor of some slick new ideas that keep combat flowing at a faster pace, and the ideas work beautifully. Today I had the opportunity to sit down and play the new multiplayer mode, and it’s by far the best Call of Duty has ever been.

Call of Duty has a new star this year, and his name is Riley. In case you didn’t know, Riley is the vicious and adorable dog that is a part of your squad in single player, he also happens to be a killstreak perk for all your multiplayer needs. During the round I played, Riley felt like more than just a regular teammate, he would growl when an opposing team member was close, he would help me take them down, and quite often he’d kill the person if I had already died. The amount of versatility he brings to players who like to go lone wolf is invaluable; Riley is basically like two perks, an extra person to watch your back, and your lovable pooch, he’s a killstreak that I can’t find any reason to change out for anything else.

The perk system has also received a complete overhaul, some have stayed, some have been removed, and, most notably, perks now work on a point system. You have a total of eight points available to spend on perks, but the thing is that different perks cost anywhere from one to four points, so you have to figure out if you want to have a lot of low level perks that might not be as helpful, or if you just want two perks that suit you. While under regular conditions, you’re stuck with just those eight points, but Infinity Ward is also giving players the chance to have even more perk points by not having a side-arm or grenades equipped. For my playstyle, I went for a few perks that cost two points and a few that cost only one. On the surface, this doesn’t sound like a big change, but for competitive players, the idea of having more than the usual amount of perks equipped is astounding.

One huge idea that is new to Call of Duty is the addition of destructible sections in levels. No, not destructible cover, but specific sections of maps can change impacting the level either dramatically or just to a minor degree. During one of the multiplayer bouts – and this is going to sound vague because I really don’t know what or how it happened – some type of bomb went off and the entire level layout was completely different. Sure, you found some familiar aspects in the ruined rubble, but as far layout and flow of the map, not a single thing remained. While that’s more on the dramatic side, some of the smaller instances include an explosion that decimates the side of a building, leaving a new hole for someone to peek out of and shoot you – that may not sound like much, but these slight changes to the line of sight really can keep you on your toes.


Another, albeit smaller, change is the melee attack. Instead of just mashing R3 per usual and swinging away until you get a quick kill, now when you get the kill there is a substantial amount of time commitment involved. While playing, the knife change seemed to slow down the tempo of close quarter fights. I constantly had to think if it was worth the time and if I thought someone would run up and easily gun me down. In the middle of an open part of a map though, melee always seemed like the worst possible option, even if you were already right next to the opposing force, which felt odd for a Call of Duty game, but it’s something that players will get use to.

The biggest question on most of your minds is probably  “How are the graphics?” To answer simply: much better. To be more precise, the first thing I noticed as being a huge jump in quality is the explosions. Now there just seems to be much more impact, smoke is thicker and hangs around longer than what we’re used to in Call of Duty. Most of the extra horsepower looks like it went into their particle system – those things are everywhere now, in smoke, flash bangs, and just debris floating around levels. To be clear, though, we did not play on Xbox One dev units or PS4, we played on PC, so some differences may happen. The version we played was running at full 1080p (snooped around in the options) and what felt like a pretty fluid 60 frames per second.

Gone are quite a bit of annoyances players found in the past games. Martyrdom, gone. Last stand, gone. Not to mention death streaks are completely removed from Ghosts. It finally looks like Infinity Ward is taking quite a bit of the community feedback into consideration and just removing a lot of what people didn’t care for, instead of just trying to rework the ideas.

Call of Duty: Ghosts is looking to impress this fall when it releases, multiplayer is an outstandingly polished product already, and what I’ve seen from single player makes it seem like Ghosts will be the full package, but it’s Call of Duty, we already knew they would have their stuff together.