Sitrep: Ghostly bubbles bursting, and why that’s good news for the series

Call of Duty: Ghosts

By on November 8, 2013 at 10:14 am

Possibly like a lot of discerning gamebros (and sisters. ‘Gamesisses’ is a bit Lord Varys, though), I’ve been wondering for ages: When are people going to realise en masse that Call of Duty could stand to stand down? At least until it gets its life together. You can’t just get one awesome haircut and then leave it for years. You’ll end up getting into technical death metal by hirsute default.

…which is awesome, not sure where I was going with that. I guess I started to make a good impression and then totally ruined it straight away by spiralling into irrelevance. Meta as hell and you love it: EXPLOSIONS! Wow! Aaand then whatever. You can read GoN’s thoughts here and here. Though they are salient and interestingly consistent with many other vidya critics across the internet switchboard, they were not the first telling shot fired.

No, that came from Polygon, whose video review happened to leak a teensy bit early and, if you use the internet at least casually and enjoy teh gamez, you know what’s up and why that was such a show-stopping dealie (it involves a six, a dot, and a five). This was interesting to see because traditionally, the bigger outlets seem to be terrified of critiquing the CoD series in any meaningful way. Why this happens is maybe no great my$tery, so the fact that enough seems to have finally been enough for more than one of them signals the day I actually thought would come last year.

Also weird: When Treyarch do it better than Infinity Ward.

As important as video game writers are to the fabric of the universe, sometimes it’s helpful to get an (admittedly anecdotal) view of things yourself. By calling a few JB Hi-Fi’s, let’s say. “Lowest-selling CoD game” was something I heard a few times from the strange duality of unsurprised but disappointed salespeeps. It would not be a massive stretch to say the bargain bins will be overflowing in but a few months.

The final sales figures are not in yet, of course. They’ll still be pretty high, and you will definitely hear about it when the invariable press release zooms around to inform the public/placate shareholders. It’s the necessity of the last part that’ll be a great catalyst for change. Shareholders like numbers. They like high numbers. Not 6.5.

All of this is fantastic for gaming. Not for Activision’s bottom line circa now, but invariably it will be again. Provided they don’t pull a Guitar Hero and slash and burn, the most logical and bestest thing to do would be to go, “OK people really think CoD is sucking, let’s go back to square zero and put in the effort to make it kick ass again.” Overdue, right? With the arrival of the next gen imminent, it’s almost too perfect that CoD’s bubble has seemingly burst.

Let’s face it, big business is never going to do more than it has to to make money unless a dearth of that money starts to whittle ‘big’ into ‘smaller.’ Basically what I’m saying is if you bought a copy of Ghosts you’re worse than smallpox*

*j/k I’m sure you’re an OK person who throws mad shapes on the weekend sometimes

13 comments (Leave your own)

Actually just glanced at Metacritic. While it’s not the be all/end all of what constitutes a good game/bad game it can be an eye opener. Particularly this time, where average critic reviews are around 70-80% across all platforms whereas the user reviews are…much, much lower. (averaging a little over 2) (actually that’s not all platforms, just noticed reviews for the other platforms but they seem to follow suit)


Started Playing Ghosts last night, very disappointed with the Multiplayer, how is it Treyarch achieved better polish and playability on BLOPSII?! All the promise of a new engine once again a (Expletive-deleted) tease.

PC port feels clunky, was hoping that at launch they would have already had dedicated ranked server support (hah, keep teasing us) noticed aim assist appears to work if you attach a controller.

Honestly can’t rate this high enough to justify even the $60 I threw at it, it’s just shoddy DLC that hasn’t passed UAT.

If you want twitchy kill CoD gaming with the standard 300ms interpolation latency, grab Blops2 for $30 don’t waste your time with the dlc either.


My two cents..

I’ve never loved the COD games but I don’t hate them either. I don’t play them online and the single player varies from game to game but it generally entertaining and very short. Having said that, I cannot see how people justify the relatively huge price tag. I will be waiting a long while for Ghosts to be at a price that I would consider to be reasonable. BF4 will just have to do for now ;)


I’d much rather see them “save” COD and make it awesome again than give up on it entirely, but time will tell what happens.



User reviews are useless because of how prone to abuse they are.


Well I’m so happy I didn’t spend the money on Ghosts now. Tested it and it’s utter tripe. No matter how much people defend it, they really should be able to do a better job than blurry texture porting of the console versions. The only scene with hi-res textures is the space station and the only part with any good writing is the intro and the space station. The rest is so terrible it’s makes B-Grade TV only movies look good.

Sorry CoD but you lost it with the P2P gaming and consolisation of your brand. When Activision put the money into developing a good CoD then I’ll look again.



Well yes, as I said myself Metacritic isn’t the be alll/end all of game opinion. That said I’ve looked at user scores for games/movies and then looked at critic scores and occasionally agreed more with the users. One recent example was “Gone Home” where the critics were crawling up the game’s butt like it was the most awesome thing ever created. They must have played a completely different game from me and most of the user reviews, I thought it was bland and uninteresting. There were a few movies I’ve watched this year I’ve felt the same way about too – fun movies but the critics slammed it because…well they’re critics, it’s their job to look down their noses at fun movies.


Metacritic might as well be thumbs up and down, so many zero scores from people who have potentially never played it, and then piles of 10′s from people who love it trying to balance it out.

Is it a 10 game? Probably not, is it a 0? I think that’s exceedingly unlikely, for a game to be a 0 it’d have to not function at all.


I think cod has lived a long and nice life, let it die or leave it in the retirement home. cmon, defibs might work in battlefield, but not on cod ;)


Saw a relevant point raised on reddit today, that a lot of people may simply be waiting for the PS4 or X-Bone to release before buying.


If they want to save this game, they need to create their own engine and build the game for PC primarily and port it over to Xbone and PS4.


“Toby explains how sometimes a better series can be built on the ashes of a few high-profile failures”

NO HE DOESN’T. Toby actually explains how branding and consumer choices maintain the production of poor quality games within a series, but acknowledges the opportunity for improvement in the context of continually improving technology.

I can’t blame you for getting it wrong, this guy is a genius who writes like a retard.



Better than a retard that writes like a genius. ;)

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