'Faster, more intense' used to be George Lucas' directorial maxim. It could very well now be Infinity Ward's. The company that escalated the FPS into what Patrick Bach once described as 'sugar rush' territory has gone further still with Ghosts. This feels like the fastest CoD in years. The question is whether or not people will be just as quick to put it down.
Probably not, because it's this speed which gives CoD its appeal. New mode Blitz was shown at Microsoft's press conference, and talked up as a tactical gametype. Not on your life. Well, not at GamesCom, at least. People here were moving around the map so quickly that it felt like we were controlling Concordes, if they had been designed by the Nazis and were propelled by a nuclear explosion. I killed and died more times than Dracula in the games I played at the event.
And, well, why shouldn't that be the way? There's no use moaning that FIFA has football in it, and the same is true for Call of Duty and gun-on-gun showdowns that happen with the frequency of former child actors breaking bad. It's part of the game.
As for the naysayers' other gripes, it is true to say that Ghosts isn't the belle of the ball, graphically-speaking. It's an improvement on its predecessors, but it's not going to win any technical awards. Look closely, however, and it's easy to see that - despite the minimal upgrade - these negligibly-improved visuals actually bolster the game quite a bit. Call of Duty requires precision and quick-thinking, or at least good twitch reactions. Previous titles ran in resolutions that on a PC would simply be marked 'Windows 95'. Here, acquiring your target is far easier, and the game has a sharpness that makes hitting and tracking targets much easier.
A good example of this can found on the map Whiteout. Semi-open spaces combine with twisting, narrow footpaths and wooden houses in this bay-based shootout. Given that a lot of the map is - yes - white, and your enemies are camouflaged, getting them zeroed quickly is of paramount importance, and it's easier here than it was before.
With Battlefield looking slicker and slicker in the run up to release, Ghosts knows that it's got a fight on its hands this year. That it appears to have come under prepared with what appears to be a stop-gap may frighten (or excite, depending on their alignment) some, but this still has the lure it always had. Not changing much, however, also means that old problems will probably remain, and there's still a load of quick-scoping, kill-cam lying nonsense to contend with.
It's Call of Duty, for better or for worse.