Well, to be blunt, it kinda sucks.
Now, I know what you're thinking: "Duh of course it sucks - it's call of duty!" Yes yes, you battlefag fans, I get it - Battlefield is a superior warfare game. And I agree with you - that's not why I play the COD games. I get that COD games are cartooney and unrealistic, and that the single player storyline is usually dreadful, but I'm not playing COD for its realism. I choose the COD games because they are quick, simple and fun to play with friends.
So let's move past the "Boo all COD games ever" nonsense and talk about Ghost multiplayer in particular.
First, the create-a-soldier set-up is a dumb idea. Ghosts gives you the ability to unlock 10 different soldiers and encourages you to outfit them in different and unique ways - make one a sniper, another an smg run-and-gunner, another an assault rifle soldier, another a sneaky shotgunner.
That's great and all - but in this system you can't switch between your "soldiers" in the middle of a match. You have to back out of the game if you want to switch from your assault rifle soldier to your sniper. If I'm getting pelted by a grenade-happy opposing team and want to switch to my Blast Shield soldier, I am shit out of luck.
So that's stupid change #1.
Then Ghosts replaced the leveling system with a "token" system. In prior COD games, in order to access the best guns, perks and gear, you had to level up your character. Now, you randomly earn tokens while you are playing and can unlock any gear, at any time, no matter your level.
So let's take my character for example. By the time I reached level 10, I had unlocked the highest level assault rifle, highest level sniper, highest level shotgun, highest level smg, all of the best sights and attachments for each gun, and 3 of the highest-level perks that I wanted.
By level 10, I had zero motivation to continue leveling. Now it's just something that happens while I play.
So that's stupid change #2
With every COD game, there are always complaints about the spawns - in some COD games you constantly have enemies spawning behind you, in other COD games you're constantly spawning directly in front of enemies, and in some COD games you're constantly having a stream of teammates constantly spawning on you. Well COD: Ghosts has all of the above.
I can't tell you how many times I've killed a person only to have him spawn in the next room over. Or to spawn, run 3 feet and be shot from behind. It's occurred, I would estimate, over 50 times at this point.
I recall one particular match in which the entire enemy team kept spawning in the same spot, 20 feet in front of myself and a teammate. It was laughable as they just kept on appearing right between our crosshairs, only to be mowed down seconds later. I must have killed 10 enemies in that 30 second period until a teammate go too close to the spawn and flipped it.
"But Timmy - didn't you say that spawning has always been an issue? Shouldn't you just get used to shitty spawning in COD games forever and ever?"
You're 90% correct. However, I have 2 responses:
1) COD:Blops 2 really made some strides in perfecting the spawn system, especially in terms of spawn trapping. Spawning was nowhere near as large an issue in Blops 2 as I've already encountered in the short time I've had Ghosts. It's a shame InfinityWard didn't sit up and pay attention, because Treyarch really schooled them on spawn systems.
2) The maps in Ghosts are huge. Humongous. Very very big. So there should be no excuse, with all of that space, that the game can't find you or an enemy a spawn spot that doesn't put you two face-to-face seconds after one kills the other. It's inexcusable.
So this isn't really a change, but more of a poor return to normalcy for COD. It still blows.
Server status. I've had a number of nights I haven't even been able to log on, even with a dedicated modem on my xbox. Looking at online posting, it appears that a lot of people are having this issue. Couple that with the fact that the Elite website is down so I can't even create an ironic clan name (assuming "GhostsKindaBlows" and "ThisGameIsMeh" aren't already taken).
Games that I can't even play automatically suck. I'm looking at you, GTA Online during the first 3 weeks.
Lag correction. Huge problem in Blops 2, to the point where hosts were constantly backing out of matches because of the severe disadvantage. Towards the end of my Blops 2 playing days, I would intentionally find matches that had already started so I could avoid being host.
Lag correction wasn't a problem initially in Ghosts, but I fear that a switch has been flipped somewhere in InfinityWard's headquarters because I'm noticing it start to become an issue. It's pretty easy to tell, really - you experience your gunbattle with opponent X, in which you die, and then you watch the killcam to see opponent X's view of the gunbattle. If you dove for cover on your screen, but opponent X's vantage point has you standing there in plain site for another 2 seconds, then you have a lag correction issue.
Not a new issue, but it's starting to creep into Ghosts and I'm hoping it doesn't ruin the gameplay like it kinda did for Blops2.
I suppose we'll continue to toil in misery until Treyarch or InfinityWard finally gets on the ball and sets up dedicated servers.
Customization had the potential to be fun in this game - you have a ton of uniforms and character heads to choose from. You can be a chick. Or a black guy. The opportunities are endless.
The issue is that, to unlock the customizations, you have to complete "operations". Now, you have 5 operations active at any given time - meaning that if you want Head A, and the unlock for Head A is 50 headshots, then you have to wait until the "50 Headshot" Operation is available.
Yes, you can just spend your tokens to keep randomly generating the 5 operations until you see the one for "50 Headshots", but that's not the issue - the issue is that I've already gotten 100 headshots in the game, but because I didn't have the operation active, it doesn't matter.
The system just makes unlocking things tedious. Whereas before, in prior games, you would unlock patches and banners as you played normally - now you have to do operations 1 at a time (or 5 at a time if you happen to roll the dice and generate 5 random operations you can do simultaneously).
I would rather just play, and if I want to work on unlocking X right now, but stop halfway through and start working on unlocking Y, I don't want to have to start flip-flopping between "operations".
I feel like Black Ops 2, with it's camo unlocks, set the perfect balance between randomly unlocking things and having to work to unlock things. Yes, in Blops2 you could probably unlock 4 or 5 of the 10 camoes just by playing normally over a long enough period. But to get the gold camos and diamond camos, you actually had to alter your gun attachments, or change you play style - it was a fun goal to strive towards, and did not have the red tape that Ghosts' "operations" system has now encumbered us with.
So my overall impression of COD: Ghosts - Unimpressed and disappointed. They tried to fix what wasn't broken, and failed to fix what was.
No amount of dogs can put this game anywhere but on the bottom of the COD games I've played (which are MW3, COD4, Black ops 1 and Black ops 2).
That being said, I'm still going to play it because I like playing COD with friends on xbox. I just won't be motivated to play it any other time.