5 Ways Call Of Duty Goes Next-Gen With Ghosts

As was the case on Wii U, the Call of Duty franchise represents one of the better bets for early adopters of Xbox One and PS4, if only for the strong multiplayer community and intense action its known for. Obviously, downloadable map packs will be available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One first, but regardless of your hardware allegiance, Call of Duty: Ghosts has a few tricks up its sleeve for the next generation of consoles. It should also go without saying that Ghosts will probably look best on PC where these new graphics and visual enhancements were built.

 

Map Deformation And Destruction

Infinity Ward hopes to leverage another level of hugely important gameplay on the Call of Duty fan who probably already relies on all the best camp-sites and routes on any given map by offering altered layouts through dynamic destruction. Sure, sure, Battlefield may be destructibility's daddy, but in the world of Call of Duty, map deformation can be used as a weapon more readily due to predefined "paths of destruction," if you will. As easily as players might use map destruction to create a sniper outlook or a faster path to the center of the map, Infinity Ward's dynamic maps will get even more mileage as a means to kill enemy players.

One map, the one with the strip club, also features a gas station that can be knocked over with a few shots at the pump. I almost never saw this station in one piece. Instead of spamming grenades, players started spamming certain destructible pieces of the map. A perfectly thrown grenade might not be avoidable, but just as players have learned where to camp with their sniper rifle, they'll learn to avoid mouse traps like that gas station.

Altering the environment might not seem very "next-gen," but combined with some of the other enhancements below, it makes every Call of Duty: Ghosts map I've played on feel more alive, more fluid, and less plastic-y than before.

Smoke, Blood, Explosion Effects

Most of your time in a Call of Duty game is spent blowing things up or shooting other soldiers to death, right? All of that looks a lot better in Call of Duty: Ghosts. Not twice or thrice better like "next-gen" might suggest, mostly thanks to the fact that this Call of Duty has to cater to last-gen and next-gen at the same time, but certainly better than any prior Call of Duty on Xbox 360 or PS3. Explosions have more weight and "oomph," rattling chain-link fences around you and, as demonstrated in the video above, having a profound effect on the environment.

Blood has always erupted in puffs and fountains, but the blood and smoke in Call of Duty: Ghosts looks and feels thicker. Running through a cloud of dust isn't like running through a plastic divider. Instead, every fancy effect in the game feels layered and heavy—sprinting through an explosion could actually make you cough and hack due to the smoke and debris…

 

Call of Duty Account

Ghosts isn't the first Infinity Ward game to encourage players to log into an account online to track their stats and coordinate with their clans, but the Call of Duty Account feels like a next-gen attempt at something Elite stumbled and ultimately failed to do, which is to get players to take Call of Duty with them wherever they go. Call of Duty's iOS and Android app will still serve as your destination for updating character classes and more on the go, but you'll also be able to play a game totally separate from Call of Duty's online theater of war to increase your reach and experience.

Details remain light, but with the focus not on creating a base of subscribed CoD gamers (many of whom already pay for Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus subscriptions), Call of Duty's online and mobile components can shine as an actual service for people playing the game, not merely as an exclusive club of people willing to shell out for tips and tricks. (continued on next page…)

 

 



Reverb Engine, Reactive Emitters

Sound design might seem like the least next-generation thing in a medium that prides itself on graphics technology and frames-per-second, but combined with graphical improvements, Infinity Ward's work on reverb, reactive emitters, and battle chatter is the most readily recognizable step into next-gen tech. When an explosion rattles the fence and geometry behind you, or when a sniper rifle shot sounds different from space-to-space, it definitely has an effect on gameplay.

In one match, I remember hearing an opponent's gunfire move from one space somewhere to my right, to another space behind me, but more importantly, I recognized the effect the environment had on that player's excited spraying as the same effect it had my weapon moments earlier. Being able to recognize that our two SMGs were occupying the same space saved my life when he came hunting for me. Reactive emitters, like the chain-link fence rattling with the force of an explosion, can have the opposite effect too. One grenade blast rocked a car behind me, but I thought for a split second it was actually another enemy mantling the hood to knife me. This inevitably left me open to attack from the grenade-chucker. Having a nice pair of headphones has played a part in elevating the experience for competitive gamers, and that will probably be doubly true for Call of Duty: Ghosts.

 

Dual-Render Scoping

The clearest and most visible next-generation graphical improvement in Call of Duty: Ghosts occurs when you bring a sniper rifle up to aim down the sights. The scoped view itself jumps into view and you can see enemies scurrying from sight with crystal clarity, but the rest of your peripheral vision is also rendered, albeit slightly out of focus. Executive Producer Mark Rubin said on stage that this will allow snipers to remain vigilant of their surroundings, but I was probably more distracted by it than anything else.

Every other Call of Duty game blacks out the space around your scope, making it impossible to see enemies running from the left or right. Ultimately, that effect made me hate the sniper class. It made me feel vulnerable and lost, but with Infinity Ward's new dual-render scoping snipers can hole up in the back of the map and watch you weave your way towards them.

We're still waiting to see how many of these features make it to current-gen machines like Xbox 360 and PS3, but Infinity Ward has promised that the steps they've taken into next-gen technology have benefitted the current generation of consoles as well. That fancy dual-render scoping might not make it onto current-gen machines, but even plebeians playing on consoles from 2006 can enjoy Ghosts' map deformation, audio design, and the Call of Duty account service.

If you plan on buying Call of Duty: Ghosts, will you wait for a next-generation version, upgrade your current generation copy when you buy a next-gen Xbox or PlayStation, or have you had your fill of the brand and its multiplayer offerings over the past few years?