->"Soldiers stand against their enemies, but ghosts haunt them."

The tenth game in the popular FPS series ''VideoGame/CallOfDuty'', developed by Infinity Ward, ''Ghosts'' was [[StillbornFranchise intended to be]] the start of an entirely new subseries for the franchise by acclaimed [=writer/director=] [[Film/{{Traffic}} Stephen]] [[Film/{{Syriana}} Gaghan]]. However, his talent and Hollywood success did not extend to the first-person shooter realm, and the ''Ghosts'' brand and storyline was retired after this one installment due to lackluster sales and criticism of its plot and villains.

Ten years [[AfterTheEnd in the aftermath]] of an attack caused by turning a United States satellite weapon against the nation, [[FallenStatesOfAmerica 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 U.S. in the first place). After ten years of occupation by The Federation, what remains of the U.S. special forces are brought together to become the "Ghosts", whose mission is to use whatever means necessary to defend the tattered remains of the U.S.

!!This game provides examples of:
* AbortedArc: This game was meant to kickstart the spiritual successor series of the ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' trilogy in tone and gameplay. However, the game ended up selling way less than ''Videogame/CallOfDutyBlackOps2'' and its reception was mostly mixed with its online player population being only the half of Black Ops 2, prompting Infinity Ward to develop the quasi-successor to ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyAdvancedWarfare'' and ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps3'' and sub-series kickstart: ''VideoGame/InfiniteWarfare''. Leaving players with an incomplete story and SuddenDownerEnding with no follow up.
* ActionGirl: Female soldiers are playable for the first time in multiplayer, not counting VideoGame/NaziZombies. 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.
* AfterTheEnd: The game takes place in an America with its power shattered by ROG strikes.
* AlienInvasion: 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.
* AlternateHistory: 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.
** AlternateContinuity: ''Ghosts'' is explicitly independent from both of the previous non-historical ''Call of Duty'' timelines, ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' and ''[[VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps Black Ops]]''. With its StillbornFranchise status, it is pretty much a fully independent game with no storyline connection to any other ''Call of Duty'' games.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: Yes, guns ''can'' shoot in space. And yes, there ''do'' exist guns that were specifically designed to fire bullets while underwater.
* ArtisticLicenseGeography:
** Toward the end of the prologue, there's an amazing SceneryGorn 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.
** The soldiers in the Brazil level speak Spanish, rather than the native Portuguese. The signs at the Brazilian Federation base are also in Spanish. Although, this may be because they are Federation soldiers from other South American countries, and not Brazil.
* ArtisticLicenseMilitary:
** The Federation manages to land helicopters on a U.S. aircraft carrier that is surrounded by escort ships, with none of them being shot down by the carrier's missiles, or the escort ships' missiles.
* BaitAndSwitchGunshot: Early in "Sin City" Hesh is about to be executed, the screen fades to white and a shot is heard... fade back in to reveal the would-be executioner has been hit by sniper fire.
* BashBrothers: 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.
** LikeFatherLikeSon[=/=][[spoiler:PursuingParentalPerils]]: Their father is also a commanding officer in the U.S. military and a key leader in the resistance against the Federation. [[spoiler: He's also the leader of the Ghosts]].
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: [[spoiler: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.]]
* BigBad: Rorke
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: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).]]
* BlackDudeDiesFirst: [[spoiler: The first Ghost to die happens to be [[TokenMinority the one black]] Ghost (Ajax).]]
* BlandNameProduct: The level set in a baseball stadium in San Diego reveals it to be "Greenway Park", home of the "Tsunamis".
* {{UsefulNotes/Bolivarians with BMPs}}: Venezuela is the leader of the Federation alliance, and several missions involve fighting through the streets of Caracas.
* BondVillainStupidity: At the beginning of "The Hunted", Rorke [[spoiler: and a squad of Federation Elites has the Ghosts dead to rights after fast-roping into their plane. Instead of simply shooting them all right there, Rorke and his soldiers rope out after a few taunting words; giving the Ghosts a chance to abandon their crashing plane via parachute.]]
* BreakoutCharacter: While he's not personally in this game, Ghost from ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyModernWarfare2'' was popular enough that the creators saw fit to model the entire unit after him.
* ButtMonkey / TraumaCongaLine: ''Ghosts'' is pretty much just one entire middle finger to Logan. So, the game starts off with him getting viciously thrown around by KillSat blasts that completely demolishes his entire hometown and probably kills all of his friends, all at age 16. So then, a decade later after becoming a Ghost, he falls out of a plane and plummets into an enemy-swarmed jungle all alone, and escapes by flinging himself off a waterfall, then he's shot in the stomach at point blank range (never gets any medical treatment for that by the way) and is then is forced to [[spoiler:shoot his father several times in the chest by Rorke before watching him get his brains blown out right before his eyes. So then Hesh and Logan go on a revenge-mission where Logan gets his ass brutally handed to him by Rorke, then the train they're on gets bombed and they're sent to the bottom of the ocean, where Logan is further beaten by Rorke and the two brothers just barely save themselves from drowning. So after finally killing the man who killed their dad, it turns out that Rorke is ''still'' alive, who promptly boots the recovering-from-nearly-drowning-after-a-train-crash Logan in the face, ''completely shatters his arm'', and drags him away from Hesh where he's then taken to the Amazon to be tortured in a hole for months until his mind is completely shattered and he's brainwashed into callously killing the Ghosts, his only friends and his own brother. ''Jesus''. ''Christ''.]]
* ButThouMust: [[spoiler:During the flashback mission in Caracas, you have no choice but to let Rorke fall to his apparent death.]] The game even goes as far as to give you a QTE prompt to let him die!
* CallBack: The masks of the Ghosts are a modified version of the mask worn by ''Modern Warfare 2'''s Ghost. In addition, the dog's name is Riley, named after Ghost's real name (Simon Riley).
** [[spoiler:A Black Ops leader being brainwashed into going rogue harkens back to ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps''.]]
** The player also had to defend an aircraft carrier against being boarded in ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps2''.
** The level "The Hunted" is a call back to the mission "Hunted" from ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare''. Both levels are stealth-focused, with the player and his team trying to evade enemy patrols after being shot down over hostile territory.
* CanineCompanion: 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.
* CliffhangerCopout: At one point Hesh, Keegan and Logan are left parachuting down over Caracas, with no escape in sight... then the game abruptly cuts onto the next mission.
* ColonyDrop: The cataclysm that wrecked the United States was caused by the Federation hacking a kinetic weapons satellite and having it fire at major cities.
* ContinueYourMissionDammit: In "Sin City" Hesh will constantly remind the player to "Pick up Riley!" if the player is not actively carrying him, regardless of the number of enemies present. Note that the player is defenseless while carrying Riley.
* CrapsackWorld: Oooh, boy. When your game starts off with a government KillSat 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 [[NoodleIncident 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.
* DayOfTheJackboot: Unlike most examples of InvadedStatesOfAmerica, an alliance of South American states establishing themselves as a global superpower and invading the United States is a more realistic scenario than, say, [[ChinaTakesOverTheWorld China]] or [[VideoGame/{{Homefront}} North Korea]] [[note]]China's relationship with the United States is more of an EnemyMine 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[[/note]]. This is because, according to WordOfGod, South America is known to have a rich variety of natural resources, and this isn't far from TruthInTelevision 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.[[/note]]
** South America's also closer to the U.S. than China or North Korea is, and they don't have to cross a gigantic ocean to invade it.
* DeathByNewberyMedal: [[spoiler: Averted in the case of Riley the dog. He is injured by enemy gunfire and evacuated by helicopter.]]
* DenserAndWackier: The DLC packs for ''Ghosts'' have added a number of rather whimsical special characters to the multiplayer modes, including [[Franchise/{{Halloween}} Michael Myers]], [[Franchise/{{Predator}} 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.
* DiabolusExMachina:[[spoiler: The game ends with Hesh and Logan, badly injured, finally able to kill Rorke, and savoring US's victory over the Federation, [[KillSat namely turning their own LOKI satellite on them]]. Logan turns for a breath, only to see [[NotQuiteDead Rorke himself]], brutally beating them up and taking away Logan to turn him into a loyal [[ManchurianAgent Federation Agent]]. Hesh's pleading screams don't help the matter.]]
* DoomedHometown: The beginning of the game, where the Walker's home town (San Diego) gets bombarded by the Federations attack.
* DressingAsTheEnemy: During Operation Clockwork, Logan and the other Ghosts disguise themselves as Federation soldiers in order to infiltrate a base and steal data. As a result, the player needs to fire only a couple shots in the entire first half of the mission.
* EleventhHourSuperpower: 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.
* TheEmpire: The Federation (no, not that [[TheFederation 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.
* ElitesAreMoreGlamorous: 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.
* FallenStatesOfAmerica: 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.
** InvadedStatesOfAmerica: The actual scenario of this game is not ChinaTakesOverTheWorld nor North Korea occupying America, but rather an alliance of South American states where UsefulNotes/{{Venezuela}} is the leader.
** Interestingly, the US's military strength is quite remarkable for a devastated country, as late in the game they still have the ability to [[spoiler: 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 KillSat.]] Although the 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.
* FinalSolution: 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.
* ForcedFriendlyFire: [[spoiler: While Rorke has his back turned during an "interrogation", Logan musters up enough strength to reach for his holstered weapon, only for the attempt to backfire when Rorke grabs his arm and manipulates him into shooting Elias multiple times.]]
* ForcedToWatch: Logan & Hesh [[spoiler: are bound and helpless as Rorke murders their father right in front of them.]]
* ForWantOfANail: If the U.S. astronauts managed to successfully fend off against the South American Federation SpaceMarines 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. [[spoiler: He gets him and begins subjecting him to the same torture methods Rorke was brainwashed with]]
* TheGeneralissimo: The previous leader of the Federation was General Almagro, implying that the Federation is a military dictatorship.
* GenericDoomsdayVillain: The Federation appear to have no real motive other than "blow up America", which they seem to want solely because they're the antagonists in a ''Call of Duty'' game. The entire faction has only four characters from it: Victor Ramos, TheDragon who appears for all of five minutes; General Almargo, who is there solely to be an assassination target and doesn't even have any lines; the leader of the Federation, who is TheGhost, and again has no lines; and Rorke, who was brainwashed into supporting the Federation (rather than performing a genuine FaceHeelTurn, so we have none of that pesky "character depth" getting in the way; his entire character consists of [[FlatCharacter wanting to kill the Ghosts for abandoning him]]) and thus can't show us any insight into their motives. We get no insight into their history, culture, or even their ideology. They seem to exist solely so that the Ghosts can commit all the [[ObligatoryWarCrimeScene war crimes]] they want without looking bad.
* HeroicMime: Much like previous ''Call of Duty'' games by Infinity Ward, the player character in ''Ghosts'' never speaks.
* HeroKiller: 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. [[spoiler: After all, he used to be their most dangerous member. And he manages to kill Elias.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: The United States is devastated by their own orbital weapons system. Later, the [[spoiler: same thing happens to the Federation.]]
* HollywoodGlassCutter: The laser-powered Glass Cutter in "Federation Day" is used to enter through the windows.
* {{Homage}}: A few players have noted that ''Ghosts'' has several similarities to ''Franchise/StarWars''. 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.''
** [[spoiler: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. Unfortunately for Logan, 'Darth Vader' here has a MUCH higher chance of succeeding.]]
** The start of the battle to capture the Federation Space station is remarkably similar to the space battle in ''Film/{{Moonraker}}''.
* IdiotBall: In "All or Nothing", the Federation ''lands helicopters'' on an American aircraft carrier while the carrier's crew and escort ships all apparently forget how to use their point defenses.
* IllKillYou: Hesh [[spoiler: completely flips out when Rorke murders Elias Walker]].
* InformedAttribute: For being described as basically a PhysicalGod, Rorke is never showing actually doing anything out of the ordinary in combat. The only fights he's shown winning have the other combatant tied to a chair helpless, and kicking a barely-conscious soldier in the face, so he comes off as no different than any other soldier. [[FridgeBrilliance Then again when the Ghosts are known for being a group that kills large quantities of people while not being seen, it kinda makes sense.]] Rorke's ''durability'', on the other hand, is, if anything, understated.
** Applies to the Ghosts themselves. For a group that supposedly specializes in stealth, they are notoriously noisy. Their first mission consists of ramming a stadium full of enemy forces with a truck, guns ablazing. Not very subtle.
** Rorke is also described as being a BloodKnight and totally obsessed with killing Almagro by Elias... and yet, in the actual mission, he's a decent leader who is just as level-headed as everybody else, if not more so; Elias is a HeroicMime, Ajax does [[MauveShirt nothing,]] and Merrick suggests abandoning the mission for no reason.
* InterfaceScrew: There are a couple of instances in which the game's Y-axis controls are flipped without warning,[[note]]at least for those playing with the Y-axis inverted by default[[/note]] notably when controlling the shipboard missile turret and the hand launched mini-torpedo.
* KillSat: 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. [[spoiler: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.]]
** KineticWeaponsAreJustBetter: Unlike the usual kind of KillSat found in fiction, this one didn't shoot laser beams.
* LaResistance: The Ghosts are this, composing for former U.S. Special Operation Forces
* LaserGuidedKarma: [[spoiler: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.]]
* LatinLand: 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.
* MauveShirt: Ajax and Kick, two of the Ghosts who have no real personality or anything notable about them. While [[spoiler: Ajax gets a death scene]], Kick is even less important and you'd be forgiven for not even remembering he existed.
* MeaningfulName: 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 [[IcarusAllusion Daedalus]] which is possibly in reference to the ODIN satellite bringing misfortune onto its creator, much like Daedalus' invention did to him.
*** And the squad that goes for LOKI is named [[IcarusAllusion Icarus]].
* [[spoiler: MentorOccupationalHazard: Elias Walker, the main protagonists' father[=/=]commanding officer, gets executed by the BigBad about halfway through the game.]]
* MooksButNoBosses: While ''Call of Duty'' has always been generally conservative when it comes to enemy variety, ''Ghosts'' is by far the most extreme example in the modern series, with the only enemy type in the single player campaign being basic enemy soldiers, without even the snipers, ShieldBearingMook, or HeavilyArmoredMook enemies seen in other games in the series.
* NextSundayAD: ''Ghosts'' and ''[[VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps2 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.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** During the defense of Santa Monica, Logan takes control of drone A-10 attack aircraft 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 [[spoiler: Logan captured by Rorke and set up to be brainwashed.]]
* NoOntologicalInertia: 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.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Ajax, Hesh, and Kick; Hesh and Ajax's real names are only revealed [[AllThereInTheManual Rorke Files]], while [[MauveShirt Kick]] never has his name revealed.
* RevengeBeforeReason: If Hesh and Logan had simply obeyed Merrick's orders and not [[spoiler: chased after Rorke]], the entire final mission wouldn't have happened, and [[spoiler: Logan wouldn't be captured by the Federation.]]
* SceneryGorn: All over the place, just to drive home the nature of the CrapsackWorld the Ghosts live in. Also, very conspicously, after someone calls in a K.E.M. on the Strikezone multiplayer map.
* SequelDifficultySpike: The main campaign is pretty standard ''Call of Duty'' difficulty, but the Safeguard co-op game mode is significantly more difficult than the similar Survival Mode from ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyModernWarfare3''. You can survive much less damage in Safeguard compared to Survival Mode, while enemies have much more health and are super aggressive.
* [[spoiler:SequelHook: 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.]]
* ShortRangeShotgun: The shotguns have an effective range of about 20 feet; anything further than that, and you won't even hit the target, let alone kill it.
* ShoutOut: The Ghost mask in the briefings look like [[VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic Darth Nihilus's]] mask.
** [[Film/ANewHope "The target is a small thermal exhaust port just below the main port."]]
** Film/{{Apollo 13}} "Talkback is barberpole, go ahead and retract"
** During the defense of the American carrier, there is a brief segment where you can [[Film/SavingPrivateRyan save a crewman named Ryan]].
** The "Devastation" DLC pits the player up against - and lets them ''play as'' - the iconic [[Film/{{Predator}} extraterrestrial hunter with an invisibility cloak and a clicking growl]].
** The SMG[=/=]assault rifle Ripper owes a lot to Anime/GhostInTheShell's Seburo guns.
** The Federation commandos' rescue of Rorke is pulled from [[Film/TheDarkKnightRises The Dark Knight Rises]].
** The team attacking LOKI is [[Film/{{Sunshine}} Icarus]].
* SiblingTeam: The main characters, Hesh and Logan, are brothers that kick ass together.
* SoleSurvivor: 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 RoaringRampageOfRevenge, and became the Ghosts.
* SpaceMarines: 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. [[spoiler: 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]].
* TheStinger: [[spoiler: After getting captured by Rorke, the last thing shown after the credits is of Logan being imprisoned in a hole in the Amazon.]]
* SuperNotDrowningSkills: 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 BigBad, similar to the use of fire in ''Black Ops 2''.
* ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill: [[spoiler: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.]]
* ThrowawayCountry: 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.
* TokenMinority: Ajax is the only black member of the Ghosts.
** And he is promptly killed off early in the game.
* TraumaCongaLine: 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 OppressiveStatesOfAmerica.
* TrojanPrisoner: [[spoiler: Rorke pulls this in Mexico, leaking his location so the Ghosts will come for him, and give the Federation a chance to hit them all at once.]]
--> '''Rorke:''' "You haven't beaten me Elias. You just made my job a helluva lot easier!"
* UnexpectedGameplayChange: 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 ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'' and ''Film/{{Moonraker}}'' respectively.
* UnreliableNarrator: Elias, when talking about the mission to assassinate Almagro, claims that Rorke was totally obsessed with killing him. When we play the actual level, the only implication that he's obsessed is when he shoots down Merrick's suggestion to abandon the mission entirely. Considering Merrick's reasoning for abandoning the mission is flimsy at best (if anything, the town being flooded would make their mission ''easier'' due to the Federation destroying most of their own men and the survivors in disarray), Rorke's decision comes off as fairly rational. Neither Ajax or Elias say a word in support of Merrick, either.
** In the same mission, Elias says that the Federation committed ''genocide'' against the North Americans in South America. Not only is this a downright pathetic and borderline offensive attempt at trying to make the Americans look like the oppressed minority, Rorke is obviously an American citizen who has not been killed, and in fact works for the Federation.
* VideoGameCrueltyPotential: Some players have found it is possible to summon their dogs and force them to fight each other in impromptu dog fighting rings.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: 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.
** The prologue mentions that fifteen Ghosts survived against the Arab Coalition. However, there are only 9 Ghosts in the game, excluding Hesh and Logan as they joined later (Rorke, Elias, Keegan, Merrick, Ajax, Kick, Neptune, Greene, Poe; the latter three are only seen in intel files or as a VoiceWithAnInternetConnection). The other six men/women are never referenced again.
* WhiteMansBurden: {{Invoked}} by the Federation, who are depicted as so incompetent that they need to kidnap a white guy to lead their forces to even stand a chance against the Ghosts.
* WholePlotReference: Charismatic antagonist who gets captured, put on a plane, is mocking the protagonists' attempts at doing a HighAltitudeInterrogation and breaks free with the help of his own plane, wires and cuts the plane in half causing the pieces to fall? It's ''Film/TheDarkKnightRises'' intro scene, only with Rorke in the position of Bane.
* WhyDontYouJustShootHim: The entire endgame and [[spoiler: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.

!Extinction Mode

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 Contact'''

Set 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/ [[NukeEm destroy]] if need be.


After 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, [[InsistentTerminology (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.


After 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’’.


Archer 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. [[NiceJobBreakingItHero 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 [[GodzillaThreshold ‘’Scorched Earth’’]], and reminds the President that they too had an Ark, [[KillSat waiting right over their heads.]]


As 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 [[spoiler: watch as she heads off into space, leaving CIF-1 to die on the Earth.]]

!!!This game mode provides examples of:

* AbusivePrecursors: The Ancestors are ''not'' pleased that a new civilization evolved up top while they were sleeping, and they're going to [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt do something about it.]]
* ActionGirl: Potentially, since you can choose the gender of your soldier. Played straight with Dr Cross.
* AlienInvasion: Of a sort. The cryptids are in fact natives of Earth, so it would be more accurate to call it a subterranean invasion…
* ArtisticLicensePaleontology: The cryptids are described as having populated Earth approximately 300 million years ago. The problem is that 300 mya was the late Carboniferous period, and recognizable life was well established by that point. The description given of the Earth in cryptid times lines up more closely with parts of the Precambrian (such as the Paleoarchean or ''maybe'' the Eoarchean eras).
* AttackOfThe50FootWhatever: 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…
* BigBad: 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.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: 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.]]
* CunningLinguist: Dr Cross, who can speak 28 different languages due to a neurological condition. This makes her a prime candidate for translating alien glyphs.
* DaChief: General ‘’Godfather’’ Castle, and by extension POTUS.
* DeathFromAbove/ KillSat: 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.
* EnemyMine: 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 [[BlatantLies ‘’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.
* [[FiveManBand Four Man Band:]] CIF 1, which has [[AnAdventurerIsYou 4 major roles:]]
** [[GunNut Weapon Specialist:]] Highest Damage Output, and can boost damage of allies for a short period of time.
** [[StoneWall Tank:]] Increased health and melee damage, and can become invincible for a short time, while focusing all Cryptid attention on them.
** [[TheSmartGuy Engineer:]] Increased drill armor, and can make traps more efficient. Has the ability to produce an impenetrable forcefield around them.
** [[WhiteMage Medic:]] Increased health regeneration, and revive allies quicker. Has the ability to produce a stasis ring capable of instantly reviving downed allies (but not dead allies).
* GatlingGood: Part of CIF-1’s loadout can include, among other things, a portable HMG turret, and a Death Machine minigun.
* GodzillaThreshold: What occurs during Awakening apparently crosses it, as Godfather and POTUS discuss [[spoiler: Scorched Earth]].
* GrenadeLauncher: You have the option of including a deployable Grenade Launcher armored turret, as well as the War Machine rapid fire launcher.
** The Venom-X acts like a remote-detonated grenade.
* HandicappedBadass: Players, via the use of any of 10 relics. The effects of these are:
** [[PaperTiger Take more damage from Cryptids.]]
** Inflict less damage on Cryptids.
** [[SelfImposedChallenge Pistol-only.]]
** Smaller Wallet (half of maximum cash, and earn less).
** [[BroughtDownToNormal Mortal (no class bonus).]]
** [[RealityEnsues Take fall damage and take more time to regenerate health.]]
** [[MightyGlacier Move slower than normal.]]
** No access to Equalisers and Machines.
** No access to Ammo pickups, Armor, Team boosters or loot boxes.
** Less starting ammo.
* IncendiaryExponent: Incendiary ammunition, which burns on impact, as well as fire traps.
* NoSell: 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…
** MoreDakka: 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…
* PersonOfMassDestruction: Dr Cross, post Nightfall. [[spoiler: 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.]]
* RedEyesTakeWarning: Almost all of the cryptids have red eyes, bar the Seeders and Scorpions which have yellow eyes instead.
* TurnsRed: 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.
* UltraTerrestrials: The Ancestors, which have been in stasis in their arks for hundreds of millions of years.