"Soldiers stand against their enemies, but ghosts haunt them."
The tenth game in the popular FPS franchise Call of Duty, Ghosts brings in a new story with all new characters.Ten years in the aftermath of an attack caused by turning a United States satellite weapon against the nation, much of the country lays in ruins. The severe loss of industry, infrastructure, and capital to rebuild has taken the government from one of the most elite nations in the world to third-world status. This results in a weakened military and exposure to invasion, which comes in the form of a collective of South American governments called "The Federation" (the ones who were also responsible for bringing this on the US in the first place). After ten years of occupation by The Federation, what remains of the US special forces are brought together to become the "Ghosts", whose mission is to use whatever means necessary to defend the tattered remains of the US.
This game provides examples of:
Action Girl: Female soldiers are playable for the first time in multiplayer, not counting Nazi Zombies. A female astronaut named Kyra Mosley also briefly serves as your combat partner in the prologue mission. After the prologue, though, there are no notable female characters in the story.
After the End: The game takes place in an America with its power shattered by ROG strikes.
Alien Invasion: Due to the popularity of the "Zombies" gameplay mode in the Treyarch-made Call of Duty games, Infinity Ward has included a new multiplayer mode in Ghosts titled "Extinction" where teams of players must defend an area against waves of attacking aliens.
Alternate History: The game takes place in an alternate 21st century where a devastating conflict in the Middle East greatly depleted the world's oil supply and resulted in a global energy crisis. This event gave the oil-rich nations of South America a virtual monopoly on oil, allowing them to form the Federation of the Americas. The Federation would quickly expand until it controlled all of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. At the start of the game the United States and the Federation are in an uneasy peace, until the Federation decides it wants to add America to its empire.
Alternate Continuity: Ghosts is the only Call of Duty game that explicitly rules out being in the same continuity as the other games in the seriesnote the timelines of the Modern Warfare and Black Ops trilogies — counting World at War, for which Black Ops is explicitly a sequel — don't directly contradict each other, and one of the Black Ops Intel files hints at mentioning Modern Warfare's Captain Price.
Apocalyptic Logistics: A minor example. One criticism of the game, mentioned by Yahtzee, was that despite the fact the the United States has been stated to have been devastated by the ODIN attack, it still has enough resources to mount a sizable army with weaponry that looks no worse for wear than pre-ODIN strike.
Toward the end of the prologue, there's an amazing Scenery Gorn shot of San Diego being destroyed by ODIN's projectiles while Elias, Logan, and Hesh are driving away in the truck. However, they're looking down on Downtown from a road on a hillside— a vantage point that doesn't actually exist in that part of San Diego (at least, not with an unobstructed view of the waterfront). Their neighborhood also seems more in line with neighborhoods like Carmel Mountain and Rancho Bernardo in northern San Diego, many dozen miles away from downtown
The downtown district looks nothing like its real-world counterpart, either, up to and including the ersatz "Greenway Park", home of the "San Diego Tsunamis". The stadium also looks more like Wrigley Field than the ultra-modern Petco Park.
The stadium also has a view of Coronado Bridge that isn't possible where Petco park is really at.
The Americans somehow managed to sail a submarine into and out of Lake Titicaca (or some other lake deep in the Andean Mountains), a feat which would require the submarine to be able to fly.
Bash Brothers: Literally. The two main protagonists are a pair of brothers who join the U.S. military and eventually the Ghosts following the devastation and occupation of America.
Better to Die than Be Killed: During the invasion of Venezuela 12 years before the main campaign, General Almagro orders a rocket strike against a nearby dam, flooding the city and dealing heavy casualties to both his own forces and the invading American army.
Bigger Bad: The leader of the Federation is mentioned a few times in the collectible intel items, but is never seen or referred to by name in the game. Rorke seems to hold him in great respect, though, indicating he's a pretty dangerous dude.
Bittersweet Ending: The Federation forces are in full retreat and their LOKI kinetic weapons platform has been taken over by American forces, but Rourke is still alive and he has captured Logan (who he intends to torture and turn into a fellow Ghost-killer).
Black and White Morality: The Federation are explicitly genocidal savages who, inexplicably, incorporate a number of resurrected Yellow Peril tropes including "exotic Amazonian torture methods" and Manchurian agents. One of the first things we see Federation soldiers doing is executing civilians in the first level. Meanwhile, the Ghosts are, well, standard COD protagonists, even being less morally ambiguous than the SAS/Task Force 141 from Modern Warfare.
Most telling is what both sides do when they commandeer their enemy's orbiting Kill Sats. The Federation launches kinetic rods at American cities, killing 27 million innocent people in a matter of minutes. They were targeting additional cities for destruction when Mosley and Baker destroyed the ODIN satellite, it's implied they were ready and willing to glass EVERY major city in North America. No military targets are ever mentioned. In contrast, when the Americans take control of LOKI, they only attack Federation military forces directly engaged in combat with them at sea or in the middle of the desert.
Canine Companion: The Ghosts are aided by a military working dog named Riley. In some parts of the game you will even take control of Riley. Riley is also available as a killstreak reward in multiplayer.
Colony Drop: The cataclysm that wrecked the United States was caused by the Federation hacking a kinetic weapons satellite and having it fire at major cities.
Crapsack World: Oooh, boy. When your game starts off with a government Kill Sat being used to destroy the entire southern United States, killing millions and destroying all infrastructure in a matter of seconds, you can guess that you're probably in for this. What's more, it's implied that the world is even more crapsack then we see, what with the entire Middle East being wiped off the map by some war and the ensuing collapse of major superpowers caused by the immense loss of oil.
Day of the Jackboot: Unlike most examples of Invaded States of America, an alliance of South American states establishing themselves as a global superpower and invading the United States is a more realistic scenario than, say, China or North Koreanote China's relationship with the United States is more of an Enemy Mine relationship where they are so economically dependent on each other that it is implausible for China to militarily invade the United States *yet.* And North Korea is laughingly poor economically and militarily; even China, North Korean's ally, is turning against them for their recent nuclear weapons program. And this doesn't even factor in the logistical nightmare of transporting an invasion force large enough to threaten the US across the Pacific Ocean. This is because, according to Word of God, South America is known to have a rich variety of natural resources, and this isn't far from Truth in Television in countries such as Brazil. note Venezuela, a country known to politically hate the United States thanks to Hugo Chavez and his continuing popularity post-mortem, and a long-standing history of bad blood between most of South America and old Cold War mentality propping up dictatorships, would have been close to Brazil with their petroleum reserves, but poor government management prevented this country from being so.
Death by Newbery Medal: Averted in the case of Riley the dog. He is injured by enemy gunfire and evacuated by helicopter.
Denser and Wackier: The DLC packs for Ghosts have added a number of rather whimsical special characters to the multiplayer modes, including Michael Myers, The Predator, ghost pirates, and a revolver dual-wielding Mexican mariachi with the ability to turn killed enemies into clones of himself. As Infinity Ward's previous entries in the series have generally stuck to a "hard realism" edge, this seems to be them trying to show that, yes, they actually do have a sense of humor too.
Doomed Hometown: The beginning of the game, where the Walker's home town (San Diego) gets bombarded by the Federations attack.
Eleventh Hour Superpower: At the beginning of the final mission, you can get a Chain SAW off the body of a dead Fed soldier (it's really easy to miss). It's the only time in the single-player campaign that you can obtain that weapon, which is the closest the campaign has to a portable minigun.
The Empire: The Federation (no, not that Federation) is a ruthless, militaristic superpower based in South America whose goals seem to be nothing short of controlling the entire western hemisphere. To accomplish this they are quite willing to use torture, brainwashing, attacks against civilians, and weapons of mass destruction.
Elites Are More Glamorous: The Ghosts are made up of former Tier One (i.e. the most elite of the elite, like Delta Force and SEAL Team Six) United States Special Operations soldiers.
Fallen States of America: The United States is no longer a superpower, just another country in the world. Its economy is in tatters, its towns and cities in ruins, and its military has deteriorated to the point where any remaining special forces are insurgents.
Interestingly, the US's military strength is quite remarkable for a devastated country, as late in the game they still have the ability to launch a full-out assault on Federation facilities in the Atacama Desert while also sending astronaut commandos into space to take over the Fed's own Kill Sat. Although to generals do tell you unhelpfully that they are putting in most of their remaining hardware (and their last aircraft carrier) into this attack, so don't muck it up.
It seems like most of the United States is still intact, while the Federation occupies California, Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas. It can probably be assumed that the remainder of the United States has gone into "Total War" mode like they did in World War II: where the entire nation's resources have been mobilized for the war effort and all non-essential activities have been curtailed.
The game explains that the Odin crew managed to scuttle the satellite before it could target additional US cities. However, they were too late to save the American Southwest. The United States as a whole is still intact, but its power has been vastly reduced.
Final Solution: 12 years before the main campaign, the leader of the Federation, General Almagro, ordered the execution or imprisonment of all U.S.-born individuals in Federation territory. Naturally, this action drew the wrath of the United States, who sent an invasion force to Venezuela for the purpose of eliminating Almagro. Although the U.S. succeeded in killing Almagro, it did not stop the Federation's aggressive expansionism.
Forced to Watch: Logan & Hesh are bound and helpless as Rorke murders their father right in front of them.
For Want of a Nail: If the U.S. astronauts managed to successfully fend off against the South American Federation Space Marines from using the kinetic weapons satellite against the United States, then United States's economy wouldn't be in shambles. Unfortunately, the Federation forces did succeed their objectives, and Hugo Chavez's dream of destroying America came true.
Foreshadowing: Throughout your confrontations with Rorke, he wants Logan alive for his own purposes. He gets him and begins subjecting him to the same torture methods Rorke was brainwashed with
The Generalissimo: The previous leader of the Federation was General Almagro, implying that the Federation is a military dictatorship.
Genre Savvy: Door breaching is nothing new for the "Modern Military Shooter" FPS sub-genre, and this game is no exception as you perform it a few times. Except for the one time when as soon as you place the charge on the door, Merrick shoves you away because the enemy immediately begins shooting through the door and disables the charge.
Heroic Mime: Much like previous Call of Duty games by Infinity Ward, the player character in Ghosts never speaks.
Hero Killer: Rorke, "The Ghost Killer", the main antagonist of the game. He's been tasked with wiping out the Ghosts, and he's pretty damn good at it. After all, he used to be their most dangerous member. And he manages to kill Elias.
Homage: A few players have noted that Ghosts has several similarities to Star Wars. Both feature good guys fighting for freedom against an explicitly evil empire (the Federation), Rourke is a former hero has fallen to the dark side similar to Darth Vader, and Elias Walker fills the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi. The game even has its own Death Star subsitutes in the form of kinetic weapons satellites.
Another notable one, yet still quite easy to miss, is the mission were Logan and Keegan must launch a portable missile/torpedo while underwater in order to destroy an advanced warship. The weakspot? A thermal exhaust port.
Not to mention that most Federation soldiers wear masks or face-concealing helmets, making them quite Stormtrooper-ish. Hell, one mission even has the Ghosts infiltrating a Federation facility by dressing up as Fed soldiers, similar to Luke and Han disguising themselves as Stormtroopers in A New Hope.
Plus, it's apparent from the ending that Rorke is intent on turning Logan into somebody just like himself: a Federation-loyal Ghost-killer. Just like how Darth Vader attempted to turn Luke to the dark side.
The start of the battle to capture the Federation Space station is remarkably similar to the space battle in Moonraker
I'll Kill You!: Hesh completely flips out when Rorke murders Elias Walker.
Kill Sat: Plays a major role in the story. The United States has the Orbital Defense Initiative (ODIN for short), which is taken over by Federation astronauts at the start of the game and used to destroy Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Houston, and Miami (causing an estimated 27 million casualties). The station is scuttled by surviving American astronauts before it can destroy any more cities. Later in the game it's found that the Federation are building their own killsat called LOKI. During the final mission LOKI is successfully hijacked by a team of American astronauts, who use the rods within to deal heavy damage to Federation land and sea forces.
La Résistance: The Ghosts are this, composing for former U.S. Special Operation Forces
Laser-Guided Karma: At the beginning of the game, the Federation hijacks the United States' ODIN killsat to destroy several American cities and soften the country up for an invasion. At the end of the game the United States hijacks the Federation's LOKI killsat and uses it to devastating effect against the Federation's army and navy.
Latin Land: The antagonists of the game are a coalition of South American states who devastated the U.S. using a kinetic weapon, and then invaded and occupied the crippled country.
Meaningful Name: Perhaps unintentional; "HESH" was the designation for the "High-Explosive Squash Head" cannon round, a projectile which flattened itself on the outside hull of a tank before exploding, causing the inner surface to peel off as shrapnel and killing the crew inside. Logan's brother is so badass he is capable of killing tanks.
The Shuttle that brings the Federation forces to ODIN at the start of the game is called Daedalus which is possibly in reference to the ODIN satellite bringing misfortune onto its creator much like Daedalus' invention did to him.
Next Sunday A.D.: Ghosts and Black Ops 2 both take place in roughly the same future time period. However, while Black Ops 2 had many explicitly Sci-Fi technologies, almost all of the weapons and equipment seen in Ghosts are modern real-world gear, with the major exception of the orbital kinetic strike satellites. Justified in that being bombed into the stone age has restricted U.S. tech growth, while the Federation is an upstart nation that has had a lot of catching up to do in a very short period of time.
During the defense of Santa Monica, Logan takes control of drone A-10 fighters at several points in order to keep attacking Federation soldiers at bay. However, on one run, the drone he's controlling gets shot down and it crashes into drone control, effectively causing Santa Monica's defenses to collapse.
At the end of the game, Hesh decides to go after Rorke alone instead of waiting for the rest of the Ghosts to catch up to them. Not only does this not accomplish anything, but it also gets Logan captured by Rorke and set up to be brainwashed.
No Ontological Inertia: Averted. It turns out that 12 years ago, the Ghosts assassinated the leader of the Federation, General Almagro. Obviously, this did not cause the Federation to collapse like they thought it would.
Scenery Gorn: All over the place, just to drive home the nature of the Crapsack World the Ghosts live in. Also, very conspicously, after someone calls in a K.E.M. on the Strikezone multiplayer map.
Sequel Hook: The Federation is forced into full retreat, but Rorke is still alive and has managed to capture Logan, and plans to brainwash him the exact same way the Federation had done to him.
The Federation commandos' rescue of Rorke is pulled from .
Sibling Team: The main characters, Hesh and Logan, are brothers that kick ass together.
Sole Survivor: According to the Ghosts' origin story, they were originally part of a team of 60 Tier 1 operatives drawn from various different branches of the military that was sent against a vastly numerically superior enemy force in the Middle East. Most of the operatives were wiped out, but a handful of survivors regrouped, slaughtered the enemy force in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and became the Ghosts.
Space Marines: Both the United States and the Federation employ the use of armed astronauts in this game. The US astronauts are specially-trained United States Air Force enlisted men and officers who are tasked with operating and defending the ODIN space station, while the Federation uses their astronauts as a strike team to seize control of the station. At the end of the game the United States launches their own assault against the Federation's own kinetic weapons satellite to turn it against the Federation.
The Stinger: After getting captured by Rorke, the last thing shown after the credits is of Logan being imprisoned in a hole in the Amazon.
Super Not-Drowning Skills: You end up almost being drowned an astonishing number of times throughout the game. It may be that the writers are trying to use water as a motif for the game or its Big Bad, similar to the use of fire in Black Ops 2.
There Is No Kill Like Overkill: At the end of the game, Hesh calls down a freakin' rod strike for the sole purpose of killing Rourke, and not even it manages to succeed.
Throwaway Country: It's mentioned in passing during the prologue that the entire Middle East was utterly incinerated, presumably in some sort of nuclear incident. Specifics are not given (although it's implied this may have been the same conflict where the Ghosts were first created), what's important is that the loss of Middle Eastern oil leads to the collapse of the world's superpowers and the rise of the oil-rich Federation.
Trauma Conga Line: The United States as a whole, in spades. First, a kinetic weapons satellite is used against the United States by Federation forces, then the said Federation use their global superpower and military to invade United States. And it is highly implied they are trying to establish a puppet state in the said United States and make it an Oppressive States of America.
Unexpected Gameplay Change: Besides the obligatory vehicle sections, Ghosts mixes things up a bit with an underwater scuba level and a final battle in outer space, apparently drawing inspiration from the James Bond films Thunderball and Moonraker respectively.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: Some players have found it is possible to summon their dogs and force them to fight each other in impromptu dog fighting rings.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Riley the dog is seen alive and well onboard the U.S.S. Liberator in the mission "All or Nothing", however near the end of the mission the main characters are forced to evacuate the now sinking ship via helicopter with Riley nowhere to be seen. He neither appears nor is mentioned in any of the subsequent missions.
Whole Plot Reference: Charismatic antagonist who gets captured, put on a plane, is mocking the protagonists' attempts at doing a High-Altitude Interrogation and breaks free with the help of his own plane, wires and cuts the plane in half causing the pieces to fall? It's The Dark Knight Rises intro scene, only with Rorke in the position of Bane.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The entire endgame and Elias Walker's death could have been averted if, when Rorke is first captured, you weren't taking him alive.
Justified in that he was needed alive by one group and wanted alive by the Ghosts at the time.
A co-op game mode styled on Treyarch's successful Nazi Zombies sub-game. The game focuses on a team of soldiers sent to investigate 'hives' near the ODIN impact site, and starts a series of DLC episodes that completes the story.Warning: Spoiler Alert!
Point of ContactSet a few weeks after the ODIN Strike on Colorado, the US military receives word of an outbreak of 'aliens' in the blast zone. General 'Godfather' Castle sends an elite team of specialists to investigate the contact site, and contain/ destroy if need be.NightfallAfter the Colorado outbreak has been dealt with, Godfather tasks the team, CIF-1, to Alaska; to rescue a scientist (Dr Samantha Cross) who was recruited by Cpt David Archer for a top secret project codenamed Nightfall. In truth, Archer's project was to use the aliens, (sorry, Cryptids) to bio-engineer a new breed of Cryptid and learn how they operated. However, the captive Cryptids escaped, killing almost all that were present, except for Archer, Cross, and a few surviving soldiers.MaydayAfter securing Cross, Archer was able to obtain a Chinese decommissioned Destroyer, the Stormbreaker, which he planned on using to reach an 'Ark' containing the Cryptid leaders, and planned on using Cross as a beacon due to her unique gifts. However, Cross became too powerful, and after almost 3 weeks captive, attacked the ship using the Cryptids. Archer issued a Mayday, calling for aid from Godfather, who sent CIF-1 to extract him and eliminate Cross. Cross escaped with help from a massive Cryptid beast – the ‘’Kraken’’, and fled to the Ark, now known to be ‘’Ball’s Pyramid’’.AwakeningArcher led the charge towards the Pyramid, but his team were ambushed. With most of his team dead, Archer is approached by Cross, who wants to make a deal with him and Godfather. Archer and Cross head to the main chamber, where they meet the Ancestors, the Cryptid commanders. After losing contact with them, Godfather sends CIF-1 to extract the pair and recover the Cortex, a device capable of combating the Cryptids, created from the autopsied remains of an Ancestor’s brain. CIF-1 fought off wave after wave of Cryptid soldiers, decrypting obelisks and scouring the maze-like pyramid, before finding Archer and Cross in the command room. Cross leaves Archer to die in the pyramid as retribution for his actions towards her, and the five escape the pyramid with the Cortex.However, their victory pales in comparison to what they have unleashed. In firing up the Cortex, they activated every beacon in every Ark across the planet, and in doing so, have inadvertently caused the Extinction of the human race. Godfather tells the US President that the only option left at this point is ‘’Scorched Earth’’, and reminds the President that they too had an Ark, waiting right over their heads.ExodusAs the extinction of humanity commences, CIF-1 fights their way to the Exodus launch site, fending off attacks from Cryptids and even facing off against the Ancestors themselves. Fighting through the obliterated streets of San Francisco, they must recover the 'Cortex' prototype and defend the shuttle from the aerial Cryptids, before it reaches low Earth Orbit.As the team re-power the generators left by the astronauts in order to power up their superweapon, they learn of the fate of Samantha Cross, and watch as she heads off into space, leaving CIF-1 to die on the Earth.
This game mode provides examples of:
Action Girl: Potentially, since you can choose the gender of your soldier. Played straight with Dr Cross.
Alien Invasion: Of a sort. The cryptids are in fact natives of Earth, so it would be more accurate to call it a subterranean invasion…
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: the Breeder in ‘’Nightfall’’ is almost 5 times the size of a human, with legs capable of piercing straight through a soldier’s body armor, skin and bones. The Kraken is a 100ft behemoth with large tentacles capable of producing more cryptids, and also heating up metal to the point it causes severe burns to humans. Both can also take quite a lot of punishment from small arms fire, not so much from autoturrets…
Big Bad: Swings between Cross and Archer from map to map; the former for being a human-cryptid spy, the latter for being a disavowed captain conducting experiments to make a bioweapon.
Bigger Bad: Arguably the Ancestors in the grand scheme of things, as they are bringing about the extinction of the human race. They can command the different Cryptid species, take an insane amount of damage - comparable to a Breeder or Kraken - and have powerful psychic abilities. And they can form a barrier that negates any damage...
Bittersweet Ending: CIF-Team 1 is able to activate the Medusa and evacuate the remainder of mankid via Exodus, but they are killed in the process, as well as the POTUS, and nearly all of the human race.
Cunning Linguist: Dr Cross, who can speak 28 different languages due to a neurological condition. This makes her a prime candidate for translating alien glyphs.
Da Chief: General ‘’Godfather’’ Castle, and by extension POTUS.
Death from Above/ Kill Sat: Implied by Godfather in the Awakening Epilogue, when he mentions that the human race had an Ark of their own, and how the only option left is the ‘’Scorched Earth’’ protocol.
Enemy Mine: Invoked by Archer during the events of Mayday, as he is the only person that has the data Godfather needs to attack the Ancestors, as ‘’some careless git’’ destroyed every other copy.
Necessary Evil: Quoted word-for-word by Godfather when conversing with POTUS over his decision to recruit Archer over shooting him.
No Sell: Rhinos and Mammoths, which are massive hulking beasts that charge you and pound you into putty, can take an astonishing amount of punishment before they go down…
More Dakka: Unless you are a maxed out Weapon Specialist with an LMG, Armor Piercing Ammo and the appropriate upgrades, in which case they turn into chunky cryptid salsa in about 10 seconds…
Person of Mass Destruction: Dr Cross, post Nightfall. After binding with the Beacon amplifier, she starts to gain psychokinetic abilities, which she uses to attack the crew in their dreams. Once she becomes powerful enough, she breaks out of her cell on the ‘’Stormbreaker’’ and escapes to Bell’s Pyramid.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Almost all of the cryptids have red eyes, bar the Seeders and Scorpions which have yellow eyes instead.
Turns Red: When the Kraken does this during the boss battle in Mayday, it gets very powerful, at the cost of its defences; hence it is a signal to start hammering it with everything you have.