Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Call of Duty: Ghosts

Next-gen arrives with Call of Duty: Ghosts

1:00 PM on 05.21.2013 // Dale North

This is the future

I have seen the future, and I'm here to tell you that it's a bit different from what you're probably expecting. Actually, I've seen two different futures. One is Infinity Ward's version of our country's future, in which America is crippled and our government in disarray. We're now the underdogs, fighting a war against superior forces. This is the setting for their latest, Call of Duty: Ghosts.

The other future I've seen is the that of console videogames. Call of Duty: Ghosts is our first real look at what we can expect from the PS4 and Microsoft's upcoming system. No crystal balls or concept art here -- we've seen real next-gen gameplay and the technological advancements that make it possible.

As scary as the future may be in both cases, we're looking forward to it.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (current and next-gen systems)
Developer: Infinity Ward
Publisher: Activision
Release: 2013

As you're reading this, Microsoft is likely unveiling their next system. And while Activision didn't come right out and say it during this preview event, they let us know in so many words that what we were seeing was next-generation gameplay, just like you might experience on a PS4 or the new Xbox. I suspect we'll hear that this preview you're about to read is from Next Xbox footage, and if that's the case, it's safe to be excited about next-gen.

Fans of the biggest videogame franchise are going to want to see what makes next-gen so much better than the current one. My first impression is that the difference is subtle and lies more in the details. From what I've seen, the first Call of Duty for the upcoming consoles doesn't do as much for gameplay as it does for graphics. That's not a bad thing, mind you, and I'm sure we'll hear more about gameplay advancements in the coming months. They're just showing off the shiny first, which makes sense.

Gamers accustomed to high-end PC graphics may be used to looking for the details, so they'll instantly notice the high-resolution textures, high asset count, fancy particle and lighting effects, and fine polish. Your casual gamers will just lose their shit and then go put their pre-order money down on their next console. Ghosts looks to be about what I expected: a really great-looking PC game running on a high-end rig.

Ghosts uses some internally developed technologies to bring that aforementioned level of polish to the screen. They took talent from Hollywood to incorporate the film industry's SubD tech into their game. This allows the visual fidelity and polygon count to increase in realtime as you move closer to the object, meaning that jagged edges on objects like your gun scope are perfectly smooth and round. In-engine wireframe demonstrations showed the effect toggled on and off. Off, you could could count the polygons on a gun scope; on, it looked to add thousands of polygons to just the scope alone, making it round, smooth, and realistic looking. SubD is used on everything from the weapons to scenery, and seeing the differences in the toggled examples was like night and day. Plain, blocky objects are taken by the engine and beefed up in realtime: impressive stuff.

Examples of displacement mapping were also shown off and were equally impressive. An in-engine scene showing a rushing riverbed in the mountains looked positively photorealistic. When the displacement mapping was turned off, fine details like riverbed rocks became a flat texture. The textures on cliff walls and in the river implied a lot of geometry, but they were actually flat. With wireframe on and displacement turned back on, we could see tiny polygons popping up everywhere, altering the texture to have more depth. The game engine uses these textures to create geometry, taking textures from flat to realistic.

This and one other demonstration showcased many additional technologies, including HDR lighting, iris adjustment, volumetric lighting, self-casting shadows, specular mapping particle effects, and more. The technological terms don't mater. What matters is that vistas looked real. In side-by-side comparisons with similar scenes from Modern Warfare 3, well, I wanted to sell my current-gen console. Weapons, environments, and even the player's arm showed such a leap in quality over current generation games that I now feel like I've been underestimating next-gen gaming. Oh, and all of this is running at 60 frames per second.

IW did touch on some gameplay enhancements after showing off the visual tech. There's a new mantle system as well as a new lean-in/lean-out feature. You can also slide to get out of the line of fire, which looks really cool.

They've also revamped multiplayer, though they didn't go into much detail. We do know that maps are now dynamic, so expect events like earthquakes and floods to change the terrain. There's also character customization, so you'll be able to choose heads, bodies, helmets, gear, and more, with much more depth than in the past.

One new addition is especially cute: a dog is now part of your squad. He's not just a tool, either. He'll work for you, sniffing out explosives and such, and you'll care about him. I'm not kidding about how cute he is, either.

Seeing all of these in-engine examples and demonstrations was one thing, but seeing actual gameplay had much more impact. Activision called it a sneak peek and told us that we'll see the full shebang at E3 during Sony's press conference. But this sneak peek was good enough.

The live play takes place during an underwater dive. One other squad member pushes through the water in front of the player, moving past chunky coral and impossibly realistic looking schools of fish. The light filtering from above down through the seaweed and bubbles looks straight out of a Hollywood movie.

The player passes through wreckage (you can even see his hands, as if swimming) a bit before encountering enemies near a downed ship. An underwater firefight takes place as craft probe headlights move in the distance. 

After a bit of a time skip, the two swim faster through some wreckage as the water shakes -- it seems depth charges are coming from above. The lighting from the explosions is fantastic, but they're nothing compared to the underwater missile that the player guides to a ship. The explosion is massive and highly cinematic, but there's no time to appreciate it as some kind of suction has been caused by the explosion. The player is caught under the wreckage, hand bleeding and air tube waving freely in the water. The demonstration concludes but the scene does not resolve as the two swim frantically past falling metal debris, underwater gunfire, probes, and now larger ships overhead.

In a word? Impressive. The in-engine demos, the gameplay, all of it. Very impressive. And if this entire presentation is what they call a tease, they must have much more to show of Call of Duty: Ghosts. We all probably have a picture of what we expect next-gen console gaming to look like. I didn't expect that finally seeing it would actually beat what I was imagining, though. It's a tough place to be in to be the very first out of the gate, but it looks like Infinity Ward is absolutely ready for the future.

Photo Gallery: (7 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DaleNorth Tips
I am Destructoid's Editor-In-Chief. I love corgis. I make music. more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Call of Duty: Ghosts

  Jun 02

Davy Jones' Locker awaits thee in Call of Duty: Ghosts Invasion

That Departed trailer looks like someone's been watching a lot of Tarantino

  Apr 19

Dumb Idiot Ideas: Voice pack mistakes

WARNING: Intended for dummies and idiots only

  Apr 04

This is what it's like to play as the Predator in the new Call of Duty DLC

Call of Duty: Ghosts Devastation DLC now out for Xbox One/Xbox 360

  Mar 31

The Predator confirmed for Call of Duty: Ghosts DLC

You know, Arnold and Danny Glover's Predator

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Summer Wars: The Video Gameā€¦.I mean Digimon: Cyber Sleuth

Gaming's Beautiful People #4: Valentine's Day Special OR Love Multi-Kills

Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky Import Review

Stupid Teens Do Stupid Things: An Oxenfree Critique

A blog test. Brought to you by Buckner & Garcia

Cblogs of 2/11/16, 2/12/16 + Firethoughts

PS+ Games of the Month January 2016 - Feat. GajKnight and SolarPonyDjango

Your Opinions On Racing Games Are Stupid

The Nerds Have Won

Emily Wants To Play has come to mobile (and I wish it would go away again)

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Joe Parlock avatarJoe Parlock
I spent all last night playing Day of Defeat: Source. If only Valve gave it even half the attention it did to TF2 or CS:S...
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Nearing Platinum status.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Parismio avatarParismio
Sheesh i played metal gear rising before and Platinum ruined the franchise.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Toonami is running a poll right now at [url][/url] where one of the questions is which show you'd want un-cancelled. Oh, Teen Titans is included? That's curious...
SlyTAdvantage avatarSlyTAdvantage
"The Ravagers dropped the giant insects and waited for them to evolve ... it's clear. This is their plan from the start" -EDF 4.1 scientist So dragons are evolved forms of ants, spiders and/or wasps ....... what?
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
Every time I hear "I don't understand why people like _____ game", I get annoyed. Of course you understand, if you've listened to what those people were saying. You just don't agree, and that's A-OK. I HATE Twilight, but I understand why people like it.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just tried playing the first Bayonetta game... it was really bad. Honestly I don't understand why Platinum games are so well regarded. None of them are really worthwhile.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
The first person I block is the person who talks shit about Platinum
Torchman avatarTorchman
Even though your waifus are shit
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
Finally, a blog that I can call my own, I feel accomplished somehow.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Gonna be honest; this really made my day.
Rico the Penguin avatarRico the Penguin
I doubt I'll use it much but I'm totally fine with a block/ignore feature. Everyone has a right to speak, but I don't think anyone has a right to be heard. If this place played country music I'd want a mute button, basically :p.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Mall haul today (plus I split a BEAUTIFUL Star Wars Slave I with my brother). Any thoughts on Haze? Wanted to play it back when it came out and I had no PS3. For a dollar you can't go wrong!
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I'm not gonna lie, I don't feel "good" about the upcoming "ignore" feature. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea that people can mute other people because they don't agree with them. Spammers and trolls, sure, but not regular community members.
Gundy avatarGundy
Oh man. Those Next Gen transformations in Megadimension Neptunia are legit as fuck!
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
The first thing I do when I see clickbait is click on it and complain about clickbait.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Wow, uh, after having a lovely time with Kirby Air Ride, I decided to try playing some melee, for old times sake... I pretty much disliked my whole time with it. More details in a comment if I get around to it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Help me gather games for a new blog series - "Worst Sequels Ever"
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
The backend code on the site so fun to read. Going through some of Julio's old stuff: if($vars["fappers"]){ $fappoids = 0; $_xt_loop_name = "fappers"; $vars["fappers_cnt"] = count($vars["fappers"]); reset($vars["fappers"]);
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -