Call of Duty: Ghosts Begins With an Attack on the U.S. – The New York Times

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With a story ripped not from the headlines but seemingly from a strategy guide for the Parker Brothers board game Risk — control of a unified South America is the best possible starting point for global military domination — Call of Duty: Ghosts is the silliest entry in an increasingly silly series, even as it remains quite possibly the most lucrative one in video games.
A new Call of Duty game has generated more than $1 billion in sales every year since 2009. After 10 years and more than 100 million copies sold, the series is now among the most famous in gaming, a permanent fixture like Mario or Pac-Man, albeit with neck-stabbing.
Sometimes it seems as if the designers of Ghosts, released on Tuesday, are in on the joke, as if they’re trying to inject some needed camp into the franchise after the self-seriousness of Call of Duty: Black Ops and Call of Duty: Black Ops II.
If you must know — and to be honest, to enjoy the game’s fast and fluid action, you don’t have to pay attention to why anything is happening — Ghosts begins in the suburbs of San Diego, just before an attack on the United States by “the Federation,” a villainous alliance of South American countries. Things get more ridiculous from there, often pleasingly so.
With Ghosts, the Call of Duty series, which once was set during World War II and then moved to fictional conflicts that evoked the ones in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Cold War, fully abandons even a tenuous grounding in the drama of real-world warfare. The game takes you to a shootout outside the International Space Station, to a postapocalyptic shopping mall, to a baseball stadium where your invading force declares, “We’ll hit them at home plate and work our way up from there.” (The writer credited with dialogue like that is Stephen Gaghan, best known for the screenplays for “Syriana” and “Traffic.”)
There is a dog that kills for you, that saves your life and whose life you save. You are asked to blow up a naval destroyer by targeting its “thermal exhaust port,” the same weakness Luke Skywalker exploited when he took down the Death Star. And Call of Duty: Ghosts is indisputably the first Call of Duty game in which my character was eaten by a shark.
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