13. Call of Duty: Ghosts
Call of Duty: Ghosts was to mark the series’ debut on next-gen consoles, promising dynamic lighting and highly detailed visuals that would transition the CoD franchise to a new and improved engine. It should come without saying that Ghosts had a lot of hype behind it, but instead, this entry is frequently remembered for openly promoting its fish AI and the in-game light shafts falling in from the opposite direction of the source, leading many to speculate most of its next-gen implementations were but gimmicks. On top of that, it was later revealed that Ghosts reused assets of previous entries, adding insult to injury.
Featuring an insultingly short campaign the competent player could beat in about five hours, Call of Duty: Ghosts offers the least enjoyable content in the series to date, adding forced mechanics to the multiplayer like power sliding and stabbing animations that truly damaged the pace of the experience as well as replacing the beloved Zombie Mode with the alien-focused Extinction Mode.
Looking at the multiplayer side of things, Call of Duty: Ghosts was incredibly forgettable. Levelutions did manage to alter the maps when a certain time limit was reached or when specific player actions were completed, yet the general design of Ghosts’ multiplayer maps felt like bland recycled versions of the entries that came before. Add to that a horrendous net code on PC and an array of dull weapons, and Call of Duty: Ghosts was quickly shoved aside by fans who sought comfort and enjoyment in previous installments.
The Extinction Mode initially had fans in anticipation, leaving the established Zombie Mode and Spec-Ops missions for what they were in an attempt to create something new. Sadly, Extinction felt like a dumbed-down version of Zombies, offering little of the intriguing map design and character dialogues that made Zombies so popular.
Ghosts may have been a financial hit, being the fourth best-selling Call of Duty title to date, but both critics and fans alike reacted with largely negative responses, kicking off the series’ transition to next-gen consoles in a worrying way.