The grass always seems greener on the other console, doesn’t it?
You know that feeling, right? You spend your hard-earned dollars on a copy of a game for your favorite console, and for the most part, life is good. That is until you see the other version. It could either be exclusive DLC for another system or a “super-special-ass-kickery” edition that you didn’t drop the extra $100 bucks on. No matter how trivial, somehow, there’s always some little gem that manages to make the other version seem just a bit better than yours. However, when a game such as Call of Duty: Ghosts comes along, it’s a bit different. All versions contain virtually the exact same content, yet there are five different versions available, either currently out (or soon to be released).
So, what differences should gamers expect from version to version of this killer app? Well, there is one glaring difference across the Xbox One and its predecessor the 360. It’s the most obvious…the graphics.
Do you hear that sound? That’s the thunderous roar of the comments section below filling up with ranting and raving about how “GRAPHIICS DON’T MAKE THE GAME YOU DUMB DOUCHE COCK!” While that is true, there’s no denying that presentation with a game such as Call of Duty (or even the recently released Battlefield 4) factors into the overall experience. It’s the gaming world we live in, like it or not. The stark contrast in graphic fidelity is never more apparent than when a game has its feet planted in both the current-gen and the next-gen systems. This is the unique position that Call of Duty: Ghosts finds itself in. I recently saw a video that compared and contrasted the many different versions of the game, showing exactly how the visual experience will vary for gamers from platform to platform. Now, I’ve harped on the fact that you may not need to jump head first into the next-gen, and I wish I could tell you that the differences between the generations are negligible.
In this case, if you’re a graphics hound, you’re going to want the Xbox One version over the 360. Everything from the textures, to lighting, to particle systems has that extra level of polish that really shouts, “Hey, now you’re on the next-gen.” Should you drop $500 on a new system for that reason alone? Probably not, but I’m not going to suggest that we live in denial. The next-gen is bringing something to the market with a game such as Call of Duty: Ghosts that simply won’t be experienced the same on both systems. I’m willing to give the devil his due, and the next-gen deserves props in that regard.
Now, you didn’t think that I would go out singing the praises of the next-gen just because things look pretty, did you? There is another video floating around on YouTube that is ginning up a bit of controversy. It takes a clip from the end of Modern Warfare 2 and compares it to a scene in one of the opening missions from Call of Duty: Ghosts. As you watch the clip, it’s clear that the same animation cycle has been reused. The developers essentially extracted it from the original game, applied it to the new models, and rendered the scene in the updated Ghosts environment. A minor shortcut for sure, but not something that was going to slip by the ever vigilante (and sometimes nit-picky) gaming community. The point is, it’s not to say that EVERYTHING is completely new in the next-gen, as this proves that some of what you find in-game may be recycled from previous releases. You can expect many of the weapons systems, loadouts, and various elements to be very familiar. The gaming engine itself may have been built from the ground up for the next-gen systems, but the game itself is going to pull from the vast resource pool of the many years of CoD Activision has at its disposal. Make no mistake, things may look polished, but not everything is completely “next” in the next-gen iteration.
So what have we learned, kids? Well, we could just bury our heads in the sand and pretend that those playing the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 versions of Ghosts will be having the same experience as our brothers and sisters on the next-gen systems. However, that would be disingenuous. For some, the graphical discrepancies won’t make that much of a difference in the level of enjoyment they get from sniping a slightly more-jagged polygon from across the map. To others, it makes all the difference.
So what do you think? Will you find yourself completely happy with your current-gen version (even though you may find it lacking in comparison), or will having a game like Ghosts run at its peak completely justify your next-gen console purchase?