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Call of Duty: Ghosts: Ten
Company: Activision

Benjamin Franklin once said "In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. And Call of Duty." Okay, maybe he didn't say all that, but it's no less true. Here is a series that has seen at least one yearly release for the last nine years and still made bank. It's the most successful entertainment property in history. Activision recently invited us out to Los Angeles for a special multiplayer reveal of the tenth core Call of Duty game: Call of Duty: Ghosts. Before the event started, we were confronted with an interesting statistic: the combined time spent playing a Call of Duty game for every player in the world is longer than the recorded existence of humanity on Earth. Let that sink in.

So what's new in Call of Duty: Ghosts? Well, more than you might think. At the event, we were given hands-on time with the PC version of the game, albeit with the wonderful Xbox One controller. We got a chance to try out lots of new features and modes, and walked away excited for the game's early November launch.

In an explosive two-minute reveal trailer, we were treated to some of the upcoming changes to the formula, as well as a rather kickass new single by Eminem, titled "Survivor." Some of the new features are subtle, others not so much. However, all of it makes sense in the segmented evolution of the biggest shooter on the market.

First, we have Create a Soldier and Create a Squad. You can create and customize your own in-game avatars; you can even play as a female now. You can assign specific classes and loadouts to your squads and level (and prestige) them individually through competitive play against humans and the now-frighteningly adept artificial intelligence, which now employs common tactics of human users across the world. Squads Mode wasn't playable at the reveal event, so we'll see how that turns out at launch.

Second, we have environments that are more destructible than ever. Certain parts of each map have trigger points that, when set off, fundamentally change the layout of the map. Most of the destruction seems to be completely scripted, but its impact on each match is definitely felt.

Third, we have Field Orders. Upon killing the top scoring enemy in the match, you might see a ghostly briefcase hovering above his/her corpse. Grab it; it contains a field order. These require you to kill in certain ways (from behind, with melee, etc.) and reward you with a Care Package marker.

Let's talk new modes. You've got your standard Call of Duty spread; the stuff that you'll never see missing. But there are some interesting new ideas that work really well. Cranked is a clever idea that, based on its name, is probably inspired by a certain Jason Statham flick. When you get a kill, a timer starts. If the timer reaches zero, you explode. The only way to stop yourself from exploding is to kill some more. Granted, the most immediate danger in Cranked is simply getting shot, but it adds a fun dynamic to the frantic action.

Blitz is another new one, and it's a mix between football and capture-the-flag. Each team has a base, a tiny colored cylinder of light. Your job is to keep enemies from entering your base while trying to run into your enemy's base. Each time someone runs into a base, a point is scored, and cooldown period of ten seconds begins for the base that was scored on.

Search and Rescue is a twist on Kill Confirmed. Once a kill is confirmed, the one you killed cannot respawn. However, if the kill is denied, the one you killed is resurrected. It's a neat idea.

Gameplay is classic Call of Duty, with a handful of tweaks to the gameplay. Developer Infinity Ward wised up and realized that a single swipe of a knife likely wasn't enough to even incapacitate the hardest of soldiers, so now each knife kill is more intimate, time-consuming, and, well, Battlefield-esque.

Call of Duty: Ghosts will be getting two collector's editions: a Hardened Edition and a Prestige Edition. The Hardened Edition will come with a steelbook case, the soundtrack, a paracord strap, the Free Fall multiplayer map, and the Season Pass. The Prestige Edition will come with all of that and a 1080p Tactical Camera (complete with carrying case). We'll have more information on the game and a full review as the release date nears. Stay tuned.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos
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