Call of Duty: Ghosts PC Review – Where’d All the Frames Go?
This review is for the PC version of Call of Duty: Ghosts, and mostly addresses features specific to that platform. For a more detailed evaluation of the game’s single and multiplayer modes, read our previous review of the PS4 version. This review was conducted with a digital copy of the game provided by Activision.
When I booted up Call of Duty: Ghosts on PC for the first time, I was hoping that things would be different. It’s the only version we weren’t shown at the review event where I played the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 versions of the game for the initial review and sadly, it’s quite clear why.
- CPU: AMD Phenom X4 II 980 BE
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570
- RAM: G.SKILL Sniper 8GB
- OS: Windows 7 64-bit
- CPU Cooler: Corsair H100
Normally, the PC version is what publishers and developers can’t wait to show off. A well endowed gaming PC allows developers to show off the game at its very best, but after putting in some time with the final PC version, it’s clear that isn’t the case with Call of Duty: Ghosts. In fact, the PC version seems to have more issues all around than any of the console versions. It suffers from a terrible frame rate, texture pop-in and lag issues, and yet manages to look quite decent when it works. It’s a hard sell, especially for those used to high-quality PC experiences.
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Platform: PC [Reviewed], Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3
Developer: Infinity Ward
Release Date: Nov. 5, 2013
Campaign and Multiplayer don’t align
While some may play Call of Duty for the single player campaign narrative, Ghosts manages to provide a campaign that isn’t just serviceable, but actually quite fun. The Federation, a South American coalition of unexplained forces, start to invade the United States, taking over cities by…well, by blowing half of them up with a militarized space satellite that they commandeered from the United States. Yeah, they use their own weapon against them.
You play as Logan Walker as he and his brother, Hesh Walker, join an ultra-elite group of special forces simply called “Ghosts.” From here everything is all set pieces (like space and underwater battles!) mixed with minimal story exposition between missions, but it somehow pulls together to form a tight narrative package.
Unfortunately, Ghosts’ multiplayer isn’t as strong. In fact, it’s pretty weak on a fundamental level. Everything you know about multiplayer (except for maybe “shoot that guy!”) has been changed to force Ghosts’ new “Squads mode” on you. You no longer have one soldier. Instead, you have ten different soldiers that all carry their own progress and unlocks, meaning that nothing carries over, so you’ll have to unlock it all again if you play on switching between them. On top of that, the new maps and game types fall flat for the most part.
Despite the gameplay being more contained, the maps are larger and don’t have the same flow that series fans have come to expect. This continues in reference to the spawn system as well, which makes no sense at all, often leaving you to get shot in the back by someone who spawns with you in the crosshairs. It happens far too often and will leave you screaming at your TV, especially when it prevents you from activating a killstreak.
Blitz, Search and Rescue, and Grind are all notable new game types, but their replacement of series’ favorites like Capture the Flag and Search and Destroy is odd and a mistake. Blitz is essentially a Capture the Flag mode where you just have to get to the enemy team’s portal (flag) before you’re teleported back to your base with a point on the scoreboard. It moves really fast and feels different than anything else in rotation, but if you get in the wrong group, it can easily turn into a battle of who can camp the enemy portal the best.
All Them Graphics
Graphically, Ghosts doesn’t look too noticeably different on PC than it does on Xbox One or PS4. There’s some slight changes to the lighting and textures, most notable during the campaign, and it obviously runs at a higher resolution, but it’s nothing to call home about, even with a high-end graphics card backing it up.
While you can certainly mess with settings and tune it to your specific setup, most of the options are locked behind confusing menus that don’t explain how to unlock them. They’re grayed out and unselectable. It’s just really odd and confusing throughout. It’s not surprising for a game that stumbles with menu design in other areas, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.