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Call of Duty: Ghosts on Xbox One hands-on review

A hauntingly good upgrade on the Xbox 360 and PS3 version
Wed Nov 06 2013, 17:00

CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS is out for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 (PS3) but until now Activision has been guarded about the soon to be released Xbox One version.

Luckily we got a chance to blast past the crowds and play a few rounds of the Xbox One Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer.

The game content is all but identical to the Xbox 360 version, featuring the same multiplayer and single player modes. Thanks to the similarities between the two Xbox consoles' controllers, the game's controls are also nearly identical.

In fact during our hands on the only control and gameplay differences we noticed were that the Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts can support 18 computer controlled bots in a match, not 12 like the Xbox 360 version, and has basic Kinect control options. The Kinect control options we saw let you use only your voice to navigate certain menu screens, though an Activision developer on hand told us you can also use it to issue certain squad commands in the single player campaign.

Call of Duty Ghosts weeds

Despite a lack of serious gameplay additions, there was a massive disparity in graphical quality between the two versions. This is because Activision has effectively built a new engine from the ground up to get the most out of the Xbox One's upgraded x86 Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) designed by AMD and based on its Jaguar processor architecture.

The first big change we noticed was how smooth Call of Duty: Ghosts' 3D models for the Xbox One look compared to those for the Xbox 360. Playing through the various multiplayer maps we were let loose on, we could see a visible difference in graphical quality. The Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts features wonderfully smooth and as a result more realistic 3D models that made their Xbox 360 counterparts look slightly jagged. The developer on hand told us that the upgraded hardware let the team's artists and coders load more triangles and polygons into the characters and models.

The extra triangles and polygons allowed the developers to create smoother, more complex shapes that feature no breaks in curvature. A good, yet basic example of this was the Xbox One version of the Call of Duty: Ghosts' aiming reticle. Looking down the sight of our weapon the aiming reticle proved to be a smooth circle, even when viewed up close. By comparison, when we ran the same test on the Xbox 360 version, we noticed that the reticle was made up of a series of straight lines and looked slightly more jagged.

Call of Duty Ghosts jungle environment

The Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts also has much better lighting and particle effects than its Xbox 360 counterpart. This is because Infinity Ward has created a host of new shaders for the Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts. Shaders are code used to determine how light effects are shown on different textures. The shaders are designed to make the game's lighting look more realistic and alter its behaviour when touching different objects, like cloth or metal. Playing through the Xbox One multiplayer we were really impressed with Call of Duty: Ghosts' lighting and found it made the game feel far more atmospheric than its Xbox 360 version.

The game's particle effects have received a similar upgrade and look far better on the Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts. We first noticed this when throwing a smoke grenade. Smoke grenades on the Xbox 360 version of Ghosts use a two to three layer particle effect to show the leaking gas. The same effect on the Xbox One version of Call of Duty: Ghosts by comparison uses so many layers that the Treyarch developer on hand told us she'd "literally lost count" of how many there were. The result is far more realistic and dynamic looking smoke.

Overall, the minor game changes mean that diehard Call of Duty: Ghost fans who have already bought this generation version of the game will have little reason to shell out hard cash for the Xbox One version. However, for those yet to sample Activision's latest blockbuster, we've found plenty to like about the upgrade. This is because thanks to the addition of a host of new technologies, the game just looks better and runs more smoothly.

Check back with The INQUIRER soon for a full review of Call of Duty: Ghosts. µ


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