If it bleeds…we can kill it.
Call of Duty: Ghosts is right around the corner. Now, in reading that sentence, you probably fall into one of two categories: the “HOLY S@#T I can’t wait to own some n00bs in this game” category or the “Meh…another mindless shooter…yawn” category. Now, I’ll admit that COD hasn’t been one to really step outside the box too much when it comes to innovation of play. Don’t get me wrong; it’s by far one of the best shooters ever made and has changed the FPS genre (to where many other franchises have ripped-off key concepts from it). However, once you settle into a Call of Duty and familiarize yourself with the game modes, you’re going to see that it’s largely the same as past games. By the way, I’m not saying that’s bad. (Why mess with a good thing?)
The one true out-of-the-box concept that COD has explored is its Zombie mode from Black Ops and Black Ops II (technically, it goes all the way back to World at War). Fighting off hordes of the undead with your squad is definitely far removed from the attack helicopters and air strikes we are used to.
Activision plans to use the Extinction mode in Call of Duty: Ghosts to force gamers, once again, off the beaten path. You can check out the trailer below.
The official reveal trailer starts out with a serious sci-fi flavor. It’s definitely not the kind of Oliver Stone-style war drama I’m used to in a COD trailer. We see what looks like a post-apocalyptic world, with a narrator that sounds strikingly similar to Sarah Connor. In fact, if you had replaced the aliens with liquid-metal Terminators, it would totally play as the reveal trailer for a sequel to T2: The Arcade Game. This mode will feature your standard 1-4 squad-based gameplay, with each player having access to a unique load-out via their “class.” The objective is to fight your way through the flood of the alien horde, picking off wave after wave until you can eliminate the hive at its source. The game ends when you win, when the last member of your team dies, or when you hit the reset button. Wash, rinse, repeat. Also, based on what we see in the trailer, you’ll have access to strike package-esque goodies that will make fending off the swarms a bit more manageable.
Now to the real question: Is a zombie rip-off really necessary for every COD game now? In watching the trailer, it does look kind of fun having such an off-the-wall game mode in a tactical shooter. The fact still remains, though, that a survival mode isn’t for everyone. Seeing new enemies and objectives besides your standard attack-dogs or CTF model is great, but if they’ve just swapped out the zombie models for their alien counterparts, then it seems like it’s been shoehorned in unnecessarily.
I hope that Extinction makes sense in the context of the game mode. For example, with our planet overrun with aliens, it would be nice to see some cool alien tech factor in. Having to take cover to avoid enemy plasma-rifle fire would be pretty sweet, and I’d love to see the hive call in their own version of a strike package that consists of UFOs instead of Apache helicopters. However, it seems that the mindless-horde concept of the aliens being more animalist in nature is the route they’ve chosen to take. Again, a bit too much like a re-skin of the Zombies mode if you ask me.
I think it really boils down to what’s best use of the developer’s resources. If this mode does end up being seen as just a Zombie mode rip-off, then I see it as a missed opportunity. Of course, there are some gamers who love the concept, and more power to them. If they can trade in their copy of Black Ops II for Ghosts while still getting to keep a version of their Zombie mode, then great! However, I’d rather think of what might have been. I can still remember when the creators of Mortal Kombat spent so much of their precious time and resources creating the ridiculous Motor Kombat mode for MK: Armageddon in 2006. Many felt that other aspects of the game suffered because of this and could have been fixed had they not diverted time and money to the wrong places.
Will Call of Duty: Ghosts suffer the same criticism? Imagine how much additional content could have been infused into the meat of the game if the Extinction mode wasn’t there to take up such a large chunk of disc space. Then again, there’s always the possibility that they did something so unbelievably right with Extinction, developers may use it as the new template for Zombies mode. Personally, I’ll trade both Zombie and Extinction features for an all-vehicles map.
Until then, I guess it’s still Combat on the Atari 2600 for me…